The Best Apps to Download Before You Travel

Downloading the right apps will make travel easier, while the wrong ones just waste space on your phone. We asked Dave Dean from Too Many Adapters to reveal the best apps for travelers.


Photo © Stocksy

Language Apps

Whether I’m translating the menu in a tiny restaurant in rural Cambodia or working out how to ask directions for the Paris metro, Google Translate has the answer. It’s available for most devices, easy to use, and has downloadable language packs so you don’t even need an internet connection.

If translating conversations is more your thing, check out iTranslate Voice ($6.99, iOS/Android) instead. Just pick a pair of languages, then start talking. The app will translate both sides of the conversation with surprising accuracy. You can also look up phrases using your voice, and save common translations for later.

Useful Apps for Expenses

Don’t know your baht from your bolivars? XE Currency to the rescue. With simple, automatic translation from one currency into any number of others, it’s saved me from rip-offs more times than I care to remember. It works fully offline, too, updating with the latest exchange rates whenever you reconnect.

When you’re traveling on a budget, Trail Wallet (iOS) is the easiest way to keep tabs on your expenses. It’s quick to add and categorize costs in any currency, and to track daily and long-term progress against your preset budget. The app is free to try out.

Booking Apps

There’s an endless number of flight-finding apps, but Skyscanner remains one of the biggest and best, especially for flexible travelers. Quickly search for flights to "everywhere" from any airport, or find the best deal over an entire month, then get taken straight to the purchase screen.

If you’re not really one for planning, Hotel Tonight (iOS / Android) is a great way of finding deals on last-minute accommodation. Discounted rooms vetted by the company appear in the app up to a week in advance, and you can book with a couple of clicks. 

Trip Planners

For solid destination advice without lugging round a guide book, download Triposo. Download the (large) guides for each country before you go, and get a wealth of background information, plus activity, hotel and restaurant recommendations, maps, phrasebooks, and more. It’s super-useful, works offline, and is totally free.

Hate carrying paper copies of all your bookings? Download Tripit instead. I’ve used it for years – simply forward email confirmations to the service, and it creates an offline itinerary in the mobile app. It recognizes most flights, hotels, trains, car rentals, and more, and you can add your own entries as needed.

Or, download our free Insider's Guides and save them to your bookmarks to use when you're out of Wi-Fi.

Time and Weather Apps

Need to know when to call home to Mom, or to shout at the bank for blocking your card? World Clock (Android) lets you check the time in any number of countries at once. A world clock is built into iOS, but for more features, check out World Clock App instead.

Not a fan of the weather app that comes with your phone? I use 1Weather instead. I’ve found it more accurate, with daily, weekly or long-range forecasts for my current location, or anywhere else in the world. The best feature? Knowing if it’s going to rain in the next hour.

Do you have a favourite app that you use on the road? Share them in the comments below!

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