The ten best free travel apps

Discover ten terrific travel apps to enhance your holiday experiences

Marcus Webb – Virgin Money Living Mentor

by Marcus Webb | Independent Money Mentor

Editor of Delayed Gratification and independent journalist


Whether you’re on an adventure holiday or a city break, nobody wants to spend their break constantly staring at their phone, but a few choice travel apps can make all the difference to your trip. Here are our ten best free travel apps.

Detour

Offering beautifully produced audio tours of 17 cities worldwide, Detour is a fantastic way to get to know a place. The fact that it is location-aware means you can amble at your own pace while learning the secret history all around you. The standard tours come for free and you can pay for in-depth guides by the great and the good (such as Ken Burns' history of the Brooklyn Bridge) as you go.

HappySun

Developed in collaboration with Public Health England, HappySun aims to keep you safe in the sun. By patching into weather satellites around the world, the app measures the actual UV doses its users are soaking up and provides personalised advice for how to avoid burning.

Hotel Tonight

One of the best last-minute room apps going, Hotel Tonight is great for bargain-hunting, fly- by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants types. It offers live booking of bargain rooms up to a week in advance, but the best deals are to be had on the day. So relax with a drink somewhere with wifi and watch prices tumble the closer you get to midnight. 

Google Maps

It’s a classic for a reason. Google Maps can work as a SatNav, public transport decoder and get you from A-B on foot. Top tip: load in your destination and then turn off data to preserve your precious allowance. 

Google Translate

The last Google app, we promise, where the search big boys do translation very well indeed. Google Translate allows you to type in and translate between 103 languages, 59 of which you can use offline. Niftily, you can also use your camera for instant translations of signs, menus etc. and – if you’re desperate – use the conversation feature for an elongated exchange about the location of the nearest train station. 

iPlayer

If you’re travelling with children then you never know when you might need an emergency episode of Octonauts to buy yourself five minutes of peace. Load up the iPlayer app before you go and prepare to thank us when you’re stuck on a slow-moving bus with a screaming toddler. 

My Data Manager

Helping you to keep within your limits, My Data Manager is designed to let you avoid big bills while on the go. The great app tracker will show you how much data each app is using; you can set alerts to warn you when you've reached certain percentages and you can budget a certain amount of bytes per day to make sure you have enough left in the bank to hail that final Uber to the airport. 

Osmino Free WiFi Finder

A godsend for those without data roaming, Osmino maps 3.5 million free Wi-Fi hotspots in over 50 countries. There’s also a password-sharing function to make it easier than ever to get online. 

Post Office Currency Converter

A great simple currency converter that works without the need for data. The rates for 70 currencies are updated whenever you are online and then stored offline. So you don’t have to spend a fortune while trying to work out if you’re about to spend a fortune. 

TripIt

The digital equivalent of a personal assistant or bossy spouse, TripIt combines all your tickets, bookings and itineraries into one easy-to-view app. No more desperately searching through your email for that confirmation number, or missing a flight because you underestimated the travel time to the airport. Essential.

Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.