As mentioned in the previous post about taking smartphones on the road, these devices can be incredibly helpful, and we’ve rounded up some of the best travel apps to get you around, speak the local language, work out how much you’re paying for that gorgeous new rug you’re bargaining for, and much, much more.
XE Currency – FREE for Apple and Android. Featuring live market exchange rates, this is a fantastic app for calculating those shopping purchases on the go. It can even be used when ‘offline’ to save on data usage charges by utilising the last stored exchange rate. Perfect for haggling for that Turkish carpet in Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, or working out how much to tip your fabulous guide!
LANGUAGE TRANSLATORS – There are a few good translation apps out there for when you get stuck in a tricky language situation.
Google Translate is FREE for Apple (iphone & iPad) and Android devices, and can translate text between 64 languages, allows you to translate by speaking the text instead of typing it for 17 languages, and listed to your translations spoken aloud for 24 languages. It even allows you to store your favourite translations, and access previous translation history for use in ‘offline’ mode, to save on data usage.
Word Lens, which is also FREE for Apple (iPhone, iPad) and Android uses your phone’s camera to photograph printed words, and translate to English. While the app itself is free to download, you do need to purchase language packs, starting at $4.99 each, but the good news is that this app does not need an internet connection to operate, again saving those precious downloads.
iTranslate Voice – 99c for iPhone and iPad, uses voice recognition technology to translate over 36 languages. Simply speak into your device, and the iTranslate will immediately reply with the translation in your own voice.
Lonely Planet Offline Translator – $1.99 for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The beauty of Lonely Planet’s Translator is that you don’t need an internet connection to use it, and while it doesn’t translate specific requests, it is loaded with over 630 spoken phrases for most common travel questions and basic greetings etc. Each app is specific to one language however, so if you’re travelling to a few countries you’ll need to download each language separately before you go.
Google Maps – FREE for Android devices. One of the best map apps out there, unfortunately Google Maps is currently unavailable for the latest Apple iOS6 platform, however this should be rectified very soon. Apple users can still access Google maps through their Safari browser however.
Best Travel Offline Maps and Guides – $2.99 for iphone and iPad. The name says it all – a truly offline map solution, so while you have to pay for the app itself, you don’t have to pay any data charges to use it. Includes 700+ Wikitravel City guides, 5300 locations, millions of points of interest, and 20 phrasebooks.
HEALTH & VACCINATIONS
Fit2Travel – FREE for Apple or Android devices and features a country by country checklist of recommended vaccinations, medical prevention tips for travel sickness, travel checklists, and insider tips on helping you to stay safe and healthy in over 300 destinations worldwide. Yes, it is developed by a pharmaceutical company, but a hugely beneficial app for keeping healthy on your travels.
JetLag Genie $2.99 for Apple– For most of us Jet Lag can hit hard, and leave us feeling a little zombie-ish at the start and end of a holiday. With the Jet Lag Genie, all you need to do is specify your flight information and sleep patterns, and the app tells you the best course of action to take – before, during and after your flight – to minimise jet lag. The customised action plan will provide you with the best course of action .
WiFi Finder (By JiWire) – FREE for iPhone, iPad, and Android. With close to 500, 000 free and paid WiFi hotspots in over 144 countries, this is a great way to again save on data usage, and utilise wifi services. The entire hotspot directory can be downloaded before you leave, so that you can use the finder offline while you are away, and quick and easy updates mean you always have the latest date. Search results can be filtered by free or paid wifi availability.
Skype – FREE for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Save long distance calling costs (and video calling) by hooking in to the nearest wifi and calling Skype to Skype, or purchase credits to call from your Skype to a land or mobile line.
Dropbox – FREE for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Save your important documents in your Dropbox, and you can access them from all of your computers, your electronic devices, even from the Dropbox website. Great for keeping your travel itineraries, e-tickets, and copies of your passports handy if needed.
Packing Pro– $2.99 for iPhone & iPad . Awarded with a slew of “Best travel app” awards, no matter where you go or what you’re doing you will never forget those extra pairs of socks again! Includes packing list sharing with friends and family, a huge master catalog of items to choose from , and an expert “list assistant”, the mad dash to the airport pharmacy is a thing of the past.
UPackingList – FREE for iPhone and iPad and Android. A fast an convenient list of around 300 items to make packing easy and efficient. Add items to your list with just one tap, and with just one tap again mark those items as ‘Packed’.
Trip Advisor FREE for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The worlds best, and most honest website for researching your travels also has an app for when you’re on the road. Search restaurants, hotels, things to do in each destination you are in, and get honest, up to date information from travellers around the world.
Luxe City Guides – $6.49 (per destination) for iphone, City guides for the chic, these little gems were our favourite when they were purely available as fold out cards that slipped into your passport wallets, and they’re just as great as an app. The best places to shop, stay, eat, drink, and indulge in some of the best cities around the world including Exotic Istanbul, Dubai, Bangkok & Phuket, Hong Kong. While relatively expensive for an app, it includes one years worth of updates, and is worth the price for the insider information and for keeping you mostly off the beaten tourist track.
Wallpaper City Guides $5.49 (per destination) Another ‘insider’ guide for stylish travellers the Wallpaper guides present iconic architecture, restaurants, bars, and hip hotels, along with galleries, shops and spas. The guides also feature a City in a Day guide, for those places where you’ve only got 24hours to cram in the best stuff, and both online and offline maps. The apps cover over 100 destinations including Exotic Athens, Mumbai, Istanbul, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bangkok.
Concierge Insider guides – FREE for iPad only – Courtesy of the InterContinental Hotels group, the Concierge Insider guides allow s you to tap into the collective knowledge and experiences of the InterContinental’s concierges, one of the world’s leading upscale hotel brands. Click on your destination (Mumbai, Muscat, Amman, Hanoi, Danang, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Aqaba, Saigon, Singapore, Dubai, Phnom Penh, Athens, Istanbul, or any other destination where you can find an Intercontinental property). Go where the locals go, watch video tours, find out a Concierges “Perfect Day” in each destination, and get tips on local culture, what to pack, etc.
Conde Naste Traveller – FREE app download for iPhone and iPad, with subscription at $3.99 per three months, automatically renewed until cancelled. A beautifully photographed magazine in digital format, with all the features of the print copy magazine, but one less thing to fit into your carry on bag. Conde Nast Traveller ignites your sense of wanderlust, keeping on top of the next big destinations, cool places to visit, and handy little travel tips to get you there in style.
Australian Gourmet Traveller for iPad – FREE app with 2 free issues and then monthly or yearly paid subscriptions. Prepare for your mouth to water, and get your passports ready as this beautiful magazine transports you to an amazing sensory journey of food and travel from around the world. Written with an Australian edge, AGT will keep you up to date with the best, latest and greatest culinary and hospitality news that the world has to offer.