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Best travel apps

It goes without saying that being on holiday in itself is often pure bliss. Breaking away from your 9-5, reading copious amounts of books and eating all. the. food. Sometimes, though, things can get a little stressful. Whether that’s because your spreadsheet itinerary isn’t working out, you’re struggling with budgeting, or because you can’t find a decent place for dinner.

Which is where the best travel apps come in. Because yep, there’s an app for that. The likes of Packing Pro, Zagat and Hopper have all been created with making your holiday easier in mind. Here are our best pick of the bunch.

TripIt

Cost: Free, or $48.99 (£38.91) a year for the pro version

Take all the stress out of creating your own complicated itinerary with TripIt: the trip planning app that does all the fiddly bits for you. Ahead of your holiday, the app will give you an email address to send all of your booking confirmations to. Whether that’s flights, hotels, dinners or even excursions, TripIt will then chronologically order them so you know what you’re doing each day. This is a game-changer if you’re going on a road trip, or have lots of different things planned on the same days.

Packing Pro

Cost: £2.99

Ever feel like you’ve forgotten something? You won’t if you use Packing Pro, the handy app that takes all the stress out of going on holiday thanks to its handy lists and packing reminders. It breaks your packing down into essentials, clothes, accessories and more, and even has an ‘Expert List’, which will suggest items for you based on the weather at your location, length of trip and so on.

Revolut

Cost: Free

OK, so this is an app you’ve probably heard of, but it’s still worth mentioning. In a similar way to Monzo, Revolut allows you to transfer money abroad in 150 currencies, with a real-time rate, without any markup on all currencies. This means you get a real time comparison of what your money is worth in different currencies, allowing you to transfer your money at the time you think the exchange rate is best.

Free WiFi Finder

Cost: Free

Whether you’re short of data or are in a far flung time zone, the Free WiFi Finder app does exactly what is says on the tin. You don’t even need an internet connection to make it work (helpful), because all the hotspots are stored locally on you device. Whether it’s a Starbucks or an Apple Store, if it can offer you a free WiFi connection? We’re interested.

Raved

Cost: Free

Undoubtedly, one of the best things about experiencing a different culture is the food. With the Raved app, you’re given clear and concise reviews of local restaurants, without having to trawl through hundreds of options. They also offer lists collated by their food editors and give you the option to set price limits depending on what you’re after.

Hopper

Cost: Free

So we’ve all heard of Skyscanner and Kayak, and while Hopper is indeed a platform for booking flights and hotels, it features a clever little bit of technology that sets it apart. The app predicts when prices will be the lowest, and uses this prediction to advise you on when the right time to book your flights and hotels is – sometimes saving customers up to 40%. All you have to do is show interest in the booking you’re after, and the app will use push notifications to make you aware of price drops.

Duolingo

Cost: Free, or $6.99 (£5.55) per month for Duolingo Plus

The Duolingo app might be a helpful download before you head on holiday, because its purpose is to be a handy guide to learning another language. Once you’ve chosen the language you hope to learn, the app creates games which aim to teach you words, phrases and grammar techniques. Users earn points for correct answers, race against the clock, and eventually level up to harder phrases and words.

Timeshifter

Cost: Free, or $24.99 (£19.84) per year for unlimited jet lag plans

Don’t let jet lag ruin your holiday – or make coming back from travels even worse. Timeshifter creates personalised plans for you to beat lag and promises to help you “arrive at your best”. Developed by world-renowned scientists and based on the latest sleep and circadian neuroscience, they say its even used by astronauts and elite athletes.

Splitwise

Cost: Free, or $3 (£2.38) a month for Splitwise Pro

If you’re heading on your travels with a group of friends, you’re going to need Splitwise. Whether it’s for the accommodation, dinners out or even booze to fill the fridge, Splitwise allows the person who originally paid for the full amount to upload the receipt, and choose who else in the group owes them money. The app will then work out how much money you all owe each other at any given time.

HotelTonight

Cost: Free

HotelTonight promises “incredible last-minute hotel deals” on rooms for that night, the day after and beyond. The app gives discounts on empty rooms, and while we’re all used to hotel marketplaces, they claim to take all the fuss out of endless scrolling to find the perfect hotel with the best rate. All it takes is three taps, one swipe, and you’re booked!

Travel Spend

Cost: Free, or $3.99 (£3.17) for Travel Spend Pro

By the time you’ve paid for a couple of drinks, dinner and an ice-cream, it’s easy to lose track of how you’re doing budget-wise. Step forward: Travel Spend. The app promises a quick and intuitive way to keep an eye on your money while you’re away, comparing your daily budget to your actual spend, as well as your average day-to-day and your overall spend.

Couchsurfing

Cost: Free, or $3 (£2.38) a month for Couchsurfing Pro

The Couchsurfing app is fairly self explanatory, and brilliant for holidays on a shoe string. It aims to connect travellers with other travellers by finding them a place to stay, or giving them a chance to share their home with other travellers. No money changes hands. There are over 6million hosts in the UK, and it’s not just about spare rooms to stay in, either – hosts can mark themselves as ‘available’ to offer advice and guide.

PolarSteps

Cost: Free

If you’re heading on the trip of a lifetime and want to share every step with family and friends, this is the app for you. Input your itinerary of locations and stops so that anyone following you can see where you are at any given time, and then you can upload pictures to each destination to give even more insight. Perfect for sharing with extended family who might not be on Instagram, but want to have a sneaky look at your, er, late nights in Cancun.

Photo Translator

Cost: Free, or $29.99 (£23.81) for Photo Translator Pro

Ever been to a foreign museum and had no idea what any of the exhibits were about? Because same. The Photo Translator app is here to change all of that. Simply hold your camera up to a sign / poster / paragraph of text in a different language, and marvel at how it easily translates it to something you recognise in seconds. Sight-seeing will never be the same again.

Citymapper

Cost: Free

Don’t underestimate the good old fashioned power of Citymapper. Started in London in 2011, the app allows you to input the location you’re hoping to get to, and your starting point (whether your current location or somewhere you’ll be later), and gives you loads of different options of how to get there. It’s great for decoding the local public transport, providing quiet bike routes or even giving a rough estimate of how much a taxi will cost. It’s now available in over 100 cities around the world.

Wheelmap

Cost: Free

Created by a non-profit in Germany, this app is great for wheelchair users, those travelling with prams or heavy suitcases or if you have mobility issues. Available in over 30 countries, the app uses a traffic light system to show if restaurants, shops, stations or tourist attractions are fully accessible (green), part accessible (yellow), or not accessible (red). The interactive map is created from user-input information, so it relies on fellow travellers’ advice.

Lime

Cost: Free

If you haven’t seen Lime bikes and scooters all over your own city, it won’t be long before you visit somewhere that does have them. The electric public transport options are popping up in Paris, Los Angeles and the like, offering a quick and easy way to see the sights – without having to go underground. The app works on wifi or mobile data, giving you a map of all the scooters and bikes nearby. You scan the scooter to unlock it, read the safety instructions, and then pay the equivalent of £1.00 and 15p/m to ride it. Brilliant.

Wanderlog

Cost: Free, £40 per year for Wanderlog Pro

While there are other itinerary planning apps on this list, Wanderlog has loads of USPs that make it a download essential. After you’ve input all of your activities and bookings, it will map them out so you can see how they all relate to each other location wise. It also features collaborative editing, which means you and your holiday pals can make live updates at the same time, a check-list feature and even help with budgeting and cost-splitting. Perfect.