Keeping track of trip details is important, even for the most freewheeling adventurer. TripIt saves itineraries in a simple, easy to scan format on your smartphone. Just email your flight, hotel, or car rental confirmations to TripIt and the app organises everything for you. No more sifting through dog-eared print outs midway through your holiday.
The Converted (£1.60/$2.73)
This slick app is a currency converter and metric-to-imperial measurement converter rolled into one. It’s well-designed and easy to use – just a few swipes are enough to solve any perplexing conversion issues. Rather than typing in a figure to convert, simply set the two currencies or units of measurement and swipe along a line that compares the two. Metric to imperial made very easy.
Field Tripper (Free)
As its name suggests, Field Tripper provides information on the sights around you, educating travellers, drawing from trusted online resources to explain the significance of buildings, statues, well-known streets and more. You can even modify the settings so that it provides pop-up notifications, ensuring you never miss an important landmark.
Global Tipping Guide (Free, enhanced paid version available)
10% may suffice in the UK but tipping etiquette can vary significantly in other parts of the world. In Canada and the USA 15-20% a tip is customary; in China and South Korea tips are never expected. Global Tipping Guide ensures no social faux pas are committed by providing information on each country’s practices, as well as doing the relevant maths if you’ve had a glass of wine too many with your meal.
Airports by TravelNerd (Free)
Not the most exciting app but definitely one of the most useful. Missing a flight means missing a holiday and Airports by TravelNerd gives real time flight tracking and impressively detailed airport guides including Wi-Fi availability, shop opening hours and distances to destinations in that city. Users can even use it to pool other travellers together to split the cost of an expensive taxi.
Aroundme is a lifesaver in unfamiliar territory by providing instant information on nearby amenities. ATMs, Bars, Cinemas and even – in the worst case scenario – hospitals are all pinpointed on a helpful map of the area. The app has been stopping tourists looking touristy since 2008 and is called upon over 25 million times a month by travellers around the world.
WhatsApp Messenger (First year free, 57p/$0.99 per year after)
Many will already be using WhatsApp in day to day life whether they’re a regular traveller or not. For the uninitiated, WhatsApp allows SMS style messaging for free, perfect for texting from far flung destinations without having to worry about the bill. Group chats, video and audio media messages are all free too.
Dark Sky (£2.74/$3.99)
Perfect for when a generic weather forecast just won’t do, Dark Sky delivers impressively precise predictions on exactly when it will rain or snow – even to the minute.
Particularly useful when roaming rural areas, Dark Sky tracks weather in real time. Users can spot any approaching storms or cloud cover they approach. It’s consistently earned rave reviews, particularly for its fluid design and ease of use.
Packing Pro (£1.74/$2.99)
Packing Pro ensures you never again jet off without that easily forgettable item of clothing – or more importantly – you passport! Packing Pro allows you to keep a checklist of items for your trip and then tick them off when successfully packed. So, no more last minute dashes to the airport shops to get an overpriced sun hat.
It’s not as pragmatic as some of the others on the list but Photosynth’s ability to create not just panoramic but 360 degree images of the surroundings gets it a place on the list. It stiches together photos to give an immersive as possible view of a destination, perfect for making those back home jealous.