An old saying goes along these lines: going away with your family on holiday is no holiday at all. Add stress and disorientation to the possible scenario of jetlag and the situation has the potential of heading downhill – fast. This needn’t be the case. The following apps can smooth your proverbial landing.
- Apple, iPhone and iPad versions available - Free, ad free version $1.29
- Android – Free, ad free version $1.05
One of the most popular and established travel apps available, TripIt is an extremely handy way of storing critical information. Google accounts may be linked to TripIt, thus allowing flight details to be imported from your Gmail, if desired, or they can be entered manually. Once an upcoming trip has been created, there are variety of extras to add, such as accommodation reservations, appointments, where to eat and what to do. When these are done, you may look at your listed itinerary at a glance. The ads generally aren’t too intrusive, but there is a cheap upgrade option, if desired, if you want to be rid of them.
Scenario: you’re in the middle of a foreign city and suddenly – desperately – have to go to a hospital but don’t know where the closest one is. Has this happened to you? With kids? It has to me, and it’s frightening. Download this app, enable your location settings, and you can check how to get to the nearest hospital – or hotel, ATM, restaurant, theatre or a host of other options. Clicking on a pin will bring up further information about the place. Some of these are more detailed than others, but you can generally see a street address, phone number and website URL. Call it a little piece of mind.
- Apple, iPhone available - Free
Are you the kind of person who loses track of when you need to reapply sunscreen at the best of times, let alone in unfamiliar territory where UV intensity may be much greater than you realise? This app can help you track how much time you have left in the sun depending on where you are, what SPF you’re applying and the fairness of your skin colour. Don’t forget to check yourself once in a while, though … just in case.
Quite simply, Word Lens is amazing. Developed by Quest Visual, it was released in 2010 with universal praise. The premise is simple: hold up your phone to a sign or piece of writing in a foreign language, and this image is then translated in real time into your native language. And vice versa. Accidentally ordered food from restaurant menus can become a thing of the past.
Word Lens’s success reached a high point recently when Google purchased Quest Visual, thereby acquiring the app. It has since been made free to download – it’s not quite known whether it will remain free, so it might be wise to take the opportunity while it’s available.
If you’ve ever memorised a list of handy words and phrases in the language of the country you’re about to visit, only to touch down and forget them all in an instant, this app can come to your rescue. By either speaking, typing or handwriting what you want translated, you have eighty languages from which to choose. Your answer may then be either spoken aloud, or can flashed in large letters upon the screen to be read. The app is quite intuitive, I rarely needed to repeat a question. The same can’t be said for Siri.
XE Currency Converter
Finally, because money is so important while you’re travelling, XE Currency Converter is an easy-to-use app that converts the amount of money in the currency of your choice and shows what this equates to in a list of other major currencies. These rates are live, or as close to live as possible if your device is not connected to the internet. This information is always helpful to know, and 20 million downloads speaks for itself in terms of usability and reliability.
What are your favourite apps to take travelling?