There are a million and one travel apps available today, some designed to give you a heads up when your flight is delayed, others set to keep you on the straight and narrow when it comes to the streets of the world’s biggest cities. Whether you’re a techno geek or technophobe, it is undeniable that we rarely venture anywhere without our mobile phones and they sure take up a lot less space in our hand luggage than endless maps and more. If you’re wondering which free travel apps can save you money, which will make sure you don’t miss out on the Northern Lights and how they can snare you a reservation at the hottest restaurants in the world, read on.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your postcard home didn’t feature a stock image of your destination but a shot you’ve taken yourself? Whether you’re squeezing into the frame for a selfie, caught the kids giggling on the sands of somewhere sunny or just had a ‘saw this and thought of you’ moment, Postsnap is the new and personalised way to send postcards. Using the free app, you can use your own travel snaps and message to create a personalised postcard in a couple of minutes. Once finished, it’ll be printed on gloss card and posted to anywhere in the world at the press of a button. It costs just £1.50 for a standard postcard, including UK First Class delivery.
Aurora Alerts Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are as elusive as they are beautiful, meaning an app that tells you when your chances might be in is worth its weight in gold. The Aurora Alerts app shows KP readings in your current location and is able to forecast auroral activity for the next hour, day and even several weeks ahead. An absolute must if you’re heading to Iceland or the Norwegian Fjords in search of the Northern Lights!
Simple, easy to use and with rates available for over 150 destinations, Currency is one of the most popular currency conversation apps out there. Save your data by downloading the appropriate currency for your destination and you won’t need an internet connection to work out whether that Barbadian hair braid is costing you an arm and a leg.
As much as we plead the case for leaving your phone at home to embark on a ‘digital detox’ whilst away, the truth is that a holiday without the obligatory Facebook bragging is no holiday at all. Wi-Fi Finder helps you avoid hefty internet packages on board by making it easier to find Wi-Fi hotspots in port. Activate the handy app and it will direct you to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot, wherever you are in the world. An offline mode allows you to download maps indicating the whereabouts of Wi-Fi before your holiday begins, so you won’t incur hefty data charges on your hunt for the free stuff!
Regular travellers will join us in admitting that we can’t imagine how we coped before WhatsApp arrived on our phones. Whereas texts and calls can cost the earth when you’re abroad, WhatsApp allows you to send messages, photos, video and audio completely free of charge whenever you have Wi-Fi. There is simply no better way to keep in touch when you’re on holiday.
When a whole album of holiday snaps just won’t do, turn to Flipagram to collate the lot into a video slideshow. Choose the snaps you’d like to feature in the narrative, add a soundtrack from your iTunes collection or Flipagram’s own online library, then sit back and wait as the app creates a video montage of your time away. It’s the next big thing in inciting holiday envy on social media.
Did you know that 62% of Brits don’t speak any language other than English? If you’re one of the millions who regularly find themselves flushed and embarrassed at their failure to even order a drink in the native language of their holiday spot, Duolingo is for you. Over 70 million people have downloaded the app, which focuses on making learning a new language fun.
If you’ve left it far too late to work on adding another language to your vocabulary, Google Translate will save the day and spare your blushes. An absolute essential for any traveller, Google Translate is seriously easy to use and can even translate words and phrases on signs or menus using your phone’s camera. Clever stuff, eh?
If your holiday takes you to the bright lights and busy streets of cities such as New York, Singapore, Amsterdam or Edinburgh, the Time Out app will ensure you don’t miss a minute of the destination’s many attractions. Discover gigs and events taking place while you’re in town, make restaurant reservations at the hottest spots and find out where to enjoy a post-dinner drink with the hottest crowd. You can even put together a complete travel guide to cover the whole of your time in the city.
Can you imagine pockets and cases stuffed with maps for every destination you’ll visit on your latest trip? Save your luggage allowance and download Google Maps. We can’t imagine adventuring abroad without this lifesaving travel app but it is the offline feature that we love most; download your maps ahead of time, mark the places you want to visit and save them in the app. You’ll be able to access them once you arrive in your destination, saving you the hassle of frantically looking for Wi-Fi to refresh your maps.