Travel Tech – 8 Essential Apps For Your Next Adventure

Essential Apps

You’ve booked your flights and accommodation and are relishing in the excitement that your holiday is just around the corner.

As proper planning makes all the difference between a last-minute panic on route to the airport and a stress-free experience, downloading some essential travel apps is a must.

From packing apps to airport and back-up storage apps, there’s no shortage of help and advice for the tech-savvy traveller. With this in mind, here’s a list of 8 essential travel apps you need to download before your next holiday.

CITY MAP

Nobody wants to carry around paper maps as they’re large and inconvenient, but it’s always a good idea to have some form of navigation on hand.

An offline map of the area you’re visiting is essential and Google Maps does a fine job. A free app, you simply download a select area for use offline and then star the locations you want to visit, while also ticking off items on that all-important travel bucket list.

The only requirement to utilise Google Maps’ offline feature is enough memory – so there’s really no excuse not to get lost.

LANGUAGE

Even though English is widely spoken around the world, you wouldn’t want to get lost in a new city with no way of communicating or gaining any understanding from nearby signs.

For immediate relief, Google Translate is the app for you. While not always completely accurate in terms of grammar and meaning, you can get the gist of a sentence and save yourself from being stranded in a new place.

It can also translate words from a camera shot, particularly useful for a page of instructions or a food label. On the other hand, a great app for learning some basic, functional language skills before your holiday is Duolingo.

If you’re not a complete beginner, the app lets you take a placement test so you can continue where you last left off, even if that was 7 years ago sitting in a school classroom. Both apps are completely free to download.

CURRENCY CONVERTER

The XE Currency Converter app is incredibly useful if you plan to tackle more than one currency during your trip, or even if you just want to feel a bit more secure in your holiday purchases, because it never hurts to know how much you’re spending (unless you’re completely splurging).

With live rates for every currency in the world, this is the only money exchange rate app you’ll ever need. Plus, it’s free to download from the app store.

PACKING APP

With consistently busy lives and overloaded brains, it can be easy to forget something when packing a suitcase. Even the most organised person can leave the house without their passport, which is why I’m such a firm believer in packing lists.

PackPoint is a great little packing app for those who prefer technology over a pen and paper. It analyses the weather for the days you’re travelling and decides what clothes you need to pack based on whether you’re travelling for work, leisure or both.

Following this, you can also select the activities you plan to do and PackPoint will determine which items you need to take with you. Then you simply check off items from the wonderful list that’s formed – it’s an organised traveller’s dream. The app is free to use, but there is the option to upgrade for a small fee.

E-READER

Travelling can be exhausting, from trains to planes and buses, there’s a whole lot of sitting around and trying to pass the time in a somewhat productive manner.

Even the most seasoned traveller can have bouts of boredom because, let’s be honest, there are only so many movies you can watch.

Long journeys are the perfect chance to catch up on that bucket list of books you’ve had piling up for the past five years. And as much as I love a good tactile book, it’s just not feasible to lug your library around in a suitcase…unfortunately.

That’s why e-books are utter life savers. Whether it’s a Kindle, iBooks or Google Play Books, never underestimate time spent reading a good book. You can get a number of the classics for free too so there’s no excuse. Do also consider audio books and podcasts for when your eyes get tired.

STORAGE

There’s nothing worse than getting that awful notification that you’ve run out of space and will be forced to delete some of your files mid-trip. That’s why extra storage apps are absolutely essential.

Whether it’s Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud, make sure you have at least one of them installed. While there is the option to expand storage for a price, they all come with a certain about of free space.

Another option is to upload your photos to a private album on Facebook as you go, however, the storage apps are preferable as the quality of your photos won’t be affected.

AIRPORT/AIRLINE APPS

Whether it’s the app for your specific airline or the airports you’ll be arriving and departing from, these free apps are a great way to stay up-to-date on flight times, potential delays and terminals before you even arrive at the airport.

The airport app also doubles as a useful map of the terminal, enabling you to avoid the crowd of people hovering in front of the map looking for a place to rest, relax or eat.

SAFETY

Downloading a safety app should be the first thing you do before travelling. In Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have created TravelWise, which is complete free to download and provides current information about the safe and not-so-safe countries to visit.

It’s very user friendly and provides ample information about health, local laws, customs and where to find your nearest embassy. There’s also a travel checklist for important documents like passports and visas.

FEATURE BY SARAH GLASCOTT

Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.

Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.

Sarah Glascott Sarah Glascott

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