Smartphones have undeniably changed the way we travel, and there’s no shortage of travel apps for the iPhone that let you book hotels, check your flight status or search for nearby restaurants and bars. Whether you’re planning a trip abroad or looking for activities closer to home, there are all kinds of useful apps to make life easier on the road. Some of the very best travel apps available on the iPhone are as follows.
eCurrency is indispensable when you need to convert currencies quickly. Rather conveniently, it also can be used offline when there’s no data connection, synchronising the latest exchange rates when each time it starts. 190 world currencies are supported — from the Andorran Peseta to the Third Zimbabwean Dollar — so unless you’re planning to visit North Korea, you’re covered. Extra features such as favourites and “shake for inverse conversion” make eCurrency an essential little travel companion.
Google Translate is a fairly accurate universal translator which boasts a few extra features over the web version – such as the ability to speak any phrase and have the results spoken back, plus favourite translations can be saved to use offline. Although not always 100% accurate, the results are undeniably useful and it can help make a trip go that little bit more smoothly.
Everybody’s favourite web-based flight tracking tool is available on the iPhone as a freebie with occasional adverts, or as a Pro version. One of the most popular iPhone travel apps, Kayak lets you compare flights and presents live status information, in addition to hotels and car rental deals. The app is very intuitive and easy to use, but the Pro version doesn’t offer much in the way of functionality over the free one.
Anybody that travels frequently on London’s buses will greatly appreciate the London Bus Checker, which provides live bus locations and accurate information for all the city’s 20,000 bus stops and 700 routes. The capital’s erratic bus system can be especially bewildering for anyone not familiar with the routes and timetables, so having real-time updates to hand is a definite winner. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
Timeout’s famous city guides give the complete lowdown on locations from Barcelona to Zagreb, with frequent updates and pretty accurate listings. The London guide has everything visitors would expect: entertainment options, movie times, gigs, bars, clubs and popular tourist attractions, plus user reviews for many of the featured hotspots. Like most apps of this type it knows your location, so it’ll help you find the nearest pub in seconds.
TripAdvisor is a perennially popular travel recommendation and reviews app that has thousands of listings and user ratings for hotels, restaurants, flights and things to do. Search results can be sorted either by rating, distance or price, and it certainly makes discovering local attractions an effortless experience.
TripIt takes the hassle out of planning a trip and makes the job of tracking your holiday or business schedule a piece of cake. Just send it your flight and hotel booking confirmation emails, and it’ll create a combined itinerary with everything accessible in one place. The iPhone app is quite basic but it does the job perfectly. The free app contains ads, but there’s also an ad-free version for £2.49.
When you’re in an unfamiliar city and can’t find a decent place to eat, Urbanspoon is a novel way of choosing a restaurant. Nearby eateries are displayed on a map, and it allows you to search by cuisine type and price range, as well as make table reservations and compare reviews with friends. The UK restaurant listings are rather hit-and-miss due to the inconsistent coverage, but anyone travelling to North America will find it extremely useful.
One of the most comprehensive and best-looking weather utilities on the iPhone, WeatherPro has more features than most weather apps combined. View detailed forecasts, satellite images, water temperature, and animated radar maps. Synchronisation with iCloud will store all your favourite locations, and an in-app upgrade gives access to the latest skiing conditions and live webcams.
Yelp on the iPhone lets you discover all the nearby restaurants, bars, shops and so on, with user reviews of each item and detailed information such as the address and distance away. The community oriented features are a welcome touch, with ratings and tips to help you discover what’s in your local area. Details of UK businesses and places of interest can be a bit sparse and sometimes outdated, but the available selection is continually growing.
Simon Drew works for Best Mobile Contracts, a UK based mobile phone website.