Below are 15 travel apps for Android and iPhone that my wife and I use when travelling. I use Android as my primary phone while she uses iPhone. From time to time we swap phones because I don’t get all the apps I want in Android and sometimes it is the other way around.
These apps are all available in both Android and Apple iOS devices. I hope that these can make your travel easier and more fun.
Travel Apps for Android & iPhone
When booking deals for hotels, flights and cars, Kayak gives a lot of options even for most remote place that I tried booking. I mainly use this for researching accommodations but it has other features that will delight seasoned travelers.
It can also consolidate your travel plans in ”My Trips” which can be done easily by forwarding booking confirmation emails to [email protected]
Kayak also conveniently gives you a ready-made packing list that you can use to track every items you need to pack to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Other features include flight tracker, price alerts, airline directory, airline fees, airport information (powered by GateGuru), currency converter and inflight GPS tracking.
Two features that is existing in iOS but lacking in Android are Tours and Attractions, which gives you a list of places of interest to go with tour guides, and Buzz which lists flight search trends.
Even before Kayak added “My Trips”, TripIt has been parsing airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals receipts and other confirmation emails to create your master itinerary. It is better in organizing your itineraries because it makes them available in one place and you can share it with family and friends who uses Tripit too.
When you add people in your Inner Circle, you can automatically share your complete itinerary with other people using Android or iOS — it is a great way to inform anyone in your Inner Circle your whereabouts.
3. Flight Track
If you do a lot of business travel, you need this application. It has real-time status for gates, delays and cancellation. You can also find alternate flights and view seat maps.
If hotels is not your thing and you prefer back-packing then HostelWorld is the perfect app to get a cheap place to stay.
5. XE Currency Converter
It was tough choosing the best free currency converter.
Before sticking with XE Currency Converter, I was using Oanda Currency Converter. It was great but it can only show 1 currency at a time and there was no log when was the latest exchange rate update.
So I switched to XE Currency Converter because it has live exchange rate and I can refresh it anytime I want.
This app lets you log expenses, scan receipts, log time with an hourly rate and use mileage, odometer or gps as reference to any bill. Scanning receipts is as simple as taking picture of the receipts and letting Expensify process it using Smartscan that automatically logs properly whatever value found in the receipt using OCR. The free version is limited to 10 free smartscans a month but when you upgrade to pro, each scans is priced at 20 cents each.
If you don’t need to log mileage then Lemon is a simpler alternative to Expensify. It also lets you process receipt using their OCR technology. You get 25 free receipt processing a month. With a pro account, you can even process line item details – i.e. every item on your grocery receipt will be recorded not just the high level expense value.
On top of this, Lemon can also keep a digital copy of your cards — not just credit cards mind you. It works on IDs, loyalty and membership cards. I don’t know if Apple copied the idea of Lemon but before Apple’s Passbook for tickets and coupon, there was Lemon for cards.
When you go places, you need to find recommended great local dishes, not just restaurants. What’s great about this app is that it’s all about dishes. You can find the best food nearby and get recommendations from people you follow.
Since Foursquare upgraded their app to more than a check-in app, I started using it to find recommended places using the Explore feature. You can search for specials, trending, food, coffee, nightlife, shops, sights, outdoors, arts and entertainment. Some of the tips are very helpful to get the most out of the scenic spot or trendy places.
For food and beverages, Foursquare is starting to function like Yelp but unlike Yelp, Foursquare is available in many places, mostly generated by users. You also don’t get a menu; you simply get tips on what to eat from random users who check-in on those places.
I only discovered Triposo lately and it is has travel guides for most countries. The best part is that it is free and it works offline. No need to worry about data access on remote places without signal. You don’t need to worry about roaming charges with this app.
Each travel guide you install presents you a travelpedia where you can learn the basic history, culture, architecture and music of the country. It also has some phrasebook that can be handy. It has popular destinations with guides on what you can see and don on those places. It even has “eat, drink and sleep” section to find where to hang out at night, drink coffee and get hotels accommodation with all the contact details and address that you can use to get there.
This is another app that can work without internet connection. When you add a place in your trip, it will download an offline copy of all the information of the city that you have chosen. That includes maps, all the attractions, restaurants, entertainments, tours and transport information.
It doubles as itinerary planner and travel journal too.
12. Google Translate
The latest version of Google Translate is now essential to any traveler going to a foreign country with a foreign language. You can take picture of any sign and with Google’s character recognition it can translate any language to english.
13. Google Local
When you install Google+ in Android, you also get Google Local. It replaced Google Places. This app is actually merged with Google Maps, Navigation and Latitude in Android because it is contained in one unified application. However,you need to install Google Local separately in iOS.
Zagat ratings are incorporated in Google Local because Google purchased Zagat, remember? I still find the 30-point scale unusual but at least it gives you an overview on how good a place is. Google Local also aggregates other reviews from sites like TripAdvisor so you can’t find TripAdvisor in this list as it is redundant already.
Google Local is also linked to Google+ Local Pages so you can use your Google+ circles to get recommendations.
14. Google Maps
Too bad iOS replaced Google Maps in iOS6. It is still the most detailed map available for free and it has live traffic information where it is supported.
Indoor maps for selected places are particularly helpful in navigating unfamiliar buildings. In Android you can also cache map area so you can use Google Maps even if there is no network signal. This is very important if you are going to an island or rural places.
I can’t think of any maps with chock-full of features that is so easy to use. Good news for iPhone users, you can still use the mobile web version of Google Maps.
15. Google Now / Siri
We call them personal assistant and knowledge navigator apps. However, these apps can be your travel buddy too.
Google Now is only officially available in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It incorporates several features from different apps and made them accessible using voice commands as well location triggers. Some of it features includes traffic guide, public transit information, next appointment notification, flight delay forecast, place recommendations, weather, translation, currency conversion and time conversion.
Siri has almost the same set of features but Google Now is location-aware while Siri is not. For travelling, Google Now gets an edge because it doesn’t require voice input all the time but when you’re bored while on the road, Siri could be fun.
Google Now and Siri are applications that can seriously change the way we use information around us.
If data roaming is not an issue then Google Now and Siri is the perfect companion in any place you wish to go. Of course, given the choice I would still travel with my love ones.
So now, it’s your turn. Let me know what’s your favorite travel apps for Android or iPhone.