If the most you do with your smartphone while travelling is to add a few selfies to Facebook from the departure lounge, or tease your friends with the ubiquitous shot of the beach from your sun lounger, now’s the time to make your phone work harder for you. There are thousands of apps out there to make travelling even easier than it already is with your Travel Counsellor – here are 10 of our favourites for 2016…
Google Translate When Google does something, it tends to do it well. Online translation software is no different, and with Google Translate, you’ve got a tool which makes restaurant menu anxiety a thing of the past. Google Translate will instantaneously translate up to 90 languages if you’re patient enough to type what you’re after – but if you’d rather take a photo of a sign (26 languages) or engage in two-way automatic speech translation (40 languages), Google Translate has you covered in most popular destinations.
Sunscreen Do you have a tendency to underestimate the power of the sun while laid back on golden sands? Sunscreen is an absolute must, as is this great little app – coincidentally also called Sunscreen. Add your skin type, the SPF of your lotion and the UVI rating of your location, and this app will create a convenient countdown timer for when you need to reapply your lotion. You’ll wonder how you ever basked without it!
FlightTrack Your Travel Counsellor will be in touch if there’s anything to worry about when it comes to delayed or cancelled flights, but for those who want the latest in the palm of their hands, FlightTrack is the number one choice. You can get at-a-glance information for every flight with nice colour coded visuals – whether they be on time, late or very late, you’ll know immediately. It’s also a good idea for relatives if they’re picking you up from the airport.
TripIt If you’re a self-confessed scatterbrain, Tripit is your perfect travel companion. This app compiles all reservations, flight times and other assorted forms from your email inbox, and presents a clear and simple travel plan for you to view either online or on your phone. You can also share this itinerary with family and friends, so they know where you are and what you’re doing while you’re away. Again, your Travel Counsellor can look after much of this for you – but it’s always nice to get your head around things!
Flipagram A picture paints a thousand words, so if you’re keen to have your travels tell a real story, nothing does it better than a photo album. Flipagram offers a fantastic spin on the traditional photo album, giving you the ability to arrange your pics into a gorgeous-looking narrative. Pick your favourites from the trip, put them into a sequence you love and set them to a soundtrack of your choice, and bingo! A Flipagram slideshow fit to grace the walls of any Facebook page!
Yahoo Weather Where would you be while travelling without knowing what the weather’s going to do next? There’s an ocean of choice out there for weather apps, but our favourite has to be Yahoo Weather. Bursting with features – everything from detailed weather forecasts to heat and wind maps – this app gives you a detailed picture of whether you should be slapping on the sunblock or reaching for the cagoule! And with gorgeous location photos and animated weather effects, it’s good looking too.
XE Currency When you’re looking for a currency converter, you might as well go straight to the world’s most trusted authority on currency – after all, XE Currency’s app is free, and does everything you’d expect and more. You’ll be able to convert over 180 currencies from the palm of your hand, and with the last updated rates stored in the app, you can even use it offline. XE Currency even holds historic rates with highs and lows charted, if you’re interested in that sort of thing!
WhatsApp Messenger If you have a smartphone, chances are you’re one of the 900 million people who already use WhatsApp. If not, it’s free and it’s one of the best messaging applications available. What’s more, you can even make voice calls to other WhatsApp users free of charge (3G or WiFi connection needed). No more rummaging around in your pocket for coins in strange currencies to let your family know you’ve arrived – and for that reason alone, it’s a must for any traveller.
Paper The humble scrapbook is still one of the most creative and fun ways to remember a special trip. Paper brings this feeling into the 21st century, and whether you’re doodling in a café, scrawling over a collection of photos or keeping all your notes organised in one place, you’ll love building a multimedia souvenir of your travels with this handy and easy-to-use tool. No scissors or PVA glue required!