My Favourite Apps for Travelling

My Favourite Apps for Travelling

I love apps.

At one point I had over 300 hundred of them and admittedly, I do use lots each day, though probably not that many. When I bought my iPhone 5S last year I was determined to whittle that number down so that they would take up no more than to three screens, plus a fourth for apps I am testing for various developers.

Here are seven of my favourite apps for travelling at the moment.

Pocket

Storing stuff to read or watch when not connected

I really like having something to read when travelling relatively long distances. Carrying one book with you is fine, but having too many just doesn’t work when you’re travel with just a 40 litre backpack. This is where the cool app Pocket comes in handy. You can save pretty much anything, like articles you see on the web or in news apps like Zite and Flipboard, or even video! Just open the app and see all the stuff you can read. You can also search your library, which also allows tagging.

  • Platform: iOS, Android, browser extension
  • Price: Free

CityMaps2Go

Finding your way around

citymaps

I discovered this app nearly three years ago. It has come a long way since then and has proved itself invaluable many times (a particular hike in Patagonia comes to mind) and it remains one of our most used apps. CityMap2Go is a fully fledged offline mapping tool ideally aimed at travellers both for short city breaks, business travellers and of course digital nomads. If you sign up to the Ulmon Hub you are able to save the points of interest you mark on each map and download only the maps you need if you have limited space on your device. This is not a satnav system, but it will show the direction in which your device is pointing. One thing I find irritating about this app is that when searching within a category, you still can’t list the results alphabetically!

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Price: £1.99 / US$2.99

TrailWallet

Managing your travel budget

I initially trained as an accountant so counting the pennies comes rather easily to me. Even so, it really helps to have a quick indicator of how you stand with the money you have if you’re wondering whether you can afford another piece of cake! Keeping things simple yet informative is what TrailWallet does best. Name your trip, your daily or total trip budget in your home currency, and away you do! We have even encouraged friends of ours who are not longterm travellers to use TrailWallet to manage their daily expenses. Despite its simplicity, it is very versatile. Travellers may name a category ‘accommodation’ and home birds may name it ‘household expenses’. It can work for everyone!

  • Platform: iOS
  • Price: £2.99 / US$4.99

Skyscanner

Comparing prices of flights

skyscanner

It still surprises me how many people still haven’t heard of Skyscanner, which I suppose goes to show how much work is needed to market apps. I was an early adapter when Skyscanner was only a website comparing flight costs around the globe. Since smartphones and other highly portable devices have become more commonplace, the company has spread its wings and created an app for all four of the major mobile platforms. My best advice here is where possible be flexible and use the button which looks like a bar chart! This is my most used feature as it shows the cost of a flight around the initial time and day I chose to fly. By changing my planned departure I have often halved the costs of my flight.

  • Platform: iOS, Android, Window 8, Blackberry, website
  • Price: Free

Foursquare

Finding cool stuff

foursquare

We have been using Foursquare for almost two years, starting in South America. The content is user generated and allows you to leave tips and comments about any kinds of places you visit. At first we found it useful for finding cafés with wifi to work in while travelling, and now that he has become vegan, Sam mostly uses it to find vegan options when we’re out and about. Just type in what you’re looking for (be it the kind of food you want to eat, a copy shop or a place to buy light bulbs) and you’ll see what’s nearby and whether your friends have been there and if so, what they said about the place. There used to be a function where you could ‘check in’ to places you visit, but that has now been separated out into a second app, Swarm, which performs the social media aspect of the app.

  • Platform: iOS, Android, website
  • Price: Free

TapTap Power

Playing with friends

I’ve never been much of a gamer but I offered to test this app for Simon. It’s loads of fun and won’t make you dizzy on the plane, train or bus! All you have to do is tap your colour when it appears. What has captivated me is its 80s charm and the ability to play with either 2, 3 or 4 people, so by playing it, you don’t just bury yourself away but engage with others. It’s definitely improving my hand-eye coordination. I’ve played on the train and with friends in a bar!

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Price: Free

Dots

Connecting the dots

dots

In a strange way this game reminds me as a kid of my old Rubik’s cube. It’s simple: the aim is to connect the dots in a square. You either play a timed game or you have the option to pause the game if you think you’ll need to jump off the bus soon! It’s a great game to play while travelling without wifi or 3G. Also check out this post on Too Many Adapters for top games for travellers.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Price: Free

What are your favourite apps for travelling? What else would you add to this list?