Top 20 Travel Apps for 2018

One of the most exciting parts of a holiday is the anticipation of it all. Tickets and hotels are booked, the guide book is bought and well-thumbed long before you arrive and your smartphone is ready for a fresh onslaught of travel apps.

We’ve had a good look at a plethora of travel apps to bring you the top 20 you need to have for 2018. No matter where you’re going, when you’re going, or if you’re using iOS or Android, get installing – you won’t regret it.

 

Trip Advisor

TripAdvisor is a catch-all app when it comes to travel. You can quickly peruse millions of reviews, opinions, videos, and photos pertaining to just about anything related to your trip — bars, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and more. You can use TripAdvisor’s Near Me function to find well-reviewed places close by, but the best feature the app has to offer is the number of countries it supports — it’s just everywhere, making it a necessary guide for every traveller. Furthermore, you can ask specific travel questions in the app’s forums or add your own reviews in a similar fashion to Yelp.

Cost: Free

Download from:


Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet made its name making in-depth travel guides. With Guides, you can now get a concentrated version of what they’re best at, on your phone.

In the app, you can download the guide for the city that you are going to be visiting, then select what category you want information on. These include things to see, restaurants, bars, places to sleep, places to shop and places to play.

Crucial information, including maps and explanations are all stored offline on your device, so you don’t have to worry about roaming charges while you’re traveling. What’s more, there are even phrasebooks included so you can speak with the locals. There are over 100 cities covered with Guides.

Cost: Free (In app purchase)

Download from:

 Google Translator

This translator can be a useful tool to support your own, more serious language learning, but realistically, it’s most useful on a practical level quickly translating day-to-day words you come across on your travels. For example, you can hold your camera up to text – such as a sign, or a menu – and Google will translate it for you instantly. It’s an essential app for any traveller. It now also incorporates Two-way instant speech translation in 32 languages.

Cost: Free

Download from:

Duolingo

If you’re not happy letting an app do all of your translation work for you, you may want to give Duolingo a try.

Duolingo is a language education app that makes learning a new language simple and fun. If you want to be able to communicate with the locals, there are few ways of learning that will get you there as quickly as Duolingo. The simple layout and game feel of the app makes learning a new language a pleasure.

The list of languages that Duolingo offers is continuously growing. Right now you can choose from 23, including Spanish, German, Swahili, and Vietnamese. What’s more, it’s completely free.

Cost: Free (In app purchase)

Download from:

App in the Air

Don’t let App in the Air’s odd choice in name throw you off, there’s a reason this app is an Editor’s Choice on the App Store. App in the Air gives you real-time flight updates, gate changes, airport navigation maps and tips – meaning you will never find yourself desperately rushing through an airport terminal again.

But wait, there’s more! You can even still receive updates offline, so you’ll get no roaming charges when using the app abroad.

Cost: Free (In app purchase)

Download from:

AirBNB

Whether legal in the city you’re visiting or not, Airbnb is a household name. The app undercuts hotels by offering far cheaper prices and a more authentic experience by staying with a local, or their home. The app recently added a new feature called Trips, which offers Experiences to choose from during your stay — these are curated events you can partake in with local guides. Eventually, the app will become an all-in-one travel app that lets you plan your day, book a car, and more.

Cost: Free

Download from:

TripIt

There’s a reason fewer people are hiring travel agents: Apps like TripIt will do the same work for free. TripIt is like a personal travel assistant in your pocket, and it’s incredibly easy to use. Just forward all your booking emails and details to the app, and it will organize and make sense of them for you.

First, it pulls your itinerary details from these messages and stores the information. Then TripIt lets you know where you need to be and when, saving you from having to hunt through your emails or your suitcase for the correct documents. For a fee, you can get a few extra features, like real-time alerts on flights and alternative flight trackers.

Cost: Free

Download from:

 

Weather Bug

Whilst most smartphones come with basic weather apps these days, Weather Bug takes it to a whole other level. Whether you suffer hay fever and want to know the pollen count or need to keep track of lighting and storm warnings it does it all.

With a whole host of different map options, 18-day forecasting and some nifty additional features, you should supercharge your phone with this weather app and then you will be prepared for anything.

Cost: Free

Download from:

WiFi Map

It’s not always easy to find free Wi-Fi when you’re traveling, and international data plans are expensive.

WiFi Map shows you locations nearby that offer free Wi-Fi, along with the passwords for those hotspots. Even better, you can download free offline maps before you visit certain cities, so you can get Wi-Fi passwords even when your phone isn’t connected to the internet.

