Whether you’re inter-railing across Europe, renting a car and touring the 50 states, or embarking upon an African safari atop an elephant, it’s easy to get lost without the help of a little technology. Avoiding a travel catastrophe is easy with your smartphone in hand, and some clever apps stored in its flash memory, so check out the list of essential travel apps below!
An obvious first choice, Google Maps allows you access to detailed maps of almost every country on the planet. Gone are the days of stumbling around a strange city at night, petrified to ask for directions due to the language barrier between you and the locals. Google Maps not only gives a handy street plan wherever you go, it uses your phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) chip to track your movements and give you location updates in real-time. You can even pinpoint restaurants, bars or attractions with this amazing app, and use the photos and reviews submitted by others to assess the value of a visit. This app is available on all major operating systems, and is completely free!
If you’ve been plagued with delayed and cancelled flights in the past, or simply live in fear of another Iceland volcano disaster, FlightAware is the app for you. This free app is available for all the major devices on the market today, and provides live information relating to hundreds of thousands of flights across the world, including information about delays, cancellations, the gate number of the flight, and even photos of the aircraft itself. The app can be configured to provide push notifications to alert you of any cancellations or changes in the status of your flight as it happens, thus taking the stress out of air travel.
If you’ve ever experienced the embarrassment that comes with tipping in China to the horror of the waiter/waitress, or the snubs and dirty looks that come with giving an American waitress what would be an incredibly generous tip elsewhere, then you’re in desperate need of Tipulator. Tipulator will not only calculate an appropriate tip percentage for you, it will also split the tip between people at the table, and provide information about the appropriate amount to tip for the service received. This app is only available for iPhone, and costs approximately £3 to buy, but is sure to save you money in the long run!
Finding a place to stay on your travels can be a real pain when a language barrier and lack of transport are both significant stumbling blocks. Some opt to carry a tent with them on their travels but instead, why not carry Hostelworld? This app provides information about the various hostels found in cities around the world, as well as their prices and availability for the dates you require. This app is perfect for the traveler who is constantly on the go as it allows you to update your plans with just the click of a button, and to find a place to stay at just a moment’s notice. The real power of this app lies in the user-submitted reviews it provides, meaning that you’ll never again be stuck with the horror of infested, leaking, or freezing cold hostels on your trip. Hostelworld can be downloaded for free on iPhone and Android.
Since most of the travel apps a serious user will require often stipulate a data connection to facilitate their operation, Wi-Fi Finder is the perfect complement to any of the apps described in this article. This app, available for free on iPhone and Android, provides you with a potent new smartphone superpower; you can find the nearest place to connect to a free Wi-Fi hotspot! The app can access an archive of free Wi-Fi locations, or can even be used to scan for unsecured wireless networks within range to get you back online in no time.
The list of apps above should provide any serious traveler with all the help they need for moving across continents via cars, trains or multi-stop flights, and have it go off without a hitch.