The Base Trip
This website is just genius. It pulls together all the information that you could hope to find out about your travel destination in one handy page. Visa requirements, currency, living costs, crime rates, vaccinations and of the most important thing if you are British; the weather! This makes planning a trip very easy. If that wasn’t enough, users can add their own tips or experiences so you can read real life advice from previous travellers. Ideal!
This website/app is great for determining the most cost effective way to get from A to B, so whether you are planning a road trip, or contemplating whether to fly or take the train, this will give you a real time cost comparison based on the exact dates you are travelling.
Fast becoming one of the most popular ways to book accommodation, AirBnB is great for a number of reasons. Firstly, you can chose to stay in your own house or apartments, so do not have to share facilities with others (even the hotel pool). Secondly, the ratings are based on peer reviews so they are not artificially high. You are only able to post a review if you have actually stayed at the accommodation, so there are often honest and realistic comments. Thirdly, AirBnB has some of the coolest accommodation in the world, check out these great finds: http://metro.co.uk/2014/07/07/13-unusual-places-you-can-stay-with-airbnb-in-the-uk-4786680/
A great range of hotels of all levels of luxury can be found for great prices. Booking.com allows you to reserve some hotels so you can ensure you are getting the best price.
Misconception: this is not just a website to book spaces in dorm rooms in large hostels. There are just as many reasonably priced private rooms in smaller boutique hotels as there are shared rooms these days. It is a great place to find great accommodation which is something a bit different from the all inclusive and high end hotels that feature on booking.com or trivago.
Skyscanner is not just a great resource for finding the lowest price available right now for flights, by searching the whole internet for you, but if you are just starting to look for destination inspiration it has an ‘Explore top deals’ section which shows the cheapest flights to several different locations (depending on your search parameters).
Hopper is a relatively unknown app for finding flights, but it has one amazing feature that means I cannot plan travel without it; it can predict when flights will be at their cheapest and how low the price will go. This allows me to plan out the best time to buy everything whilst sticking to my budget, rather than just getting over excited by the prospect of going on holiday and booking everything immediately. My biggest achievement is buying direct flights from the UK to Cuba for £291.00 instead of £634.00 when I first looked – what a bargain!
Available on pretty much every smartphone in the world, it is sometimes the most simple tools that get you around. Look up local attractions, restaurants and ATM’s as well as planning the best routes for you, well I don;t need to tell you what it does! Anyway, I wouldn’t leave my front door without it.
If you are anything like me, part of travelling is allowing yourself to get lost, not completely lost but just far enough to experience something new and exciting. For when I take that step too far then this app is a life saver. You are able to download the maps for entire countries so that they are available offline (saving your roaming charges again). The maps show more than the street layout, you can also ask for directions which it will plot for you in the same way google maps does. It also has local points of interest, café’s, bars, restaurants, museums and loads of others pre-plotted and you are even able to add your own.
Before You Go – Duolingo
This is a great little app (available on Google Play and the App Store) that teaches you the language of your choice in small bitesize chunks. The fact that it requires you to go back over each practice area regularly really cements in your learning. Of course, this is not a quick fix, and is something that will take several months to become vaguely fluent but I have had great success using this app. After three months of using Duolingo to learn Spanish (30 minutes a day) I was able to read and speak enough Spanish to get around a country whose citizens do not speak much English.
On the Road – Google Translate
This is the simplest way to work out how to say something when you are in the middle of a conversation or trying to translate a menu as the server is asking you to order. Not only does it support 90 different languages, but the app also works offline so there is no need to rack up expensive roaming costs to use it. The other advantage, especially if pronouncing foreign tongues is not your forte, is that you can also show the text to the person you are trying to communicate with so that there can be no mistake what you mean. Of course it is not one hundred percent foolproof but most of the time it works great.
Probably the worlds best free currency converter, available both at www.xe.com and on app, this little beauty also works offline using the conversion rates at the last point it was connected to the internet. 175 worldwide currencies are covered by this app allowing you to keep on top of your budget, and work out whether you are getting a bargain, no matter where you are!
This app is in its infancy, and I must admit it doesn’t have the coverage that I would love it to have yet. That of course can and will change as more people use and log their amazing food experiences. The purpose of this app is to find highly recommended restaurants and dishes anywhere in the world. Some countries currently have sparse to offer on the app, but for others this app is amazing. Definitely one to watch out for in the future even if it doesn’t have what you need now.
This is a must for all you Instagram lovers out there! This handy little app finds all the best locations for photo opportunities no matter where you are in the world, making that perfect Insta-location a whole lot easier to find! It even gives you little hints about the best time of the day to visit each location, such as when a place is the perfect sunset selfie spot.