Some of us travel for the adventure and the randomness of the experience while others plan things meticulously. The one thing you can’t ignore is the value of travel apps.
Even if your holiday is about unplugging from technology, chances are that you’ll have still used some to get there. So we’ve sifted through dozen of apps to identify our pick of eight lesser-known apps that can help make sure your next trip is successful – all free.
For great deals, you may have used Skyscanner, Google Flights, Expedia or Kayak. But if you’re more random or in the middle of your adventure, then Rome2Rio, Skiplagged or Hopper might be the go.
But the one we like is lesser-known Kiwi and we like this app due to the options and features that let you set more criteria to assess than some of the other apps.
How often have you over-packed or taken the completely wrong gear? It only gets worse if you’re backpacking it. The trick is not to be the person that starts with the intent of carry-on only luggage to find yourself standing at the baggage carousel or lost luggage desk.
Look no further than Packpoint. Through a simple questionnaire, this smart app can learn your trip type, length of stay, time of year, activities and destination to generate a customised packing list. It’ll even ask if you’re travelling with a baby or for work. Once done, you can share your list with friends to ensure they pack the same.
We love TripIt – when you’ve completed your bookings, forward the email confirmations to TripIt and it will build your itinerary, also allowing you to share your itinerary with friends and family.
If you’re flying with any degree of status in a frequent flyer scheme, you’ll have access to a lounge, but you can really have some fun with a layover in a major airport such as Hong Kong, with LoungeBuddy. If you’re a Business Class or better traveller, this app will identify all the additional lounges you could visit.
If you don’t have any status, the beauty of the app is that it also pinpoints pay-per-use lounges too. We love this feature, especially when you consider that large hubs such as JFK airport in New York have more than 6 terminals with multiple lounges.
If you want to establish a rapport with the locals through communication in the local language, you’re going to need Memrise – this is the app seasoned travellers prefer over Duolingo and what’s particularly cool is that it uses mnemonics, “learning” to suit your usage.
Looking beyond the obvious in Skype and WhatsApp, it’s important to remember that wifi is not as secure in many countries as it is in Australia. Travel to The USA, China and the Middle East, may dictate the need for a VPN. Tunnel Bear is a go-to app for security and privacy. You’ll also be able to overcome any geo-blocking that may prevent you from accessing your entertainment subscriptions and keep up with Game of Thrones the moment it drops.
Savvy travellers keep tabs on how much they spend through a currency converter, and it’s handy to have one at your fingertips. Our favourite currency converter is Amount. It outperforms XE Currency where unit conversions are required in countries that don’t adhere to the metric system.
If you’re keen on remaining friends with your travelling companions after your trip, we recommend installing Splittr to track expenses. These apps are also important if you need to track expenses following an insurance incident.
There is a multitude of apps out there that you can use when planning and embarking on a trip, and many of them are free. What we love is the fact that the apps we’ve chosen here have real use well beyond the curiosity factor that causes many apps to fall out of favour so fast.
Do you have any ‘must-have’ travel apps that you use? Let us know in the comments!