9 apps for a great escape
If you’ve got your mind on a getaway, these travel apps will help you on your way...
09 Jun 2022
Now travel is very much back in our calendars, it's time to pack a bag and get going. But holidays can sometimes be as much about the admin of booking, packing and sorting everybody else as it can just relaxing and enjoying yourself.
But this is just another instance where tech has the answer. Download the right travel apps and you'll find the whole holiday experience so much easier - from planning to finding your way around. So let's get you apped up!
Getting it booked
Booking an apartment or house? Airbnb is a difficult app to beat. It's such an easy-to-use app, packed with photos and reviews to help you choose your perfect holiday home. Filter by location, number of guests and even whether you’re taking the dog! One great feature is the way that you can contact hosts directly and ask them questions and get advice for things to do in the area. This makes it a really personal and reassuring experience. Just don't leave a mess - or you might get marked down!
You won't find any shortage of hotels or hotel apps out there, but hotels.com does a good job of comparing hotels and highlighting deals on offer - from basic room to presidential suite. Last-minute bookers will also find some bargains - though you'll have to have nerves of steel to still be looking for a room just before take off! If you're a hotel regular, you can also collect up rewards points and use them for free stays too.
Flights can get really expensive - especially if you're off to a far-flung destination. Fortunately, Skyscanner is a great way to find the cheapest flights out there. It compares all available airlines and then you can search by cheapest, flight length, fastest and even low CO2 emissions.
What to do and where to go
4. Trip Advisor
Walk down any street in any holiday destination and you're bound to find restaurants and attractions touting their TripAdvisor score. And because they're generated from thousands of user reviews, they're usually pretty accurate. Its active and engaged community usually leave great tips and travel advice on their forums too. You can book a lot through the app too, but sometimes it's a good idea to contact the business or restaurant directly. They might just be able to squeeze you in after all!
5. Google Maps
This one may seem obvious, but never leave your apartment or hotel without Google Maps on your phone or tablet. Yes, it will direct you where to go, but it'll also navigate the local public transport system, check opening hours for attractions and it's still the best way to find everything you need in the area. And because it's internationally used, it's usually pretty reliable. It also lets you download maps to view offline if you're worried about roaming charges.
Hiring a car? Waze is the way to go. Google Maps can do a lot, but accurate driving routes can be a bit hit and miss. Because Waze has a big community behind it in the countries where it's popular, you’ll get accurate driving routes from locals and helpful warnings about things to watch out for - like speed cameras and road works. It's also filled with brightly coloured icons which cover everything from beautiful views to recommended eating spots.
Super helpful apps
7. Google Translate
It's hard to remember what we did before Google Translate. Stare blankly at menus written in a foreign language? Have no idea what you're eating? It started out as a glorified language dictionary but now does so much more! It'll translate writing in real time that you can read onscreen. It'll tell you how to promounce just about any word. You can even have conversations with someone in two different languages. Ok, the last one may be a stretch. But if you're nervous about understanding or being understood in a foreign country, get Google Translate now.
8. Xe Currency
Convert your money into a foreign currency and you can totally lose track of how much things cost. Before you know it, you've blown through your entire holiday budget on fridge magnets. Xe Currency app is great to have by your side, as you can check there and then how much that cab fare is actually costing you. You can even use the app to send money to people in any currency.
If you've ever been on a holiday with a large group, it's all a countdown until someone complains about how a bill has been divided up at the end of a meal. Splitwise makes everything better. Just get everybody to download the app at the start of your trip and input how much they've spent on the group - whether that's buying flights or just getting in a round of icecreams. Then just get on and enjoy your holiday. Once you've landed back home, Splitwise will tell everybody who owes what to whom. No more bickering!
Off on holidays? If you're looking for some essential tech to take with you, you'll find some more useful inspo right here on TechTalk. But if you'd like to talk to an expert about what tech to pack, why not ask one of our ShopLive experts directly?