Best travel apps 2017
With cheap and frequent flights to almost anywhere in the world, it’s never been easier to see the Earth. That doesn’t mean that the actual traveling part of it is easy. To help make the whole experience of traveling less stressful we have compiled the best travel apps available on the market right now.
Our list has a range of different types of apps to cover every aspect of travel, from how to get there, what to do once you’re there, how to speak to the locals, and even apps to take the pain out of paying for things.
So before you pack those bags and slap on the sunscreen, make sure you’ve got these downloaded to your phone of choice.
Airbnb is now a household name but it wasn’t that long ago that it upturned the way people booked their accommodation on holiday. It used to be that if you were going away you pretty much stayed at a hotel. Or a hostel.
Then Airbnb came along and suddenly you could stay in a beautiful house in the center of a city, or a little cottage out in the middle of nowhere.
The app makes booking your accommodation simple, and also has guides for local inspiration and a section for booking experiences.
App in the Air
App in the Air may have a gimmicky name, but there is a reason this app is an Editor’s Choice on the App Store. The app gives you real-time flight updates, gate changes, airport navigation maps and tips, meaning you will never find yourself frantically running through an airport terminal again.
What’s more, you can still receive updates offline so you’ll incur no roaming charges if using the app abroad.
Booking.com is one of the world’s best known hotel booking websites. Their smartphone app builds on their successful model, allowing you to search for the best deals on over 1 million hotels and homes all across the world. If you’re struggling with where to book, there are over 107 million user reviews to help you decide.
What’s more, once you have completed your booking, you will receive instant confirmation of your booking, complete with paperless check-in and offline maps of the area.
The British Airways app, unsurprisingly, is the app for if you are flying with British Airways. What is surprising is how good it is.
It allows you to book flights, check-in, choose seats, and download a digital boarding pass so you don’t have to go near a printer or check-in desk if you only have hand luggage.
The app has live departure gate and in flight information, meaning you can choose which movies to watch while you wait for your flight to board.
Cleartrip is an app for booking flights, hotels and trains. Cleartrip was originally founded in India, and while its success means it now has over 10 million users worldwide, there are still regions it doesn’t support so make sure to check you’re in a supported region.
With the capability for securely storing card information, you can do 1-click purchase of plane tickets, meaning you can choose between deals then purchase tickets, all in 60 seconds.
Cleartrip can search for the best deals on hotel rooms in over 15,000 cities worldwide, too.
Citymapper is essential if you want to be able to move around like a local while abroad. Supporting many major cities worldwide, Citymapper is a map app that you can use to plan a route using any mode of transport the city offers. It gives live updates on delays and closures, and is very intuitive to use.
You can save maps offline and can access the maps for transport services like Tube maps, so if you want to navigate your own way, you can do that too.
Duolingo is a language learning app that makes learning a new language easy and fun. If you want to be able to converse with the locals, there are few ways of learning that will get you there as easily as Duolingo. The simple interface and game feel of the app makes learning a new language a pleasure.
The list of languages that Duolingo offers is constantly expanding. Currently you can choose from 23, including Spanish, German, Swahili, and Vietnamese. What’s more, it’s completely free.
The Expedia app is one of the world’s most popular all-in-one-place booking apps. You can book flights, hotels, rent a car, even book tickets to tourist attractions and theme parks all through the one app.
Expedia has recently rolled out the ability to book bundle deals, so your hotel and flights are all included in the booking, potentially saving you even more money.
Guides by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet made its name creating in-depth travel guides. With Guides, you can now get a condensed version of what they are best at, on your phone.
In the app, you can download the guide for the city that you are going to visit, then select what category you want information in. These include things to see, places to eat, places to drink, places to sleep, places to shop, and places to play.
Essential information, including maps and descriptions are all stored offline on your device so you don’t have to worry about roaming charges while you’re away. What’s more, there are even phrasebooks included so you can converse with the locals.
There are over 100 cities catered for in Guides.
