Get the most out of your next vacation with these 12 apps

Maps, guidebooks and pocket dictionaries used to be regarded as travel essentials - but no longer. The digital age has lightened our luggage and made navigating our way around new places a whole lot easier. All you need is your smartphone or tablet, fully stocked with a selection of excellent travel apps.
From the best app for taking holiday photos, to unrivalled navigational apps, here is our pick of the travel apps deserving of a prized place on your home screen.


BBC Weather

BBC weather picture for Bangkok

Keeping an eye on the weather in the weeks running up to your trip will ensure you don't arrive unprepared. Maybe your destination is experiencing an uncharacteristic cold snap, or stormy showers when the sun goes in. One thing's for sure: by consulting the BBC Weather app, you can pack accordingly and avoid any meteorological surprises.
Available for Apple and Android.
Price: Free.


Holiday items on bed ready to pack

If you still aren't sure what to pack, from weather-appropriate clothes to travel documents, enlist the help of PackPoint. Simply enter your destination, the length of your trip, the intention of your trip (business or leisure) and highlight the kind of activities you expect to be trying out. Once you are done, PackPoint provides an interactive checklist of everything from visas to thermals.
Available for Apple and Android.
Price: Free, but with optional in-app purchases.

XE Currency

Screen shot of XE currency app

For many people, organising currency is as simple as picking up a packet of Euros. Many destinations, however, still use their own currencies, and the XECurrency app is the place to find out more. From Icelandic Krona to Indonesian Rupiah, the app includes more than 180 currencies for you to calculate and convert. This is a great help when it comes to budgeting.
Available for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.
Price: Free.


Expedia Travel App

From flights and hotels to transfers and activities, the Expedia app is a great all-rounder. As well as being able to book your trip, you can get a head start on planning your itinerary by visiting the 'activities' tab. You can either enter your destination or let the app use your location: a great feature for when you find yourself with a spare afternoon while away.
Available for Apple, Android and Windows Phone.
Price: Free.



Bowl of Italian risotto

Foodspotting is a restaurant app with a difference: rather than pointing you towards nearby eateries, it points you to your favourite dishes. So, let's say you're in Rome and are craving risotto – simply type risotto into the app's search bar and you'll be presented with tantalising pictures of the nearest dishes, complete with ratings and reviews.
Available for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.
Price: Free.

In between sightseeing, visiting museums, relaxing on the beach and other choice travel activities, there is barely time to even think about what you want to eat, never mind book a table. OpenTable can solve at least one of those problems, though, letting you make restaurant reservations on the go. Convenient and easy to use, you can be booked up in minutes.
Available for Apple and Android.
Price: Free.


Time Out – Discover Your City

Screenshots of Time Out app

Why pack a stack of guide books when you could consult the Time Out: Discover Your City app? Incorporating city guides for the likes of Barcelona, Miami and Sri Lanka, you'll have your destination at your fingertips with one tap. You can find a nearby event, an interesting museum or a table at the best restaurant. Save your favourite spots to create your very own personalised guidebook.
Available for Apple and Android.
Price: Free.

Museums of the World

A view inside a Prague museum

If you want to inject culture into your travel adventure, download the Museums of the World app. Whether you want to find out more about a museum you have in mind or take your pick from nearby institutions, you can discover a world of knowledge in this simple app. You can even browse by collections, exhibitions and events, as well as save your favourites.
Available for Apple, Android and Windows Phone.
Price: Free

Google Goggles

Person taking a photo at Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Have you ever wandered past an intriguing building and wondered about its history? Well, wonder no more – consult Google Goggles. Your very own pocket-sized, cultural encyclopaedia, this app is designed to tell you more about the history around you. And you don't even have to find out what your chosen painting, building or sculpture is called. Simply open the app, point your camera at whatever has caught your eye and, if it recognises it, Google Goggles will load a selection of search results to help you find out more. Nifty stuff!
Available for Android.
Price: Free.



Instagram, photo, image, photography, travel app, travel photo app

When it comes to sharing travel memories with your friends back home, Instagram has no equal. As well as being able to take pictures via the app, you can upload ones you took earlier, apply one of a variety of filters and share it to your social media channels of choice. Recent updates also mean you can now edit your pictures within the app, experimenting with things like brightness and contrast to achieve that perfect snap.
Available on Apple and Android.
Price: Free.


Bonjournal app screenshot

Bonjournal is a virtual travel diary that will fit into your pocket, so you can wave goodbye to cumbersome notebooks. As you go about your trip, snap pictures and add inspiring words to create an exciting narrative. With a minimalist design and simple sharing mechanism, you can make your friends back home green with envy.
Available for Apple.
Price: Free.

Getting around


Person holding a phone in New York street

Uber isn't just a great app for getting around at home - you can use it during your travels, too. Available in 67 countries, it takes the hassle out of getting from A to B in a strange place. Once you've entered your starting location and end destination, your driver will be assigned, and will often arrive within minutes! You can track their progress, and will receive text alerts to let you know they are on their way or outside. The best part? Payment is taken through the app, so you needn't get lost trying to find your nearest cash machine.
Available for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.

Google Maps

Hand holding a compass over a map

Google Maps is a simple yet effective app for those who like to travel on foot as often as possible. All you need to do is type in where you want to go, let the app use your current location, and it will show you the quickest route, either on foot, by car or via public transport. Once you start navigating, the app will give you verbal directions to ensure you turn down the right streets and don't end up out of your depth!
Available for Apple and Android.
Price: Free.

While many people would say that technology can disrupt a holiday, it can also enhance it, making the travel experience much less stressful, and even more inspiring.