Top 5 Travel Apps

The best apps to help you plan and get by on your travels

Carrying a laptop around or searching for a computer in a foreign country is not an ideal way to spend your holiday, so downloading a few apps before you go can save you a lot of hassle. But with so many apps out there, where do you start? We've picked out the best for you to help you plan and get by on your travels.

The TripAdvisor app is a good all-round app for finding hotels, restaurants, things to do and flights. With a great user interface, the app is easy to navigate and results come up quickly and efficiently. If you are looking for a restaurant, you can easily narrow your search to a particular area, cuisine and price range, save your favourites for later and check out reviews left by other users. Similarly, for hotels you can specify where and what you are looking for and the app takes you direct to the websites to check rates for chosen dates, while not leaving TripAdvisor, making it simple to go back to your search. You can find out what's going on in an area and a nice additional feature of the app is the handy Near Me Now tab at the bottom of the screen.  This app is well presented, easy to use and handy for quickly finding what you need on your travels, with a good selection of reviews and forums to help point you in the right direction.

Kayak is a valuable resource for any traveller. Primarily, you can search for flights and hotels and car rentals. Results are easy to compare and to filter according to price, stars, location. Once you select a hotel, you can see photos, the hotel on a map, reviews and tap call to ring straight through to the hotel or tap book to be taken to the website. However, there's a lot more to this app than straight-forward booking. You can get price alerts for low-fare flights, or check trends for the cheapest time to book flights for. You can organise your travel itinerary, by forwarding all your booking confirmations to the app, saving you from carrying around folders of confirmation papers. Check if your flight is on time with the Flight Tracker, and create a packing list to make sure you leave nothing at home. Although the extra features are perhaps more advanced on other individual apps, nowhere else puts them all in one place, making it so easy to check your flight number, track your flight, and share your location with someone else all in one go.

XE Currency - free

This is probably the best currency converter you can get. It's simple to use and with live updates up to every minute on every world currency and even on precious metals, you can get accurate currency rates and conversions whenever you need them. You can monitor up to 10 currencies simultaneously and a clever little extra that you get with this app, is the graph function which charts trends of currency conversions, so you can see whether rates are peaking or falling. The app doesn't have the prettiest of interfaces but this is an accurate, effective app and does exactly what you need it to do.

Google Translate - free

For iPhone/iPad
For Android

Long gone are the days where free online translators would offer a very literal word-for-word translation. Google searches hundreds of millions of human translations to make a very good estimate of what the real translation should be. So although it is not quite a human translator, this app is nonetheless very intuitive and does usually give you a good translation.  With 57 languages to choose from, and a voice option for 23 languages, so you can speak and hear how it should sound, Google Translate is very handy to have with you on your travels to make sure you can get by with the locals. You can also save translations so you can access them offline whenever you can't find an internet connection.

Find a wi-fi connection and you can send free text messages at home and abroad to anyone else with Whatsapp. Keep in touch with everybody at home while avoiding high roaming charges.  Tap the arrow at the top of the keyboard and you can also send photos, videos, audio notes, contact details and your location on a map all entirely for free, no matter where you are in the world.