The TripAdvisor app is available for both Android and Apple iPhones and takes everything the website does and combines it into a lightweight, easy-to use package. The only downside is that as all its data is stored online (given the huge size of its information database) that you'll either need to be on a Wi-Fi connection in your hotel or cafe, or risk getting charged huge data fees when using your mobile phone abroad.
2. KayakPros: Comprehensive booking app for flights, hotels and car rentals; good itinerary planner with flight and tour times
Cons: Requires Wi-Fi or other internet connection to use, not accessible offline;
Likewise one of the biggest brands in terms of travel apps, Kayak serves as a useful one-stop booking station. Booking flights with Kayak is an especially smooth process compared to many other apps hoping to achieve the same thing, particularly their multi-city function that allows you to plan long-haul flights leg-by-leg and select specific airports to make the trip as customised as you want it. Prefer to have a 1-day stay over in Dubai to look around at all the incredible development rather than an awkward 5-hour layover where you can't really leave the airport? With Kayak's multi-city function, you can.
Hotel booking is similarly simple, with the ability to filter the massive range of hotels all around the world by such criteria as star rating, price, whether or not it has photos, average reviewer rating, and much more. One of the major qualms with the Kayak app's hotel bookings is that, upon clicking the Book button, for some reason the app then loads the full version of the Kayak.com website and attempts to display it within the confines of the smaller mobile-type skin. This can make it both slow to load and cumbersome to navigate.
Lastly there's car rental, which is perhaps the easiest of the lot – you simply select the date you'll need the car for along with desired pickup and dropoff points, and you'll be presented with the cheapest possible result. All in all, a great app and essential if you're going to be booking any of these three things from a mobile device.
Pros: Huge number of languages; translation getting more and more accurate over time; has both text and voice functions; lightweight and easy to use.
Cons: Longer sentences can still be hit or miss; have to type direct, basic phrases so as not to confuse with colloquialisms; requires internet connection
Google's translation software has come a long way since the early days of its inception, and now sports an impressive range of languages and character sets within its massive database. If you've ever been in that awkward situation in a foreign country where you just can't QUITE explain to the taxi driver where you're trying to go, Google translate has you covered. You simply select your input language, desired output language, and you'll be presented with a list of possible translations sorted by “most recommended”. Google has incorporated a ton of feedback from multilingual users who are able to flag certain translations as the preferred or most accurate, which has helped for those times where one word might have several translations in another language.
All the world's most popular languages are covered within Google Translate, from the major players such as Chinese and Spanish and even down to less widespread languages like Belarusian and Haitian Creole. If you don't feel comfortable trying to pronounce the phrase yourself (or can't read the script), the majority of the languages in Google Translate can be read by the program's integrated voice simulator – just press the button and a slightly-awkward voice will do its best to pronounce the word or sentence out loud for you.
As with many other apps on this list, one of the only downsides is that you'll need an internet connection for the translations to come through, so if you're planning to travel to a single specific country and don't need access to multiple languages, a more offline-based solution might be a better idea.
4. Unit Converter
Pros: Converts more than just currency; great for shopping abroad; distances, weights, power and wattage and much more.
Cons: Requires consistent updates for currency figures to be accurate
Unlike the huge number of pure currency conversion apps out there that merely display the transition of one country's money to the other, this handy app also includes conversions for many other metrics such as weight, distance, power, and more all within an extremely simple and easy-to-use interface. You'll never have to make a wild guess at if it's safe or not to plug one of your electrical appliances into that crazy foreign wall socket again; just enter the power ratings in and the conversion will instantly display with a few touches of the screen.
Currency conversions are also mostly accurate, although if you haven't used the app within range of an internet connection for a while the figures will only be as current as the most recent exchange rates you have stored locally on your phone will be.
Cons: Have to ensure you update times before going out of network range for complete accuracy
This handy little app can make the painful calculations that come with travelling through multiple timezones a matter of glancing at your phone's screen; while its a simple function that takes the local time from your mobile phone's clock and displays it in a visual appealing “clock” widget (both digital and analogue), when you're feeling the effects of jet lag and fatigue of flying long distances, such a simple convenience can be a godsend.
The app allows you to select multiple countries and/or cities, and even create separate widgets for each on your phone so you'll have instant visual access to each at a glance. If you're planning a Europe trip and going to be country-hopping, then this app is a definite must; just make sure your phone's local clock is as accurate as possible because if it's off, then all your other time-translations will likewise be wrong as well.
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