PocketGuide is a fantastic app that allows you to download audio guides of cities across the world. Each individual guide comes with maps, facts, suggested walking tours and audio commentary. If you prefer to just wander aimlessly, the app will use GPS to let you know when you have stumbled across a site of interest. Locations covered include Amsterdam, Singapore and New York. You can use the guides for free online or pay £3.99 to download them to your phone and avoid running up dreaded roaming charges. If you’re off to a new city or want to discover new places in one that you’ve already visited, this is an indispensable tool.
If you’re looking for a bargain holiday, Skyscanner could be the app for you. It compares millions of flights from over 1,000 airlines around the world, displaying the information in a slick, user friendly form. It’s free to download and is available on all major mobile platforms. Its search tools allow you to tailor the results to your needs – if you’re flexible on your dates, it will find the cheapest options within the dates you select. Its social networking capability also allows you to share your holiday with friends over Twitter and Facebook, which is handy if you’re trying to book a group trip and want to avoid messy chains of emails.
FlightTrack allows you to check when a loved one is arriving, access departure times, and monitor a plane’s airborne progress. There are many flight tracker apps out there but FlightTrack stands out from the crowd thanks to its clear yet informative interface. The app has the best looking maps on the market, complete with highly detailed satellite images and weather data. As well as providing useful logistical information such as baggage claim numbers, delays, and departure gates, FlightTrack can also tell you your altitude, airspeed and the kind of aircraft that you’re flying in. If you’re not already an aviation geek, this app will turn you into one.
Jetlag is like hangovers: thousands of mythical cures, zero creditable ones. The people behind Jetlag Genie don’t claim to have eliminated post-flight fatigue – that, they say, is impossible – but it does promise to take the edge off. Simply enter your flight details the week before you travel, and the app will prompt you to have naps and go to bed later or get up earlier. It also provides advice aggregated from thousands of frequent flyers. It’s not just sleep patterns that you need to think about – exposure to sunlight can help your circadian rhythm get back on track, as will taking natural sleep aids.
Navigating foreign roads is one of the more testing aspects of going on holiday. Waze can help. The Israeli sat nav app already has 50m users and just two months ago it was bought by Google for $1.3bn. It uses data input from its millions of users to develop and refine its inbuilt maps and routes in real time. No matter how early you leave, there’s always a risk that an accident or road closure could cause you to miss your flight. With its real-time updates, Waze leaves nothing to chance. If Google is willing to pay over $1bn for it, you can bet it will make your life easier on holiday.