No one needs a smartphone full of gimmicky apps. We’ve rounded up a selection of the best tools for Aussie travellers.
Proper planning makes all the difference between a rushed, stressful trip and a relaxation break. Fortunately, mobile apps are here to help.
From trip planners and itinerary generators to real-time search tools for flights and hotels, there’s no shortage of apps. Here we hone in on only the best apps you need right now.
An oldie but such a goodie, TripAdvisor (Android, iOS) is the travelling world’s most trusted hotels guide. The crowd-sourced gold mine allows you to browse through millions of reviews, user-photos and videos of hotels, then book the best available price. Yet TripAdvisor is so much more, offering authentic reviews on tourist activities and restaurants, along with detailed travel tips posted on every topic conceivable. Use it to find and book a place to stay, or as a resource for double checking the hotels you find on other sites and apps.
PackPoint (Android, iOS) is a travel packing genius that dishes up smart packing checklists designed for the type of trip you’re taking. Simply create a trip profile, adding your destination, length of stay and purpose of travel. PackPoint will do the rest, generating a tailored packing and luggage checklist that takes all your info into account, like the type and amount of clothing to pack based on the weather forecast and other factors. Premium features are also on offer, such as TripIt integration for automatic packing list creation.
3. Google Flights (Free)
Since its launch in 2011, Google flight finder and price tracking service, Google Flights has grown to now offer an array of features, making it an essentials app for travellers looking to score a great deal on international and local fares. Google Flights compares prices across thousands of flights from flag carriers, budget airlines, and charter flights. In addition, Google works its own search magic into the mix, allowing travellers to filter their searches through a variety of parameters, like searching for flights by date, departure or destination airports, and more. Bonus points: Use the price prediction feature to find out about fare changes, and likely fluctuations in price.
No matter how good a city’s public transportation is, it can still be confusing when you’re not a local. That’s where Citymapper comes in. The transit app helps you find the fastest and easiest trip to your destination, whether it’s by bike, bus, train, taxi, tube or subway, train or on foot. It even offers Uber integration. Use it to plan your journey, then marvel at the notifications that deliver real-time, detailed step-by-step instructions and updates about delays. Citymapper is available in around 30 cities worldwide.
Consider yourself an outdoors-y type? Then Yonder is the discovery app for you. With an inventory of over 20,000 destinations, plus detailed adventures for bikers, hikers, climbers, skiiers and more, use Yonder to find your perfect outdoor adventure. You can filter activities by sport or location, and share potential trips with your travel buddies. Yonder users can also post pictures and info about their own adventures so that you can find cool experiences wherever you are. Please see trending destinations, photos, and recommendations from locals that will help you get away from some of the more touristy, cliché options.
Hipmunk may be better known in the States, but the rest of us are catching on to this all-in-one travel planning and booking wiz, with a dynamic flight and hotel search engine. In addition to the usual flight search criteria, Hipmunk also screens for flight duration, number of stops and other factors. Travellers can also take advantage of last minute hotel deals, view reviews from TripAdvisor and other sources, and check out heat maps that show hotel proximity to shopping, dining and entertainment venues.
The best thing about this flight search app is it’s ease of use. SkyScanner offers stacks of ways to find your flight – by date, by month, by carrier, by price and so on. SkyScanner works its magic by comparing prices across millions of flights and hundreds of airlines. From there, users can book flights directly from the app with provided links to travel agents or airlines. For early bird planners, use the weekly or monthly chart views to check out prices over time, then set up an email alert to notify you of price fluctuations. It really is the best way to score the cheapest fare.
Detour is the local audio tour guide you always wanted. The app offers curated, GPS-based audio 10-hour long walks in travel hotspots like Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Marrakech, with more cities coming. Select your city then learn about landmarks and sites you might have otherwise missed, while getting a taste of the local culture that you wouldn’t be able to get through tourist-geared walking programs. Best of all, you can sync up the audio with a group and use the GPS location tracking to get pointed in the right direction.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain