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The Perfect Trip with Travel Apps


Travelling abroad can sometimes be a bit of a hassle, what with arranging your flights and bookings, weighing your baggage, negotiating airport security, and finding your way around new places. Fortunately, there is a wealth of gadgetry now on the market that will make the whole process go smoothly!

We've assembled a review of the best travel apps for smart phones and portable devices that will help you stay on top of everything, from planning your trip to getting about.

Skyscanner: When booking flights, finding a good deal can be tricky, what with hidden add-ons and awkward flight times. Skyscanner makes the process easy. This well-designed app instantly gives you accurate prices for your chosen flights, then guides you directly to the airline's website to book. If you're unsure when you want to travel and are keen to get the cheapest fares, Skyscanner allows you to search flexible dates, giving you an easy-to-read graph format displaying all the cheapest flights per month. You can also take advantage of the app's 'Explore' feature, which takes you all over the world to find good value flights to any destination.

For: iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone (free)

WeatherPro: Unpredictable weather can ruin a trip if you're unprepared, and with today's constantly fluctuating climate, flash floods and draughts, it's now more important than ever to find a reliable forecast. WeatherPro gives you accurate weather forecasts for over two million places around the world, making it the ideal tool for choosing where your next trip should take place, and for helping you pack the right clothes and equipment.

For: iPhone (£2.49), Android (£1.99) and Windows Phone (£2.29)

XE CurrencyThe volatile nature of the economic market makes it all the more important to stay on top of the exchange rate these days. XE Currency is a free app that instantly converts values into all global currencies based on live and totally accurate currency rates.

For: iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone (free)

Packing Pro:Every seasoned traveller knows what a nightmare packing can be, and you're pretty much guaranteed to forget at least one thing at some point. Packing Pro makes packing so easy you'll wonder how you ever managed without it. Enter some basic information about your trip, such as the destination and duration of your stay, and it will generate a list of suggested items to stick in your suitcase.

For: iPhone (£1.99)

London Tube map

Tube Map: Before you leave the UK you may well have to navigate the London Underground. For novices this can be a daunting prospect, especially with family and luggage in tow. Tube Map makes negotiating the tube a doddle. If features a full colour map of all lines, a search engine and a route planner that generates easy-to-follow maps.

For: iPhone, iPad and Android (free)

Hailo: If you'd rather travel overground through London, a taxi might be the best option for transporting your luggage. Hailo gives you a live map showing the location of cabs near you. Simply press the 'Pick Me Up' button and the next available cab will receive your request and head over.

For: iPhone and Android (free)

New York Subway: Like the London Underground, New York's sub is pretty complicated and daunting for newbies. This app provides maps, search and route planner utilities, as well as an augmented reality mode that uses your device's camera to overlay nearby stations onto your streetview display.

For: iPhone (£0.69) and Windows Phone (£0.79)

AlpineQuest GPS Hiking: Climbing can be a dangerous pastime, especially if you are alone and unfamiliar with the territory. This map will ensure your safe return, using GPS technology to pinpoint your location and provide a detailed topographical map to help you find your way.

For: Android (£3.99)

HopStop: Public transport is a great way to get about, but getting to grips with an unfamiliar system can be tricky. HopStop does all the hard work for you, providing a stop-by-stop itinerary for the public transport systems in 68 countries all over the world.

For: iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone (free)

Speaking the Lingo

Word Lens: Using your device's camera, Word Lens scans foreign text and instantly translates it into your preferred language, making reading street signs and menus an absolute breeze.

For: iPhone and iPad (free, but with in-app charges of up to £6.99)

Better Translator Pro: Rated the best Android translator, this app supports over 50 languages in text-to-text mode, plus 11 languages in voice recognition mode, meaning you'll never be lost for words while you're away.

For: Android (£1.95)

Lost in Translation: With 36 languages supported, this app is considered the best translator for the Windows platform. It does not yet include a voice recognition mode, but allows for quick and easy searching of its massive database.

For: Windows Phone (free)

Staying in Touch

WhatsApp Messenger: Keeping up with the goings on at home can be pricey while you're abroad, with data roaming charges and fees on calls and text messages. WhatsApp Messenger solves this problem, allowing you to exchange data in text, image, video and audio format internationally and with no additional charges.

For: iPhone, Android and Windows Phone (free)

Foodspotting App

Foodspotting: One of the perks of travelling abroad is being able to sample a wide variety of different cuisines. The problem is, without knowing the area it's hard to spot which restaurants are the best for value and local flavour. This app works with user-generated recommendations to provide you with a list of the best eateries in your area. Even better, if you fancy a specific dish it will track down the best place to go to get your teeth around it.

For: iPhone, Android and Windows Phone (free)

Museums Mobile: Taking in the culture and history of a region can be rewarding and educational, but sometimes it's tricky to track down the best museums to visit. This app provides a comprehensive list of museums in your area, providing details on the kinds of exhibitions you'll expect to find there.

For: Windows Phone (free)

Google Goggles: Ever found yourself faced with a remarkable piece of architecture without any way of knowing what it was? Those days are over thanks to the clever technology of Google Goggles. Simply point your camera at the building, monument or landmark in question and your phone will search Google for information about it.

For: iPhone and Android (free)

FourSquareThis social networking app is great for travellers looking for handy tips in an unfamiliar city. It will flag up user's comments about amenities and attractions in your area, offering helpful advice such as, "Avoid this road at rush hour", "Don't get pizza from here!", and "Great for kids". You can then add your own comments to help other travellers heading this way.

For: iPhone, Android and Windows Phone (free)

Wi-Fi Finder: Overseas data roaming charges are enough to cause bankruptcy, so we recommend this app that shows you the location of all the Wi-Fi hotspots available in your area. The app has a handy offline mode that allows you to download maps before you leave.

For: iPhone, iPad and Android (free)

TripAdvisor: A no-nonsense user-generated content app that provides quick reviews of local attractions, restaurants, hotels, and everything else.

For: iPhone, iPad and Android (free)

HearPlanet: This innovative guidebook app provides audio information about your local area without you having to read anything from the screen. Perfect for when you're driving, HearPlanet gives you Wikipedia content through your phone's speakers or headphones.

For: iPhone (£2.49) and Android (£2)

Dealing with Emergencies

TravelSafe Pro: We all want to have happy, safe trips abroad, but unfortunately sometimes the worst happens and in an unfamiliar country it's not always obvious what you should do. This app provides emergency phone numbers for countries all over the world, as well as embassy details. There's also an option to pin widgets to your homescreen for quick and easy access to the information you need in an emergency.

For: Android (£0.99)