Why lug around a tome of a guidebook when you can get live, updated info with built in GPS, right from your phone? We’ve rounded up our list of top travel apps that’ll guarantee you the best of insider knowledge when you’re trotting the globe:
1. Twitter is a traveller’s new best friend. Looking for a restaurant? Simply tweet your location and wait for the trusted responses of people in the know. Or, follow all your favourite travel blogs and mags on Twitter, and search their timelines when you need to. You’ll be amazed how the app can be transformed into a live travel buddy and tipster.
2. Thanks to location-based social networking apps such as Foursquare, insider info on any new city is just a click away. Because the app knows exactly where you are, it can point you in the direction of the nearest bar, coffee shop, museum etc, give you myriad authentic tips for the spot you choose, and even tell you if any friends are in the vicinity. This is without a doubt the best app for deciding what to do, right here, right now.
3. Foodspotting, allows users to recommend specific dishes at restaurants and ‘nom’, or nominate, those that they’ve tried and tested. The app also shows nearby restaurants, selects the most popular dishes and allows photo sharing.
4. Kayak was one of the first trip planning apps, and is still widely considered the best. With quick and easy-to-navigate flight, hotel and car booking functions, as well as links to reserve on the go, it really takes the hassle out of planning your holiday.
5. With over 45 million reviews, Trip Advisor remains the go-to-place for anyone looking to find out more about a place before booking. The app includes maps, images and forums, where you can communicate with other users, making it one of the most useful tools in a traveller’s armoury.
6. If you want an authentic travel experience you’ve got to take the underground. AllSubway HD features subway maps for about 128 different cities around the world, from London to Amsterdam, Sydney and Vancouver. Each map is available offline, ensuring you won’t come home to astronomical data roaming bills, or get stuck without signal in the depths of the metro.
7. World Explorer really lives up to its name, converting your phone into a guidebook for any destination you please. It will tell you what’s in the vicinity and comes complete with articles about important places and monuments the world over. With maps, ratings, and the ability to connect via Facebook, it’s a constantly updated goldmine of information.
8. Avoid awkward moments with the World Customs app. Offering practical advice on the sometimes tricky question of social customs in other countries, this app calculates where you are via GPS and then tells you everything you need to know, from whether you’re giving the wrong kind of handshake, or that you could be arrested for kissing your partner in public.
9. Avoid ludicrous data roaming bills with Wi-Fi Finder. This handy app tracks over 200 000 hotspots in 135 countries, ensuring you’re connected on the go – for free.
10. With the most useful phrases in 23 languages, World Nomads not only ensures you can make your way around most countries hassle-free, but it also offers audio versions of the phrases, recorded by a native speaker. Not bad for a free app.