Cost: Free (Pro App available to buy)

Download from:

HotspotShield VPN & Wifi Proxy

In your travels, you may find that certain countries block select websites, like Facebook and Google. One way to get around them is to use a VPN, or a virtual private network, to securely access those blocked sites. Hotspot Shield doesn’t require you to log in and has a wide coverage that includes 17 countries. Your information is completely private, and connecting to a VPN is dead simple — it just requires a single tap.

Cost: Subscription service

Download from:

Netflix

Netflix has always been one of the best travel apps, but now they’ve added the ability to download all of your favourites straight to your mobile device for offline viewing. This makes it the quintessential app to bring with you on those lengthy trips. If you’ve got hours to pass waiting in departure, or even if you’d rather just watch your movie in-flight without having it interrupted by annoying announcements from the flight crew, this is a must-have app.

Just remember to throw it into airplane mode when flying, and get those movies downloaded at home over Wi-Fi in advance of your trip in order to save on those absurd data roaming charges.

Cost: App Free but content on is a subscription service (30 day trial available, to try just before travelling)

Download from:

Kindle

Maybe it’s a little obvious, but no matter how devoted you are to print, there’s no denying that carrying a Kindle is a lot easier than lugging 10 hardbacks around with you. With the Kindle app you don’t even need the Kindle – just your smartphone. While there’ll be no swapping at hotels and hostels, the ease makes up for everything

Cost: Free to download but some content charged for

Download from:

Skype

Apart from being essential for touching base with friends and family back home – especially if you’re travelling solo – the magic of video calls lets you make everyone back home insanely jealous. Best of all: it’s free.

It is best to use when on Wi-Fi as it will use your mobile data if you are not. You cannot only video call but also voice and message when on slower connections. It also provides the ability, for an extra charge, call landlines and mobiles which could save you money on roaming charges on your mobile.

Cost: Free but calls to landlines and mobiles cost.

Download from:

Whats App

WhatsApp has more than a billion users, and it’s highly likely you’ll run into someone abroad that uses the service. Chances are they don’t use SMS due to the costs. Having the app installed before heading on your trip can be useful in case you make new friends and need a quick way to chat with them. It’s also an easy way to keep in touch with people back home. You can send messages, photos, and videos to your loved ones and friends, keeping them up to date on your adventure. You’ll still need a data connection or Wi-Fi to be able to send messages.

Cost: Free.

Download from:

Xe Currency

XE is the go-to site for currency conversions on the web, so it’s no surprise that its app is so popular: with over 55 million downloads since launch. It has many business-oriented features, such as rates for precious metals and historic currency charts, but for the traveller it is most useful for the simple fact that it’s able to convert every world currency. It also functions offline by saving the last updated rates, which is great if you’re in a place with limited connectivity or trying to save on data.

Cost: Free
(Paid for Pro version is available)

Download from:

Uber

Active in about 84 countries and 737 cities, Uber is the global king of ride-sharing apps. The app pioneered on-demand services, and it can be particularly handy when you’re abroad. You can quickly request a car directly within the app after perusing an assortment of differing vehicle rates and fare quotes. Afterward, you can connect with your personal driver, track the approaching car’s location, and securely pay your fair using a credit card — no cash needed. Rather than trying to find a taxi or a taxi stand, just bring one straight to you.

Cost: Free

Download from:

Google Maps

Google Maps is widely-regarded as one of the best navigation apps around, and it has reigned king for quite a while. You’ll find it fairly reliable in offering up local public transportation options in many countries, and you can also download specific areas for offline use. You can also use Maps to look at when places like museums or restaurants close, and as of a recent update, you can check to see how busy a place is in real time.

Cost: Free

Download from:

City Mapper

Citymapper is indispensable if you want to be able to navigate around like a local while abroad. Supporting many major cities around the world, Citymapper is a map app that you can use to chart a route using any kind of transport the city has. It gives live updates on delays and closures, and it’s very easy to use.

You can save maps offline and can access the maps for transport services like Tube maps, so if you want to find your own way, you can do that too.

Cost: Free

Download from:

6hourly

We’ve all been there: you’ve got a night flight but have to check out of your hotel at 10am. You’re going to arrive at the airport hot, sweaty and stinking of the day’s sightseeing. It’s not ideal. Fortunately, this is where 6Hourly comes in. The website and impending free Android and iOS app – only operational in India (though it’s an initiative we’d like to see rolled out in more destinations) – allows you to book a hotel room for as little as six hours, meaning you can grab a shower and take a nap to freshen up before your long flight.

Cost: Free

Download from:

iOS Version coming soon

Yuggler

A blessing to parents travelling with their children, Yuggler lets you discover all the kid-friendly things to do near you. Find tips, see photos and search via filters so that you’re sure to find things just right for your children’s ages and likes (iOS only! But Android is on the way …)

Cost: Free

Download from: