Is your new year’s resolution to see more of the world but you’re not sure where to start? These apps can help you plan your trip and make the most of every second when you’re there.
Whether it’s the shivering cold or the extra thinking time, there’s something about this time of year that gets us thinking about broadening our horizons, cramming in fresh experiences – or just simply sitting somewhere warm and not thinking about spreadsheets.
If your new year’s resolution is to see more of the world, here are some great apps to help you plan your trip and make the most of every second once you get there.
For hunting down the cheapest flights: Skyscanner
While there are many apps to help you find deals on flights, hotels and car hire, none of them can offer Skyscanner’s heady thrill of tracking them as they get cheaper and cheaper (or breaking our hearts as they creep back up).
If you’re just at the planning stage, searching by month and even year means you’ll see the cheapest days and times to fly – you can then set alerts on those flights to keep you in the loop when the price changes. Our tip: search by separate single flights rather than enter a return journey into search – quite often this leads to even bigger savings…
For managing money: Revolut
Have you ever come back from your travels only to get a credit card bill that makes your jaw drop? It’s the exchange fees, darling – they’re simply too, too much. And you don’t need us to tell you how bad an idea it is to roam around with a bumbag full of readies.
Revolut is a great app that lets you charge up a pre-pay Mastercard with multiple, separate currencies (120 to date) at the best possible exchange rates and no fees. When it comes to scraping the cash together for holidays, the card is a handy place to keep it separate until the time comes to book flights or pay for accommodation.
Stay on top of your spending with instant balance updates, and split the bill on purchases so you and your travelling companion never get it twisted over expenses. You can even get an emergency backup card to take with you and keep in a safe place – a much better option than putting your holiday on hold until a replacement gets couriered to you.
For deciphering other languages: Google Translate
While this app will be invaluable once you’re at your destination, it’ll help you navigate any non-English websites in the meantime. Draw a character with your finger to get an explanation of what it means, or snap a picture for instant text translation.
Once you’ve touched down, you’ll be able to get by in 32 languages with 2-way instant speech translation. Yep – hold your phone out, and you and a non-English speaker can chew the fat with very few errors. No signal? You can still get translations of 59 languages with no data.
For virtual exploring: Streetography
If your travelling feet are already itchin’, you can get to grips with your intended destination by wandering around its highways and byways via the crowdsourced snaps of Streetography.
See something you like – a relaxed-looking park, a quirky café or a cool beach bar? You can zoom in on that exact area to get a rich, layered portrait of what locals and visitors alike are really getting up to in that area. And once you’ve finally made it there, you’ll be able to add your own contributions to the map. Gotta pay it forward, people.
Protect your phone with Three Rescue
If you’ve got a shiny new phone or, are planning on treating yourself to one in time for your trip; you want to be able to enjoy using it, without worrying about it getting lost, stolen or damaged and breaking the bank, right?
That’s where Three Rescue comes in and offers you worldwide cover for loss, theft and damage of your phone.
So, you can kick back, relax and get on with holiday spamming your mates.
For luxury layovers: Dayuse
If you LOVE chilling in rigid airport seats with a cold, unappealing €7 sandwich then read on to the next tip. Otherwise, have a look at Dayuse. It offers up to 75% off the normal overnight stay price of hotels for more limited periods of use – perfect if you’ve got 6 hours to kill between flights and would really appreciate a hot shower and a nap.
For unique experiences: Airbnb
Travelling solo? If you’re not a sunbed limpet, it can be tricky to figure out how to keep busy in an unfamiliar location. But don’t fret – Airbnb isn’t just for nabbing great priced, individual accommodation (or for perving over budget-busting luxury penthouses). The recent addition of their Experiences feature lets you browse and book all the things you could do once you’ve arrived at your destination.
Love a bit of action? Head out on guided tours and bike rides (you can even hike an LA canyon with a rescue dog). Social butterflies can join locally-organised nights out and foodies can enjoy authentic cuisine; creative types can lose themselves in one-on-one crafts lessons or photography workshops. Your only problem will be deciding on what to leave out on your trip.
For keeping it all together: Google Trips
So now you’ve got everything booked: the train to the airport, the flights, the transfers, the accommodation and the car hire. Phew. Now to spend the next 5 hours sorting everything into a special folder – unless you’ve got Google Trips, that is.
This amazing app delves into your confirmation emails and takes all the vital bits of info out, then puts it all together into a clear, usable travel itinerary that you can access whenever you need it – even if you’re offline. It then use your location to chuck in a load of recommended attractions, so you’re never stuck for ideas on what to do.
For feeling at home: Go Roam
The final thing you should line up before jetting off is Go Roam, which lets Three customers use their phones in over 70 destinations (and counting; this number is growing all the time) without any roaming charges. That’s right, you’ll be able to check flights, navigate unfamiliar cities and find emergency hotel rooms, just as you would in the UK.
And even if you’re with another network, a Three Pay As You Go SIM lets you enjoy the same freedom of Facebooking, Snapchatting, Insta-sharing and Google-Mapping during your trip.