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Holiday Apps – What A Relief!

By August 5, 2011 22 Comments

No holiday would feel complete these days without your ‘other half’. No, we don’t mean the boyfriend/girlfriend/partner – we’re talking Android, Blackberry, iPhone and the ton-and-a-half of free apps to keep you amused while you fly across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean at 30,000 feet!

First thing you’ll want to do is keep in touch with your mates. You’re a social kind of a person, right? And a little bit of envy can sure go a long, long way! I mean, you want to tell ’em how tough life is, soaking it up on some sun-drenched, romantic, crystal beach on the Thai island of Phuket.

For maximum effect, you should have already joined Facebook and Twitter and have a few dozen friends or followers at least. Download and install Facebook for Blackberry and Twitter for Blackberry and you’re set. Android and iPhone have their own equivalent Facebook and Twitter apps.

You’re out and about tweeting like mad as you take in the sights and sounds of Sydney, or Bangkok, or Las Vegas and suddenly your tummy rumbles. Time for some food. But where’s the best place to eat? Grab your iPhone and load up Urbanspoon or buUuk, two great little free apps which use GPS and real time ratings to find a good eating place near where you are.

Urbanspoon appears to be best in the States while buUuk is good for cities and countries in the Far East and elsewhere, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Tokyo, Seoul, Pyongyang, Beijing, Hong Kong, Dubai, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, South Africa, Sri Lanka, North Korea – to name but a few! Results can be filtered by neighbourhood, cuisine or price.

Not happy with the accommodation and looking for a hotel with a bit more style? Use StayHIP, a handy little app showing some of the most chic and unique hotels in the world. Displaying lush pictures, lists of amenities and beautiful maps, the app also lets you safely and securely book the room of your choice. Problem solved!

Of course, paying by credit card all the time is not always practical. Sometimes paying for a must-have memento or souvenir can only be accomplished using local currency. No need to gulp then when the Bangkok market trader charges you 730 Thai baht. Load up XE Currency on your iPhone (and android) and the app will tell you that’s about £15. Panic over!

Maybe buying the souvenir might have been a whole lot easier if you could have properly understood what the trader was saying in the first place, instead of you both gesticulating madly in sign language… Pity you didn’t think to download Navita Translator for Blackberry – might have done the trick. Type a few words into the app’s simple interface and choose one of the 50-odd languages to translate into. There you have it. Never be stuck for words again.

It’s a problem we all know and dread. You’re out and about enjoying yourself and soaking up the culture and atmosphere like the proverbial sponge. And just when you don’t need it, nature comes calling – big time. You can’t see a toilet for love nor money. Much too crowded to nip down a nearby alley.

ToiletFinder to the rescue! A quick, easy-to-use app with a database of over 60,000 toilets worldwide. It’s constantly updated, too. What a relief!

Know any useful little apps? Tell us about them.

Join the discussion 22 Comments

  • Ross says:

    If you are hading to Europe the free apps on are great for picking up basic phrases, you learn them really quickly

  • Thanks for the tip Ross, this Busuu app could save me getting into a bit of bother

  • Angela Whitstanley says:

    Translator with Voice from iOS… App-arently rather good!

  • Rachel Neary says:

    a quick currency converter would be good, or an app where to upload my holiday spending ‘budget’ so I can keep a track whilst i’m shopping!

  • Anonymous says:

    Two years on the road and halfway through we became completely dependent on some of these apps. Being able to download and read the news offline is a really nice convenience but we also found that apps like currency converters and country factbooks and phrasebooks were equally valuable

  • Sonya says:

    Thanks for the apps suggestions. I’m excited to check out the ones I haven’t used. I’ve blogged about iPhone and iPads apps on my green travel blog here:

  • Tom Volpe says:

    It’s remarkable how essential smart phones have become to our lives in such a short time. Ironically I am reading this on holiday on my Blackberry!

    Another really handy app I use for UK trips is the Trainline tickets app. I’ve booked several tickets (including this trip) on my phone and it has been really smooth. I also like being able to use it to research journeys and connections.It’s remarkable how essential smart phones have become to our lives in such a short time. Ironically I am reading this on holiday on my Blackberry!

    Another really handy app I use for UK trips is the Trainline tickets app. I’ve booked several tickets (including this trip) on my phone and it has been really smooth. I also like being able to use it to research journeys and connections.

  • PokerPlasm says:, what a great website!

  • Ross says:

    I liked that site too, made me laugh!

  • James Clark says:

    I’m a big fan of the TripIt app, which is available on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. You send your travel plans to their site via email and it organizes your travel plans in an easy to read format. No need to print out flight and hotel confirmations any more!

  • Norbert says:

    Pretty cool post and great recommendations!! I do travel with my iPhone ALL the time and it is my savior. I’ve used a few of those apps you’ve mentioned like UrbanSpoon, Facebook (of course), and XE (great to stay up to date with currency conversions and saved me from losing money while in Central America). Ha! I’ll need to download ToiletFinder as I’ve found myself in tight situations where I have no idea where to find a toilet! good one!

  • A. Schilz says:

    Handy, thanks!

    I don’t have a smartphone but my boyfriend informs me that TripAdvisor is a nifty app with user-generated reviews and photos of the rooms and facilities (not the glossy hotel photos but the real deal), as well as suggested and rated ‘things to do’ and a handy ‘near me now’ function so you can scan the local area for restaurants, hotels etc.
    We’ve found FourSquare useful too – ‘Explore’ picks up recommended and trending things near you, wherever you are (great if you’re starving and with no idea of where the nearest eatery is), you can tip, rate and review, and there’s even a ‘To do list’ that allows you to plan and store an itinerary.

    Maybe I’ll need to look into buying one of these phones…

  • The currency app is a definite “must have” for anybody that travels and needs to convert the various currencies used around the world. As we cover worldwide travel at – we often get currency related questions.

  • Wow, excellent list you’ve got here. I will have to download a few of these. ToiletFinder is an interesting one to say the least!

  • Mark H says:

    Some new apps here to explore!! ToiletFinder sounds a great idea. A couple other suggestions: AllSubway has maps of numerous subways around the world (small cost) and XE Currency Converter is free and is useful for checking the latest FX rates to make sure you aren’t being ripped off.

  • Ann says:

    Love the toilet App but you shouldn’t need it if you come to our side of the world and in particular Noosa in sunny Queensland, we’ve got loads of clean public toilets (free).

  • Traveltext says:

    Best travel apps apart from map, language and city/country travel guides are:

    Flight Status – up-to-date flight details.

    Trips – keeps track of itinerary, expenses, destination, etc.

    Knapsack – plan, journal and relate your travels.

  • Jack says:

    Good advice. Might make a good change to just blundering around which is my usual approach to travel…

  • Jesper says:

    Great advice! I have got a few of the airline apps and tripwolf!

  • Peter says:

    ToiletFinder sounds like an amazingly useful app to have. Personally, I like finding the nearest 4 or 5 star hotel, wander in and then use theirs – beats diving into the nearest street cafe or McD’s.

    All very helpful apps – now all I need is a smartphone!

  • bethany says:

    Excellent round up of travel apps! Def. going to check these out – Thanks!

  • Sophie McG says:

    Great tips, and these things certainly beat flipping through a guide book when you just need to work out the price of something/ find a loo!
    Lonely Planet have their own app for the iphone now which is pretty cool. It includes info on all the main holiday queries like top sights, places to eat and sleep, with advice on avoiding tourist traps etc.

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