Planning a great trip, whether in this country or overseas, needs plenty of work and some smart decision-making. It can be a daunting prospect for the inexperienced traveller, but as with so many areas in life, help is at hand in the form of technology. The abundance of travel apps available can make travelling easier and less stressful than it’s ever been before.
In this guide, we’ll highlight just how useful the best travel apps can be, and recommend some of our favourites, from arranging bookings to making the most of your time at your destination.
Why are travel apps so useful?
It wasn’t so long ago that planning a trip abroad required a phrasebook, several maps, countless printouts of bookings and other information, and a list of phone numbers to use in case of an emergency. All of these things and much more besides now fit into the device that sits in your pocket or handbag: downloading all the apps you need onto your smartphone before you go means you’re covered in minutes. There’s also the added benefit of cutting down on the amount of things you need to pack, saving space, time and stress.
The best travel apps around
There are so many travel apps floating around in your app store that it can be difficult to know where to start, or which ones are best. Here is a selection of our favourites, covering five important parts of your next trip:
The best travel planning apps can help you compare many different options and price points for lots of different things you need. Think flights, hotels. airport parking, lounge access, currency conversion and much more: our favourites are HEHA! Holiday Extras, Skyscanner (for flights), and XE for currency conversion. Flightradar24 is also useful for understanding which airlines fly to which destinations and when.
Naturally, most people’s first port of call will be Booking.com, because of the convenience it offers in enabling multiple parts of a trip to be booked through a single platform. But there are lots of other alternatives worth exploring, including LuckyTrip, which focuses on helping people tailor the trips of their dreams to their exacting specifications. You can find the best-value flights, the most stylish accommodation and the most exciting experiences, all in one place.
Most of the apps you use for getting around at home will also work in the vast majority of big cities and tourist spots around the world. You can’t go wrong with Google Maps, Google Street View or Waze, helping you find the quickest way from A to B whether you’re walking, cycling or using public transport.
Language and culture
When you arrive at a foreign destination, you may well want to immerse yourself in the locals’ way of life, both in terms of their culture and how they speak. From a language perspective, look no further than Duolingo: a fun, free app that makes it easy to pick up vital words and phrases in almost every major language. For culture, try Culture Trip and TripAdvisor to find the events and attractions that would best suit you, and to discover experiences other travellers have had in the past. And Google Translate can help you out of any sudden language barriers that crop up.
Food and drink
Avoid the temptation to stick to full English breakfasts, fish and chips or McDonald’s: wherever you’re going, there will be new food and drink to discover. The right app can connect you with the drinks and cuisine you’re looking for, and we recommend Zomato. It’s a free app from which you can search for restaurants all over the world, get contact details for making bookings, and in some cases even make takeaway orders directly through the app.
Get covered for your sports travel with SportsCover Direct
If you’re planning a sports trip in the near future, it’s vital that you and your equipment are covered from start to finish. At SportsCover Direct, we have over 30 years’ experience covering more than 200,000 sports enthusiasts in their activities across the globe. Whatever your sport, we can offer a wide range of policy options, covering personal accident and liability, lost equipment, travel disruption, medical expenses and much more. We have a five-star customer feedback rating from Feefo, and our competitive rates mean cover may cost less than you thought.
Explore all our sports travel insurance policies in detail here, and find one that’s perfect for your next trip.