By Ida Lassesen when she isn't writing, she spends her time travelling, eating or watching Asian horror flicks- but most of the time she's busy testing out any anti-aging product she can get her hands on

Time for a holiday? Although it’s a couple of months until my next one, I always find myself having to do research way in advance on the destination – things to see and do, packing lists, transport options, the list goes on. This can be a positive thing, of course, it’s good to be prepared. But it’s also… time consuming. So, I went on a quest to find the best apps that could do all the heavy lifting, with minimal planning required from me. Isn’t technology the best? Here are some of my top picks.

Packpoint: Don’t Leave Anything at Home

Bad at packing? Always find yourself leaving important things behind? PackPoint to the rescue! This app  will generate a list of everything you need to pack based on your duration of travel, the weather at your destination, and type of activities you’ll be participating in. It’ll come up with things that you might not even have thought to bring. Practical and user-friendly, this app is my must-have before any holiday.

Splitwise: Split the Bill Evenly

Fighting over who’s going to foot the bill this time? Sprang for the AirBnb and looking for a way to get your friends to pay you back? Splitwise helps you manage group expenditure by keeping a running total of money paid by each member of the group over time. There is no need to keep receipts – you can add expenditure on-the-go, and it will immediately be redistributed among members of your travel group 🙂 No need to stress here about awkwardly asking for that £20 your pal owes your for dinner. If you prefer not to use Splitwise, consider using money-transfer apps to make paying each other back a breeze.

Get4x: Get Most Bang for Your Buck

Get4x is perfect for finding the best money exchanges in town. It lists addresses and contact details of money exchanges in over 20 cities, complete with directions and live exchange rates. It ranks the deals offered by each store, so you can find the best place to exchange your money, without needing to visit all the options

Couchsurfing & Hotel Tonight: Home Away From Home

In case of emergencies, it’s always good to have these apps handy. Although you’ve probably secured the vacation home of your dreams long before you step onto the plane, you never know when you’re going to meet a rogue Airbnb host or check into a less-than-idyllic hotel room. Couchsurfing let’s you stay with locals in their home, and is often used by people to find last-minute emergency accommodation after their initial accommodation plans fall through. Hotel Tonight works in a similar way, by advertising immediate room availabilities and deals, which often work out to be cheaper and more value-for-money than other last-minute booking sites. If you’re in a bind, and not set on sleeping in the car that night, these apps are for you.

Citymapper & Rome2Rio: Explore the City

Citymapper and Rome2Rio are public transport apps that help you get from point A to point B. They both give you an array of public and private transport options, with estimated journey times and costs. Citymapper even lets you know how many calories you’d burn if you walked or cycled to your destination. Not having to look at a foreign tube map ever again is convincing enough.

iTranslate Converse: Don’t Get Lost in Translation

Welcome to the future. Forget Google Translate, iTranslate is a revolutionary new app which translates conversations in real time! Although it had a few minor errors when I tried it out (there’s a free one week trial available at the moment), the idea behind it is practical for travellers everywhere. Plus, it works well for simple sentences, which is more than enough to ensure you are understood by locals if you accidentally miss a train stop or simply need some directions. Language dictionary weighing your pocket down? Not anymore.

Tripadvisor & Spotted by Locals: Don’t Miss a Beat

If, like me, you often find yourself overwhelmed when you arrive in a new city, make sure you’ve downloaded apps that pick out must-see attractions and things to do. Tripadvisor provides honest reviews from travellers like you and me – and they aren’t always glowing. It also ranks a city’s attractions based on these reviews, so you can easily compile a ‘Top 10’ list of must-try activities. Spotted by Locals, with guides for over 70 cities, gives you insights into locals’ favourite spots and activities. Although one has to pay for each city guide, I often find that recommendations from locals result in far more memorable finds than any old tourist spot. Plus, it has a handy offline map feature to make sure you don’t get lost without WiFi.

UV Lens: Love Your Skin

Everyone loves a good summer holiday, where you spend your days lounging by the pool or sunbathing on the beach. Although you may not think much of it as “it’s just a couple of days”, overexposing your skin to harmful UV rays, for any amount of time, is dangerous and should be approached with caution. UVLens is an app that provides live data on UV indices wherever you are in the world, so you can plan out the safest time to go out in the day In addition, you can take a fun personalised skin type assessment to determine how prone you are to sun damage.

There you have it – a few handy apps to take away the stress of travelling so you can have a fabulous time with your family. Enjoy your next holiday! Remember to document it so you’ll always have something to remember it by 🙂 Do you have a favourite app to use while travelling?  If you want to share them, as well as chat about all things family and technology with a whole group of like-minded parents, head over to our closed FamTech community and join us as we:

  • Discuss the journey of parenting in a digital age
  • Share the latest on all things family and technology

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

 
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