Navigating a new country can be a bit daunting. New modes of transport, different languages being spoken all around and different currencies to convert in your mind—sometimes these things can turn your holiday from something meant to make you unwind into something that winds you up. Here are our top seven travel app suggestions to make sure getting around on your dream adventure is as easy as pie… and all in the palm of your hand.
All of the apps below are available on iOS and Android.
While Google Maps is of course always a great way to help you get from A to B, especially with functions such as Offline Mode and the ability to save places you’d like to visit, Citymapper is a more detailed journey planner than Google Maps. It includes information such as departure times, Uber integration and even cycle routes. Currently, it’s only available in 30 major cities, so you might just have to use Google Maps anyway. But if the city you’re visiting is on Citymapper, you’ll be thrilled with its services.
While you might not plan on being fluent in the local language of the country (or countries) you’ve decided to visit, it’s always great to know the basics. Duolingo is used by over 70 million people around the world and is so popular because of its easy-to-use design and tutorials. You can set up just five minutes a day for a few weeks before your trip abroad. When it comes to foreign languages, knowing something is better than knowing nothing (after all, it could be the difference between accidentally ordering the most expensive thing on the menu instead of a more humble dish when dining out).
Taking translation one step further is Google Translate. While Duolingo gives you the opportunity to prepare your vocabulary in advance, Google Translate is more useful for faster, on-the-spot translations. For example, holding your phone camera up to a street sign or a menu will reveal what it means in your chosen language.
While Google Translate helps you understand foreign languages, Google Trips helps you understand your inbox. Trips pulls information from your Gmail account and curates it into a digestible planner. Bookings, rentals and reservations can all be pulled, and the app also provides recommendations on the most popular attractions to visit based on where you’ll be. It also allows you to store data offline, meaning you won’t have to worry about an internet connection if you need to access the information.
Going away with a group is always fun… until money starts changing hands and before you know it your friend owes you $103, but he can’t remember borrowing it to begin with, and you owe that other friend $58 (which you don’t have in dollars, let-alone in Rand-value). Splittr helps keep track of and split group expenses. Simply add expenses as you go and Splittr will tell you who is next to pay, and who owes how much. Make sure your friends have the app too and it’ll be even easier to track it all (and then that friend won’t be able to say he knows nothing about the $103 he still owes). The best part about Splittr is it takes different currencies into account and is able to convert them, so even if you’re in more than one destination over the course of your trip and dealing with more than one currency, the headache of working it all out in Rands is not yours to have.
Circa - World Time and Meeting Planner for Travelers
When you’re travelling abroad and plan on meeting friends during layovers or for quick catch-ups, it’s easy to lose track of time and when you’ll be able to meet your friends (not to mention how long you’ll be able to meet them for). Circa helps you find the best times to connect and find the time that suits everyone, without the headache of working out what time that will be.
PackPoint Packing List Travel Companion
“I know where we’re going it’s hot, but should I bring a jacket just in case?” these are the types of questions that make packing for a holiday a nightmare. Not only are you unsure of what to pack, but more often than not you end up taking what you don’t need and taking up the space of something you do need. PackPoint is a smart little app which asks you which city you’re travelling to, your departure date and the number of nights you’ll be staying. With this information, it is able to suggest which clothes to pack based on the climate of where you’re going, as well as how much to pack. PackPoint also asks which activities you’ll be taking part in, such as something adventurous or perhaps a classy night out, and it adjusts your packing suggestions based on this. You can remove items you don’t think are necessary and can share the list with friends if you think it will help them too.
There you have it. These apps help with everything from planning and translating, to paying and packing. Now all that’s left for you to do is book your trip abroad (and you don’t need an app for that. You just need Flight Centre, so head over to our international holidays page and start planning!).