While it’s nice to imagine a tech-free get away, sometimes it’s only practical to let your Smartphone take the reins. For who actually likes fumbling with conversion rates or leafing through guidebook recommendations? Once discovered and downloaded, handy apps have a way of becoming indispensable to you. They make your life easier. They take the stress out of travelling. They save time and sometimes money. With all of this in mind, we’ve pulled together our pick of the best travel apps to download before you travel in 2015.
Sign up for an early invite to Kate’s Goodness, this trendy new recommendations app that promises to bring you ‘Goodness’ from the locals of any given area. The app allows you to upload your own recommendations in your home city, offering other users a unique experience of their chosen destination that’s rated by the locals. Simply take a picture of your favourite spot on your home turf and add a brief description for others to see your picks. With this app comes great travel karma.
Ever wandered around a new city wishing you had your own personal guide to fill you in on the landmarks and architecture that pass you by? If you’re not the walking tour type, Google Goggles will satiate your thirst for knowledge. Using image recognition software via your Smartphone’s camera, this app identifies landmarks or works of art, finds it in a database and locates the Wikipedia page to match up to it. This also comes in handy when you’re at a museum or gallery that doesn’t have English annotations within its collections.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your airport with hours to spare, checking in your luggage and gliding through passport control, to then find that you’re delayed for a further five hours and are essentially trapped in a departure lounge. Quite frankly, there’s only so much Duty Free shopping you can do before surrendering yourself to a giant Toblerone binge. FlightTrack colour codes your flights, letting you know in real-time if you’re going to be delayed. You can also track other people’s flights, which makes co-ordinating airport pick-up a lot easier too.
Go to the food spots that have been tried, tested and recommended by locals. Download the Foodspotting app and tell it what you fancy and where you are, and it will reel off the very best options within walking distance from you. Romantic city-breaks will never be ruined again by the tired old ‘but where are we going to eat?’ debacle.
Struggle with mental arithmetic? This free currency converter app makes it easier to understand exactly what you’re spending while you’re away. It’s also updated in real-time with live exchange rates, so you’re aware of exactly what you’re spending throughout the duration of your trip.
If activity holidays filled with hikes, sailing and nature trailing are your thing, you may well benefit from AlpineQuest. Adventure-seekers balk at this off-road map navigation system, but those that want to make it back before dark will welcome it into the fold of their homepage widgets. It uses GPS and the magnetic sensor on your Smartphone to locate where you are without the use of Wifi. No need for that trail of bread crumbs. AlpineQuest tracks your path. Wipe your brow and walk on fret-free.
Now available for phones and tablets, Wi-Fi Finder does exactly what it says on the tin, it finds you Wi-Fi. Data roaming is an expense you can do without, especially now that Wi-Fi is everywhere. With Wi-Fi Finder, you can search for paid-for and public Wi-Fi hotspots, with a handy filter option that lets you select from a number of options e.g. ‘cafe’ or ‘hotel’. It works offline and lays out a route on a map to your chosen Wi-Fi destination.
There’s nothing more frustrating than finding your postcard has arrived home months after you do. The Touchnote application makes this a thing of the past. Use your own Smartphone photos as postcards. Snap away, upload to Touchnote, enter your own personal note and let the team at Touchnote send it out, ensuring it arrives before you do with free worldwide delivery.