By Abby Foulkes on 08 August 2017

These days a smartphone is an essential travel companion. Most people wouldn't even dream of leaving the house without theirs. If you want to connect to the internet or keep in touch with friends and family, they make the job much easier. For travellers though, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The latest apps can keep you entertained during an airport layover, help you find accommodation and places of interest, work out how much to tip in a restaurant and even help you learn a new language. According to a new report by mobile payment technology specialist CellPoint Mobile, nearly two-thirds of travellers see their device as indispensable.

Check out our list of must-have apps and get downloading.

Guides and reviews

Traveling to a new destination is always exciting, but it can be daunting too as you’ll want to know where's best to stay, eat and visit. Turn to either Google Play or Apple's App Store and you'll soon have an endless supply of local information at your fingertips.

One of the best-known sources of travel-related content is TripAdvisor. Home to millions of traveller reviews covering everything from restaurants and hotels to places of interest and activities; it's a fantastic research tool. Foursquare is focused on helping you find the best entertainment options and places to eat in a particular location, while the Time Out app with its event finder feature will ensure you're never at a loose end.

Like to learn a little more about your destination? Lonely Planet's Guides app is filled with advice from local experts, offline maps and suggested itineraries. An alternative is Triposo, which like the Lonely Planet guides works offline once downloaded, and offers information on plenty of destinations that are off the beaten track.

Getting around

It's when you're out and about on holiday that it really pays to have quick and easy access to information. Navigating your way around a strange city or country is considerably easier when you've got a smartphone with GPS.

Citymapper offers accurate travel information for almost 40 cities around the world. Choose a destination, find out what buses, trains, taxi and walking options are available, and pick your route – all at the touch of a button. Also try out Waze, the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app, offering real-time information that can help you avoid getting stuck in a jam. If you're moving between destinations in Europe, consider downloading the GoEuro app for quick and easy route planning.

Need to ask for directions? Google Translate will help you find the right words in a hurry. Alternatively, if you're thinking of getting to grips with a new language, Duolingo is an impressively powerful and well thought out learning tool.



Keeping track of your money and dealing with local currency while traveling is made far easier when you've a few smartphone apps to hand. The XE Currency app provides live exchange rate information and you'll be able to convert between various currencies in seconds. Splittr takes the strain out of recording expenses and dividing costs amongst a group, while apps like Tip Calculator make splitting restaurant bills incredibly simple.


If you're planning on spending time by the pool or lazing on a sun lounger, be sure to have some quality entertainment to hand. The BBC iPlayer app will allow you to download your favourite programs and watch them in your own time, while Netflix provides access to its catalogue of TV shows and films in more than 190 countries around the world. Just bear in mind that video content will wear down your smartphone battery and will also eat through your data allowance if streamed. 

Music fans can turn to Spotify for a mainstream source of tunes, while is a good choice if you're in the mood to discover new artists. TuneIn Radio provides access to more than 100,000 live radio stations based around the world, along with additional content like podcasts. Have you ever been in a bar or restaurant and not been able to recognize a song on the stereo? With the Shazam app on your smartphone you'll have the artist and title in seconds.

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