Google Trips is the travel planning app from the search giant. Where Google Trips is different from the other travel planners is that you don’t actually book through Trips – this is the app you use to collate all of the information about your trip, and being Google, it provides plenty of suggestions of things to add once you’re there.
The app pulls in all of your bookings for your trip from your Gmail account and brings them together, meaning if you find deals from a number of different places, rather than having to have a number of different apps, emails and print-outs all giving you piecemeal information, you have your entire itinerary in one place.
What’s more, Google has recently announced that they are introducing a feature letting you share your itinerary.
Google Translate is fairly phenomenal if you haven’t used it before. There are a few different methods of translation that it offers: text translation, where you type a phrase and it is translated into whichever language you choose, Conversation Mode, where you can actually talk to someone in a different language with the app translating as you speak, and camera translation, where you point your camera at text (like signs) and the translation appears on your screen.
This technology has been around for a while now, but still feels magical somehow.
It is a given that most places you go in the world people speak English, but this is an incredibly useful app for overcoming language barriers.
KAYAK is an app that searches travel sites to get you the best deals on flights, hotels and car hire. Once all of your bookings are complete, it compiles all of the information into an easy to manage itinerary.
Where KAYAK really comes into its own is its ability to track not only where the best deals come from, but even fluctuations in the price over time, sending you notifications when the deal you are looking for becomes cheaper.
There is even a function where you can put in your budget and it tells you places you can afford to visit.
PackPoint helps you pack. You put in where you’re going, when you’re going, and what you plan to do there and PackPoint suggests a list of things to pack. You can add or remove things from the list, then tick them off once they are packed.
It works with TripIt too, so you can get suggestions based on your travel itinerary automatically migrated from that app.
Never have that ‘Did I pack my…’ feeling again.
- $1.99 (£1.99)
Splittr allows you to easily split costs between a group, meaning if you are travelling with a group of people, you no longer need to squabble over who paid for what.
You simply add expenses to the app as you go, then at the end of the holiday Splittr divides the bill and sends a PDF to all parties involved.
Skyscanner is a booking app for flights, hotels and car hire.
The Skyscanner website’s calling card has always been easy customisation and the app is no different, allowing you to adjust your trip using flight duration, airline, stop-overs, flight class, and arrival and departure times. It even has a color-coded calendar that shows you when the best time to book your trip is to get the best deal.
Time Out is an app that helps you figure out what to do in a city. With restaurants, art galleries, night clubs, and pretty much everything in between this app is hard to beat if you’re in a strange city at a loss for something to do.
Time Out has been helping people discover hidden gems since the 1960’s so it knows what it’s doing. Once a magazine that focussed on London, the app now covers 30 cities worldwide, with more being added soon.
TripAdvisor is the app to use if user reviews are your thing. The app has over 500 million user reviews for hotels, restaurants, and events. Users can rate, write and even photograph, so if you want the full picture before you decide to book somewhere, this is the app for you.
Once you’ve ploughed through all those reviews, you can book a table, a concert, a plane ticket, all through the app.
You can also download maps, saved destinations, and reviews so that if you want to wait until you’re abroad to make final decisions, you can do so without incurring roaming charges.
TripIt is a travel itinerary app that makes it easy to see your whole trip in one place. You simply forward all of your booking emails to TripIt and the app collates all of your information. The information is available offline so you don’t have to worry about roaming charges.
What’s more, TripIt works with App in the Air and PackPoint (also in this list) so you can get flight notifications and packing advice based on your itinerary.
In order to use all of the functions TripIt has to offer you will have to upgrade to TripIt Pro for $49 per year (about £37, AU$65) but the free version does include all the basics you need like manual changing of plans, syncing with your calendar, compiling travel documents in one place, and sharing of your itinerary.
With over 55 million downloads, XE Currency is the most popular currency exchange rate app on the market, and with good reason.
It gives accurate conversion rates for every currency worldwide, refreshed every minute and stored offline so that even if you lose internet connection, you can still use the app.