Ready to explore the world? Here are 11 apps to help you along

Your phone can be a handy travel companion.

Your phone can be a handy travel companion. Photo: Getty

As the northern hemisphere summer season approaches, many Australians already have plans to swap the local frost for balmy weather on distant shores.

Along with warm-weather clothes and a good book, our smartphones could be the travel accessory that makes the difference between a good holiday and a bad memory.

From breaking down language barriers to getting you from point A to point B, here are 11 apps you should consider downloading before you get on the plane.

Google Translate

Let’s start with a classic: This app might not always be 100 per cent spot-on, but it is one of the most trustworthy translation services out there.

Google Translate is also getting better with age; not only will it record and translate audio (say goodbye to wondering whether you’re being dissed by the local sitting next to you), the app can pick out and translate text from an image, making navigating everything from menus to train stations that much easier.

The app also has a function which allows you to ‘draw’ writing, which will come in handy when you want to translate a language that doesn’t use Latin script, such as Japanese or Arabic.


While you could rely solely on translation apps to get you though your travels, it’s probably a good idea to get a handle on at least the basics of the language of whichever country you’re heading to – if only to avoid having to mime going to the toilet whenever you’re desperately asking for the nearest loo.

Plus, a please and a thank you always goes a long way.

Duolingo offers more than 100 courses teaching 40-plus languages for free.

It might be best to take advantage of this app at least a month or so before you jet off, especially if you’re going to spend a significant amount of time in one particular country.


Creating your itinerary can get a lot easier. Photo: Apple/TripIt Inc

Another app you might want to set up before heading out of the country, TripIt can collate your travel itinerary and save you from madly scrolling through your emails to confirm flight boarding times and hotel check-in dates.

While you can manually upload the information to the app, you can also simply attach your email address to your TripIt account, and then forward every confirmation email for reservations for everything from flights to cars to [email protected].

TripIt then automatically adds the details to your itinerary, which you can also share with other people.


It seems to be a common experience that even if you religiously wear the same few outfits every week, when you travel, you’re tempted to throw your entire wardrobe into your suitcase – after all, you never know where your travels might take you!

Packpoint aims to lighten the load by helping organise what you need to pack, based on length of travel, your destination’s weather, and any activities planned during your trip.

You just have to enter your destination details, select your activities and Packpoint will do the rest, listing everything from your workout clothes to your laptop charger; it can also connect with TripIt to access your itinerary and furtherease the process further.

Radical Storage

If you can’t bring yourself to pack light, one of the worst parts of travelling might be trying to lug your massive suitcase uphill on uneven, century-old streets – especially if you’ve got hours left until you can check in to your accommodation.

Formerly known as BagBnB, Radical Storage aims to eliminate this experience by finding a luggage storage location near you, which you can book online and use to store your bags so you can live out your holiday dreams hands-free.

The service costs just €5 (AUD$8.10) per day, with no weight or size restrictions and a safety guarantee of up to 3000 (AUD$4862).


Google Maps might be your go-to for your everyday travels, but some seasoned travellers swear Citymapper is better for find the best public transport routes on your international adventures.

Primarily for metropolitan cities, the app offers turn-by-turn directions for public transportation, walking, cycling and scooter trips.

It also allows users to compare taxi fares, save destinations, subscribe to your favourite subway, train, bus or ferry lines, see wait times, and share your live trip with others.


You might appreciate your privacy and some good room service, but staying in hostels can offer significant savings – something more important than ever with the increasing cost of living.

Using the Hostelworld app, you can search through more than 16,500 hostels in 180 countries, filtering by features including location, price, room type (private and single-gender options are available) and facilities.

Reviews from fellow travellers can help you make your decisions.

travel apps

Easing one of life’s unescapable burdens. Photo: Apple/JRustonApps B.V.

Flush Toilet Finder

It’s never fun to search for a toilet in an unfamiliar place, especially when you’ve misjudged your bladder control or eaten something you really shouldn’t have.

If you’re using an app Flush Toilet Finder, hopefully this experience becomes a lot more rare.


One of the best parts of travel is getting to sample local cuisine – and it doesn’t get any more local than direct from someone’s kitchen.

From professional chefs to home cooks, Eatwith offers more unique and customised dining experiences.

You can choose to attend dinner parties, food tours, or cooking classes in more than 130 countries.


If you’re someone who likes to escape the city lights, AllTrails is your guide to outdoor adventures.

Whether you’re a keen cyclist, trail runner, hiker, or just looking for a casual workout, this app aims to help you plan, live, and share your outdoor activities.

More than 400,000 global trails are available to search through, and can be filtered based on location, interest, and skill level.

Fill up your days with some spur-of-the-moment plans. Photo: Apple/Headout Inc.


You might have key activities to tick off your travel wishlist, but if you’ve got some time to kill, this app aggregates experiences nearby so you can always find something to do.

Users can book over 10,000 experiences in more than 250 cities worldwide, Headout allows you to browse activities from a strip club tour in Amsterdam to tickets to shows like Phantom of the Opera in London.

You can compare prices and often book through Headout, and the app also offers flexible cancellation options if needed.



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