/ Travel & Leisure

What are the best travel apps?

With the weather warming up, many of us will be thinking about booking our next holiday – and most will do it online. But what other tech is there to enhance your next trip?

Once you start looking for travel apps for your next holiday, there are so many to choose from it’s hard to know which are good, which are great – and which are terrible.

We will be looking at the best and the worst of the apps in Which? Computing magazine soon, and we’d really like to know your thoughts. What are your favourite apps? What are the best apps, and what are the worst? What kind of apps would you like to help you on your holiday?

To kick things off, here are a few of my favourites (note: these apps are all available for both Android and iOS).

HERE WeGo

We all know and love Google Maps and Apple Maps, but they can cost you a fortune to use when you’re out of the UK because they rely on you being online with a generous or unlimited data allowance. So for heading abroad, I like HERE Maps. You can download the maps for the country you’re visiting which means that you won’t be slurping up data at expensive roaming rates.

Google Trips

This is great for pulling all the details about your trip into one place. If you give it access to your Gmail, it will also scan those and pull in your flight and hotel bookings. This app can also help you plan itineraries, which it does by learning from data shared by others who have the app.

That means it can give you information about, say, how long it will take you to get around a museum, based on how long it took other users.

You don’t have to agree to share that information with the app when you set it up, but if you choose to do so, it makes the app better for everyone.

Microsoft Translator

This comes bundled with Huawei’s phones (it came on my Mate 10 Pro, which is how I got to know it, and it’s also on the newer P20 and P20 Pro) but you can also download it directly from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Download the languages you need before you leave home and it works offline, thus saving your data allowance, and you’ll be able to take a photo of anything in that language – a menu, for example, or a web page – and it will give you a surprisingly good translation.

You can also link to someone else’s phone with the app and either speak or type into it and the person you’re talking with will get what you say in their language, and vice versa.

Ryanair

It’s the airline we love to hate, but as so many of us fly with the budget carrier on holidays, one thing it’s definitely worth having is the Ryanair app to manage your boarding pass.

I’ll never forget running around a French village trying to find somewhere to print out a boarding pass just hours before I was due to fly back to the UK as I’d forgotten to do so before I left home, desperately trying to avoid paying a huge fee to print it out at the airport.

All the major airlines have apps for boarding passes, bookings and seat allocations, but Ryanair is the one where not having your boarding pass sorted before you leave for the airport can cause a real headache.

So these are my favourites – what about you? Do you use apps to help manage your travel plans and documents, or to help you plan what to do once you arrive? What are your favourites – and what would you warn others to stay away from?

Comments
Guest
Simon Bisson says:
17 April 2018

I am a huge fan of TripIt. A subscription to the TripIt Pro service has saved me time and money; letting me know of flight delays before the airline desk knows. It gives me one place to store all the details of a trip, and an easy way to share it with fellow travelers and those still at home.

SeatGuru helps you find the best seats on a plane, and if you collect miles to get upgrades, Rocketmiles is a great mix of last-minute hotel finder with the added bonus of miles with each booking.

Guest

oooh, good choices – thanks, Simon!!

Guest
Laura M. says:
17 April 2018

Foursquare is still my favourite for finding food & drink recs. It’s v. useful as someone who has coeliac disease for finding tips that mention gluten free options. My husband swears by ‘anything rated above an 8’ as being excellent and it hasn’t let us down yet!

Guest

That’s a great one, Laura – the old ones are often still the best ones, aren’t they? Thank you!

Guest

Whenever I visit a new European city I’ll use Google Maps extensively before and during the trip. The ‘explore’ function is great for researching and starring all points of interest and the best places to eat and drink.

And then thanks to EU-wide roaming rules I can use maps when I get there to actually find the paces! Although when I was in Porto it did take me on a ridiculous – and hilly – route to a port cellar, I turned up 15mins late and a touch out of breath.

Guest
Tim Russ says:
18 April 2018

I use CityMapper when in my home city of London and when travelling to other cities. It is great for getting around using public transport and walking routes

Guest

Yes, I’ve been recommended this app before – not yet downloaded it. How long have you been using it?

Guest
Alan French says:
21 April 2018

I’ve used CityMapper each time that I’ve visited London and found it to be very good when using public transport.

Guest

Spotify – ok it’s not a travel app but you can set your playlists so that you can listen offline.

Guest
Alan French says:
21 April 2018

It’s not necessarily true that Google Maps cost you a fortune to use when you’re out of the UK because maps can be downloaded for use offline before you go.

Guest

That’s true, of course, but I’m willing to bet most of us don’t remember to do that before we go away. I know I don’t!

Guest
Alan Starritt says:
21 April 2018

A quality that I look now look for in any app, not just travel ones, is the ability to save it on my SD card where I’ve a huge number on gigabits spare, rather than use up my modest available phone memory. If it’s on my card like EasyJet I just keep it whereas Ryanair (phone memory only) gets deleted unless I need it for an upcoming flight (for that reason you’d think app designers would have an incentive to save on SD Cards). I too liked Here Maps but as I remember it couldn’t be saved to the SD card.

Guest
Francesco says:
21 April 2018

I’ve been travelling for about 20 years and an indispensable app is TripAdvisor: you’ll have advice of: what to do, what to see, where to eat and sleep

Guest
Robin says:
21 April 2018

I travel nearly every week for work so always using apps on my phone. Here are my suggestions:
– TripIt (as per suggestion above)
– XE Currency – easy and fast way to understand how much things cost
– Google Translate – being able to get real time voice and visual translation is so useful (e.g. as you browse a menu with your phone camera)
– Expensify – if you need to track your money this is a great way to do it

Guest

Great suggestions, thanks, Robin. XE is a particularly good one to remember.

Guest
Barbara says:
21 April 2018

I love Settleup. It’s great for keeping track of shared expenses. (People use it for household expenses too.) You just set up a group and enter every time someone spends. It lets you know who’s spent what and who owes who. It can cope with eg a couple plus an individual and divide proportionally. Saves having a kitty.

Guest

Oh, this is a new one on me! Great stuff, thanks, Barbara – definitely making note of that as I tend to go on holiday with a group.

Guest

Definitely a great idea, Barbara! I’ve never heard of that one but I’m going away with some friends so it could definitely come in handy…

Guest
Ewan says:
21 April 2018

If you download google maps for where you are going on WiFI, the map is free to use and the GPS location will work even if roaming is turned off on your phone.