Compiled by Ayesha Reza Rafiq
Travellers are increasingly relying on their smartphones and the apps they support, to make the most of their holiday. These days, you’d be hard put to find someone who has checked into a hotel without having checked it out on TripAdvisor, searched for accommodation using Airbnb, travelled
abroad without the XE Currency Converter or Google Trans–late, or hailed cabs around the world through Uber.
While these apps have become mainstays of travel, the app market is evolving at breakneck speed, which means that newer and better apps appear all the time. Some of the world’s best travel apps this year are hitting millions of downloads, with good reason.
SkyScanner is a great starting point for those looking to book domestic or international air travel. The app compares prices across millions of flights and hundreds of airlines, and transfers users to the airline or travel agent to purchase their tickets; or you can make a reservation through the app, itself. Flights can be filtered by airline, cabin class, price, or take-off and landing times. The app also has an ‘everywhere’ option in the destination box, which inspires travel for great prices to a host of destinations around the world. And it is available in over 30 languages.
Once you’ve booked your flight, planning the journey can be a painstaking process of going back and forth, especially if you’re travelling in a group. Tripit makes this a breeze. Somewhat like a pocket travel agent, it helps you plan every detail of your trip, collating reservation confirmations from your emails for flight bookings, car rentals, hotels, restaurants and events, to create a comprehensive travel itinerary. If you’re travelling in a group, you can easily share the plans. Users can either generate custom itineraries or simply forward email confirmations of reservations to the app, and let Tripit do the rest. The app is accessible offline, and offers handy directions and maps.
Once you’re where you wanted to be, how best to get around? HERE Maps is becoming the Holy Grail of city navigation for travellers. Its comprehensive, easy-to-use interface offers detailed travel information for more than 1,200 towns and cities, in over a 100 countries worldwide, with a rapidly expanding database. The maps can be downloaded for easy offline use, and are supported for any mode of transport you wish to use. Timetables and directions for public transport, turn-by-turn voice guidance, information on speed limits (for those who wish to drive), accurate walking directions and offline navigation are among its endless list of features. Other features such as the closest points of interest, ATM locations, restaurants, petrol stations and pharmacies make HERE Maps a stellar app.
For those who want to explore a city like a local, Tripext is the perfect app. It enables users to instantly connect with locals in the area, through text. This means that they receive insider scoops from locals, for hotspots only they know about, recommendations on the most effective logistics to navigate through the city, the low-down on where to shop, hidden beaches to visit and so on. If you want to explore a city, there’s no better way to do it than with a local guide – which is what Tripext offers you.
Time Out is a great app that offers a comprehensive directory of things to do in cities around the world. With coverage from Amsterdam to Singapore, and an ever-growing number of cities being added, the app covers everything from bars, restaurants and attractions, to current events. Whether you’ve landed in Edinburgh or Accra, if you need to know what’s hot and happening tonight, tap on the app and you’ll find out how to get into the thick of the city’s happenings in a flash – and never be at a loss of things to do!
When you’re back home after a great holiday, the memories you’ve recorded on the go are one of the best ways to revisit your recent highs. Check out LiveTrekker – it maintains a detailed record of your travels, complete with a map track and geotagged photos, videos and audio. Users can ‘live-log’ their journey or store it to upload later, as well as share trip logs online.