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The Best Travel Apps, From Planning to Sharing

8th September 2016

No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, chances are there’s an app to help.

In 2016, packing your smart device is as vital as packing your passport. Not only can you store all the important information you need before you go but you can load up a huge range of information to make your trip go more smoothly, from packing your bag and checking the weather at your destination, to making bookings for entertainment and experiences, to keeping in touch with loved ones and maintaining a record of your adventures.

Before you go

Tripit: Almost like taking a travel agent along for the ride, this combines all your travel information from confirmation emails for flights, accommodation, car hire and bookings for events and turns it into a single itinerary. Particularly handy if you are trying to coordinate a group. TripDo and WorldMate are alternatives.

PackPoint: Never, ever, forget anything important again – or pack the wrong clothes! Create the profile of your trip – where to, how long, climate and purpose (business? pleasure?) – and up comes a checklist for what you need to take. Travel List and PackingPro are other options.

Weatherpro: Whether you are at home or away, you need to know what the weather is doing so you can plan accordingly. This is popular with regular travellers, but Weather+, and Yahoo Weather are good alternatives.

Evernote: for keeping track of everything. It lets you take notes, sync files across your devices, save webpages, capture inspiration, and share your ideas with friends and colleagues. Don’t leave home without it.

Travel Safe: Fast access to all the emergency contacts you need, wherever you are, from embassies to emergency services.

On the move

XE Currency: This is a highly popular website for currency conversions and now it’s also available as an app. It has many business features that may not be of interest, but it converts every currency in the world, and can function offline (handy if you have limited internet) by saving the last rates you updated. Onanda Currency Converter is another option.

Gate Guru: Very few of us find travelling seamless. There can always be delays and you’re stuck in an airport somewhere not knowing what to do. This app helps you navigate airports and find the best food on offer (among other handy information). LoungeBuddy will allow you to discover, book, and get access to the best airport lounges.

World Clock: Some like to switch to destination time as soon as they take their seat. This app will help. Time Buddy is another option.

Now you’ve arrived

Google Translate: While you brush up on the local lingo (try DuoLingo), this will work much faster. Hold your camera up to the words on a menu or a sign and Google will translate the word instantly. The app features more than 60 languages and for several of those you can have the translation spoken or in text. Also check out iTranslate.

Time Out: Looking for something to do? This directory gives you a huge range of bars, restaurants, events and attractions in cities around the world. The event finder section is handy if you are want festivals or concerts, and you can also make bookings for concerts and restaurants too. TripAdvisor, GreatLittlePlace and Yelp are other options.

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Wi-Fi Finder: You need connection without a nasty billing surprise when you get home? This will help by finding the internet hotspots near you. It works around the world, and even gives you directions to the hotspot you choose. Also check out Wiffinity, Boing Wi-Finder and SpeedSpot.

Maps.Me: is a navigating tool you can use offline. Download the maps of where you are going, and mark the places you want to go. Fantastic if you don’t have wifi on the go. Also check out the tried and proven Google Maps, Triposo, CityMaps2Go and Trip Advisor’s Offline City Guides. Local tourism authorities often have their own apps.

Uber: If you want to get around fast, this app will let you do it. There’s also Embark (see feature story) and TaxiFinder.

Other apps that will help you savour the experience: Foodspotting, Like a Local, UrbanSpoon and Localeur.

Memories to treasure

Livetrekker: Don’t bother packing a travel notebook to scribble down details of your adventures; this app will do it for you. The app tracks your moves, marking your route on an interactive map. Add photos, movies, talk and text along the way and you have a multi-media version of the old-time, dog-eared diary! Bonjournal and Tripcast are other options.

Snapseed: a great app for helping to edit and enhance your iPhone photos.

Share it all

Viber: Also Instagram, WhatsApp and Skype – the must-haves for reminding people at home that you’re away having a good time and they’re not!

*All photos courtesy of Getty Images