Take the headaches out of holidays with these 9 apps – discover highly-rated local hotspots, make travel a breeze and stay in touch with your loved ones back home.
And if you don't have data roaming on your phone, don't worry – just make sure you disable mobile data on your phone and only use free wifi in hotels and cafés.
1. Research the area with TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor is one of the biggest peer-review sites for hotels, restaurants, and every kind of tourist attraction under the sun. If you're new to an area, just pop it into TripAdvisor – it'll give you a complete list of what's worth checking out.
Anyone can submit a review if they have a TripAdvisor account – but they're not fact checked, either. In fact, many hotels and bars have complained about what they see as unfair TripAdvisor reviews – so take whatever you're reading with a pinch of salt.
2. Get offline GPS with Navfree
Navfree is a free GPS system that lets you download a map of an area – saving you on mobile data. GPS systems in phones don't actually use your data. Data is only used when an app that uses GPS (like Google Maps) has to download a map to show you where you are.
So, Navfree enables users to navigate without having to use 3G – perfect if you're trying to save on data or you're holidaying somewhere without any signal.
3. Stay in a home with Airbnb
Airbnb is changing the way people book holiday accommodation. The idea is simple – letting people rent out rooms in their home on a short-term basis to tourists.
As a visitor, this means you can choose to stay in someone's home rather than a hotel. It’s all peer reviewed, so guests can leave feedback on where they stayed.
4. Check your departure time with FlightStats
While there's a lot of flight tracking apps out there, most end up giving you too much information – no fun to navigate when you're in the taxi on the way to the airport. But FlightStats keeps it simple – you can search by flight number or airport, making the whole thing a lot easier.
5. Plan your travel with CityMapper
Whether it's the Paris Metro or New York's F-train, CityMapper really comes into its own on public transport, including detailed maps of each city's public transport system. It also includes live updates in a lot of cities, meaning you can easily get where you're going – even if there's an unexpected delay.
While it does have offline maps, CityMapper also uses mobile data for route planning – so turn that 3G off if you don't have data roaming.
6. Check costs with Post Office's Travel Essentials
Is that personalised sombrero a bargain? Time to find out. The Post Office Travel Essentials app will tell you exactly how much an item is worth in pounds. But watch out – because you are using your mobile data to check that information.
7. Stay in touch with loved ones using WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a messaging service that lets you send and receive messages over wifi or mobile data. Even if you're a regular user, get your friends and family on – it's easy to keep in touch and share holiday snaps. And if you disable 3G and only use WhatsApp on wifi, you can keep in touch without worrying about roaming charges.
It's free for the first year, and can be downloaded for Android, iPhone and loads of other devices – visit the WhatsApp download page for more info.
8. Translate that buffet menu with Google Translate
Chances are, you might have already used Google Translate. It's a handy service that translates bits of text or whole websites, depending on what you need.
But you may not know that you can download language packs onto your phone – meaning that you can translate without wifi or roaming data. That means hassle-free translation, and no roaming charge headaches. Google Translate is available for free on Android and iPhone
9. Find the nearest cash point with Post Office Travel Card Plus
There's nothing worse than not being able to find a cash point – except for not being able to find one when you're abroad. The Post Office Travel Card Plus app can point you towards your nearest cash point when you're on holiday. You can also check your balance and top up your card on the go – meaning no awkward haggling at the gift shop.
Post Office Travel Card Plus app is available for free on Android and iPhone
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