Cut the cost of your holiday by downloading these 14 travel apps to your phone or tablet.
I’ve never been the person who just buys a package holiday and leaves it at that. I’ll shop around to get the cheapest I can on hotels, flights, travel money – pretty much everything. And apps can be a big help.
Here are some of the top apps you should download to plan your holiday, and save even more when you are away.
Each is available for iOS and Android. And you can also use your phone’s browser to go to the webpages for each of these.
Apps to save on your flights and hotels bookings
Probably the biggest expenses of most holidays – and where you can make the biggest savings.
These are both travel comparison apps which are great for that first wistful daydream to find the destinations for your budget. I tend to prefer Skyscanner for flights and Kayak for hotels.
3. Seat Guru
With flight shares (where different airlines share a route) you never really know who you’re flying with and what that means.
This app lets you enter the flight number to find out the type of aircraft, who is operating the flight, the facilities onboard (such as in-seat movies), and read reviews of different seats, helping you get the best value for your money.
Often far cheaper than a hotel, Airbnb is the service where people let out their spare room – and sometimes their whole home.
As long as you read the reviews you shouldn’t go too far wrong. Plus an added bonus is the local knowledge you get from your hosts.
Apps to save on your travel money
The worst thing you can do is leave it to the last minute to get your cash. I’ve written about how to get the best deal already, but these apps will make sure you know what you’re spending – and at the lowest rate.
When I’m away I always use XE to get a rough idea of how the local currency converts to sterling. It won’t be exact (that depends on how you pay) but it should help you work out if it’s a decent price, and if it’s in your holiday budget.
Starling and Monzo are two app-only digital banks are managed from your phone rather than in a branch. One of the reasons they’re stand out from other banks is you won’t get charged for spending overseas or withdraw cash from an ATM (though Monzo has a £200 monthly limit before a 3% fee is charged). When you use the card you’ll also be instantly sent a notification of how much you’ve spent, converted to pounds – though you obviously need data turned on for this to work.
Apps to save on your mobile data
I’m so used to doing everything on my phone that it’s a bit of a shock being restricted when on holiday. Yes, it can be nice to switch off, but there are advantages to being able to see what’s a nice place to eat, or find your way around without a big “I’m a tourist” map.
Though in most of Europe now you can use inclusive data, for the rest of the world it’s only Three which allows this, and only in certain locations. So for everywhere else, these apps can help you get online without adding bucketloads on your bill.
8. Wifi Finder
This app will tell you if there’s free wifi near you. It’s crowdsourced so might not always be correct, but it’s a big help. Of course, you need to be online to use it, but I use wifi at the hotel to take a look before heading out.
9. Google Maps
You can buy Sat Nav apps, or city maps, but thanks to a handy trick you can download sections of maps from Google Maps to use offline.
Apps to help you keep in touch
You can also wrack up big bills outside Europe for making calls, sending texts and using other messaging services. But as long as you’re connected to wifi you can talk, share pics and more with these apps.
11. Facebook Messenger
You can make free calls to other WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger users, as well as send photos and instant messages
It’s also worth checking if your mobile network has an app that lets you make calls via the Internet as part of your calls package – meaning you can call landlines back home. Handy if your card gets declined and you need to phone the bank!
Apps to save on your shopping
Though we often think we’re getting a better deal at duty-free or in certain countries, it’s often not the case. So I’ll always use these apps to check the price back in the UK.
MySupermarket is useful for things at duty-free, especially booze. I’ll usually pick up a bottle or two of spirits on my way home, but first I’ll check the price against the supermarkets back home. With price wars and promotion in the UK, the airport isn’t always cheaper.