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The Best Travel Apps

By Kate Byrne

Posted: 2nd June 2014 14:24

Gone are the days when a traveller’s armour consisted of a tattered backpack full of only threadbare garments, a weighty Lonely-Planet guide and a fast multiplying family of bed-bugs.  This is the era of flashpacking – where hostels provide hot running water and weary travellers are, at the very least, expected to run a brush through their hair every now and again.  Globetrotters today are much more technologically aware than the likes of Christopher Columbus, who I daresay would have saved himself a lot of effort had he known about Google Maps.  Admittedly, travelling is about the challenges as much as the experiences, but here are a few apps which will inevitably save you a world of unnecessary hassle. 

XE Currency

iOS – Free, Android - Free

This free app uses live currency rates to provide you with an accurate figure so you always know exactly how much you’re spending, even when you're offline.  Hopefully this will save you the inconvenience of confusedly spending a week’s budget on a bottle of water as soon as you step foot out of the airport.

Word Lens

iOS – Free, Android - £2.99         

This futuristic app uses your phones camera to instantly translate foreign text into your native language.  The app works offline and could prove to be very useful if you so happen to be about to drive off the edge of a cliff because you didn’t understand the warning. 

Google Goggles

iOS – Free, Android - Free

If you come face to face with an impressive landmark and are too embarrassed to admit you have no idea what it is you're looking at, then simply take a photo with this app and it will identify and source all of the relevant information in order to make you feel like a cultural genius. 

Hostelworld

iOS – Free, Android – Free

Save yourself the trouble of plodding from hostel to hostel by logging on to Hostelworld and checking for vacancies online first.  With millions of user reviews and no booking fees, this free app is the best in budget accommodation. 

Skyscanner

iOS – Free, Android – Free

Rather than searching every individual airline for flights, let Skyscanner do your dirty work.  Within seconds, the cheapest flight to fit your specifications will be flashing on your screen and Skyscanner will help you book either online or over the phone. 

Skype

iOS – Free, Android – Free

Skype is great for keeping in touch with people at home but it’s also a blessing in disguise when it comes to making cheap transcontinental phone calls to the bank after they have blocked your card for the fifth time.  Simply top up your Skype credit, enter the country code and dial away. 

AroundME

iOS – Free, Android - Free

In a country where there isn’t the constant option to pay by card, it is occasionally necessary to visit an archaic device known as an ATM.  However, these machines are hard to come by when you are looking for one but fortunately for you, this app has found them all already.  Not only that, it can find the nearest hostel/restaurant/bowling alley....whatever you need!

Whatsapp

iOS – Free (69p/year after), Android – Free (69p/year after)

Free text messaging, photo sharing, video sharing, and voice messaging fun with all of your phone contacts, whether they are across the room or across the ocean.  Need we say anymore?

Goby

iOS – Free, Android - Free

Bored of sitting in your bunk bed but have no idea where to go?  Enter your personal interests in to the Goby Database and wait whilst Goby uses your location and your unique preferences to locate events and activities nearby. 

Foursquare

iOS – Free, Android – Free

Foursquare is a location-based social networking app.  The app will help you find the best places nearby and then encourage you to record and share the places you have visited, as well as helping you meet new friends and offering exclusive money saving deals.  

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