19 Must-Have Travel Apps
From B&R Experts
After being in the business of travel for over 50 years, we’ve seen countless advancements in technology that have changed how people see the world. While try as we might to keep up with the times, there are few old-school habits we still prefer: we always aim for face-to-face conversations over instant messaging, and our most steadfast decision is to opt for two-wheeled (or two-footed) adventures over a vehicle, whenever possible.
While technology shouldn’t replace the art of crafting life-changing journeys, it certainly can help enhance it. Here are a few that even our veteran travel experts turn to for a more relaxed and stress-free journey.
Avoiding Jet Lag
Minimize jet lag with Entrain, which helps you to adjust your circadian rhythms and adapt to time zone changes quicker. The app suggests when to seek out light, keeping jet lag at bay so you can continue exploring. Entrain is available for download on iOS with an Android version currently in development.
Android users can benefit from this app to ward off wonky sleep schedules too with Jet Lag Rooster. Enter the details of your trip into the app for an in-depth plan on ideal times to sleep, be in light, and additional tips on reducing travel fatigue.
City Guides and Audio Tours
These can come in handy, especially if you’re roaming a new city before or after your B&R trip.
Looking for some context to your travels on your downtime before or after your B&R trip? Download Detour for Android or iOS. This app offers immersive audio tours of major cities recorded by locals, experts and famous voices (what fun: you can have, for instance, Peter Coyote tell you all about Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco). Different themes—from art to nature to kid-friendly—and varying time lengths easily allow you to customize your tour to your liking.
From high-end malletier to clothing and fashion accessories, you can now take a look at the world of LV for some of our favourite cities in the world, including Hong Kong, London and the city where it all started—Paris, which is, incidentally, the only guide of the collection that is free. Find the app for both iOS and Android.
Food & Drink
Le Fooding began as a blog used to inform locals on new hotspots without pretension and is the first choice for the French when it comes to choosing where to dine and drink with friends. It’s now available on both iOS and Android.
Star-studded eaters will do well to download the Michelin Europe food guide for 2018, is available on iOS and Android. Get the latest on all the 1-, 2- and 3-starred restaurants, along with other notable distinctions (like the Michelin Bib Gourmand), approved by Michelin and its critics.
The ubiquitous Zagat guide has gone digital—a far cry from its founding in 1979, when Nina Zagat interviewed friends in New York to narrow down the best places to eat in the city. Now in the digital age, this guide to dining, hotels, nightlife is centred on American cities, but can still come in handy for others around the world. Check it out on iOS and Android.
Never again forget the name of that sensational bottle of Chianti you had in Tuscany. With Vivino, both iOS and Android users can scan the wine label to receive information on its average price, ratings and reviews given by 30 million users, with the ability to save your favourites in-app. It also alerts you to nearby shops that keep the bottle in stock, which comes in handy for your wine collection at home.
Rainy Day or Airport
Be prepared for delayed flights or quiet evenings in your hotel room with this simple, yet highly-amusing app, excellent for entertaining younger travellers. Rocketed into popularity by the Ellen Show, Heads Up is a modern-day take on the classic game of Hedbandz. It’s family-friendly and suitable for all ages. Play Heads up on iOS or Android.
There seems to be no method to the madness when it comes to booking flights, with even the most frequent flyers unsure of the best time to book. Take out the guesswork with this easy-to-use iOS and Android app offering incredibly accurate flight predictions on the ideal time to purchase your ticket. Track different flight options and dates and receive notifications on when the cost expected to rise or drop. On average, you can expect savings of around $50 per flight when you follow the app’s advice.
With LoungeBuddy, iOS users can purchase discounted airport lounge passes across the globe, with no memberships or first-class tickets required. Simply search for your desired airport to see if a lounge pass is available, either on the day of your flight or up to two months in advance. Ideal for refreshing in the middle of a long-haul flight, or if you find yourself checked in early with time to kill.
Fly smarter with Seat Guru, the app that provides super-detailed seat maps for hundreds of flights, plus a list of in-flight amenities and traveller photos and reviews. Find out which seats have the most or least windows or are closest or furthest from the bathroom. The fool-proof map is colour-coded with the best seats in green and the worst in red so that you can choose yours wisely. Download it for iOS and Android.
Navigating a foreign city is now a breeze with Citymapper. Enter in your point A and point B in the app and it will weigh out your options, including travel by foot, bike, or taxi, to provide you with the best course of action. (Our inclination is by two wheels or two feet, but hey…) It also provides you with real-time updates on departures and delays. Find it for Android and iOS.
Don’t get caught in the rain, or at least be able to prepare accordingly. Get incredibly precise local forecasts from this visually stunning and user-friendly app. Lauded for its minute-by-minute information, Dark Sky offers a customizable notification system and weather pattern maps so you don’t encounter any unwanted weather surprises. Dark Sky is available on Android and iOS.
Save yourself the struggle of finding the nearest bathroom and impress the locals at the same time with the Google Translate app on either iOS or Android. Write the text of what you’re trying to get across in English and choose the language you wish to use—you can even take photos of signage for instant text translation.
Wish as we might, these days our dollar isn’t a match for the Euro. Save yourself from currency exchange confusion with Oanda. A sleek interface and user-friendly design allow you to quickly determine if you’re better off making some purchases back home. Oanda is downloadable for both iOS and Android.
Keep your travel documents organized with TripIt. Ideal for frequent business travellers with more than one trip booked at any given time, here you can combine your hotel reservations, car rentals and flight tickets all into one place. Forward any confirmation emails you receive upon booking to TripIt, and they’ll create a master itinerary within the app. TripIt is available for iOS and Android.
When in France
Don’t fuss with complicated machines at the station: use the OUI.sncf app for easy train reservations within France. You can purchase your ticket directly from the app and have an e-ticket stored on your phone. Find the OUI.sncf app for Android and iOS.