best travel apps


One of the most confusing things about travel can be mentally converting costs from your home currency to the local currency, and understanding how much you’re actually spending. XE Currency is my favourite app for this: it uses live currency rates and allows you to calculate prices with your smartphone on the go. It also has historical currency charts, so you can track your costs from last week or last month at the correct exchange rate.


Useful whether you’re travelling or have friends living across the globe, the World Clock app does what it says on the tin: an interactive map of time zones across the globe, as well as daylight saving times.


My favourite site for an initial sweep of flight prices, Skyscanner searches the web from airlines to deal sites to find the cheapest option for flying to your chosen destination. It’s a good way to see what’s out there all in one place, and there’s also a cool option to pin your search to your start screen and keep an eye on price fluctuations.


Forward your emails for flights/hotels/hire cars/restaurant bookings etc. to trips@worldmate.com and the app generates a handy itemised itinerary of your upcoming trip. If you upgrade it will also let you know if there’s any delays to flights in real time. Who needs a personal assistant?


This brilliant app allows you to hail a cab to your exact location using the GPS on your phone in a matter of minutes. Hailo also lets you plug in your card details to save needing cash, and emails you your receipt at the end of the journey. I find it unbelievably handy, and it makes my life easier.


Walking around London I often pass cool little shops or quirky restaurants, galleries and more that I think look great and then completely forget about. Pin drop tracks your location and allows you to drop a pin when you see somewhere that takes your fancy, acting as a reminder to revisit in the future. You can also browse user-made lists siting the best places to eat or see in town – great if you’re new or need some inspiration.


Such a good app! Spot a building that’s vaguely important-looking and want to know more? Open this app and point your smartphone camera at it. As long as the building is famous enough it will fire up a Wikipedia page telling you all you need to know.


I wish I had known about this app before having had my possessions stolen in Thailand, including passport. It offers a database of emergency service numbers for just about every country you’d ever care to visit. There’s also embassy details and the option to pin certain services to your home screen as widgets, for one-touch access to police, ambulances and fire engines.


It’s all very well having these cool apps, but mobile data is expensive while abroad. On my Antarctica expedition I accidentally downloaded an email which cost me £120 in data charges… so I know how that feels! Enter Onavo, a nifty little app that drastically reduces the amount of data needed to perform tasks like checking emails and posting to Facebook.

What are your favourite travel apps? Let me know what I should add to the list!




  1. Anda October 21, 2014 / 4:18 am

    Very useful information. I am acquainted only with Skyscanner, World Clock and XE Currency. The rest I’ve never heard about, but I’m going to consider some of them.

    • harriet October 29, 2014 / 1:37 pm

      Great Anda, let me know how you get on!

  2. Blake October 19, 2014 / 9:41 pm

    I’m downloading Google Goggles as we speak! How have I never heard of that one before???

    • harriet October 29, 2014 / 1:37 pm

      It’s amazing Blake! Let me know what you think 🙂

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