8 Best Travel Apps for 2017

Though many of us enjoy a break from our digital lives when holidaying or travelling, there are a whole host of apps that have been designed to enhance our experience – from the planning stages through to booking your flights, hotel and finding your way around. We have compiled a list of 8 of our favourites for any traveller: 

 

 

Citymapper – City Breaks / Directions

 

Though this app started out as a way to find your way around London, it has since expanded to include information for over 37+ other cities across the globe. It is the ideal app for any city break with detailed maps and directions for all modes of transport (taxi/car, bus, tram, rail, cycling, walking, etc). Search for points of interest, get instant ETAs based on current traffic, see your friends arrive in real-time and save journeys for offline viewing. One of its newest features displays how many calories burned, trees saved and money saved by using public transport! For a list of cities or to vote for the next one to be added, visit https://citymapper.com/cities

> Available for iPhone and Android

 


 

Skiplagged – Flights

Want to save on flight tickets? Skiplagged details the price history of specific routes to let you know the best times to book and find “hidden-city” one-way ticket deals where you can get cheaper flights by stopping over – a great excuse to explore another city. If you’ve never travelled like this before, you should read thier hidden-city FAQ at http://skiplagged.com/faq. The app also details hotel discounts with special in-app rates and lists a number of travel deals, allowing you to receive notifications when prices drop and save up to 80%!

> Available for iPhone and Android

  


 

Tripit – Travel Itinerary

This app is a super handy piece of kit that will auto scan your emails to compile all your travel plans into one place. Alternatively, you can manually send confirmation emails for it to instantly create an itinerary. It can sync with your calendar and send notifications to remind you about events plus you can easily share specific plans, or your entire itinerary, with anyone else. Subscribing to Tripit Pro (£38.99 annual membership) gives you all this power plus real-time flight alerts, seat tracking, alternative flight finder, fare refund notifications, point tracking and more…

> Available for iPhone and Android

  


 

GeoSure – Health & Security

GeoSure is an invaluable app for travellers with state-of-the-art statistical analysis of health and security concerns for destinations worldwide. As well as pulling data from hundreds of renowned and trusted sources and local authorities, it includes crowd-sourced information from the global community of users who share personal accounts from wherever they are. Areas are given a safety score reflecting health risks, environmental threats, political uprisings and details of any thefts and assaults that may have occurred in the area. Experience the joy of discovering new places while maximising your safety.

> Available for iPhone and Android

  


 

MAPS.ME – Offline Maps

If you are looking for a map for your travels this app is the right choice. With over 40 million+ users and available for all popular devices, maps are well detailed and regularly updated. The best part? You don’t need to worry about internet connection or roaming charges as all maps are available offline – just make sure you search for the area you are visiting and download that area prior to travelling. With GPS navigation it provides driving, walking and cycle information for anywhere in the world, allowing you to bookmark all the places you are planning to visit for quick access and showing nearby points of interest, ATMs, public transport, attractions and restaurants.

> Available for iPhone and Android

  


 

Travello – Social Networking

This awesome app provides a new way of connecting with other travellers with similar interests. There is a noticeboard to search for upcoming plans, WiFi finder, chat facility for the new friends you add and ways to arrange meetups, find local deals and match travel plans. If you are thinking about getting recommendations or looking to meet like-minded people whilst travelling, Travello comes equipped with the tools to make it easy, fun and engaging. Their latest update adds video support so you can now share your experiences with people in over 180 countries!

> Available for iPhone and Android

  


 

WeatherBug – Weather

Though most devices have a stock weather app, WeatherBug is a cross-platform app that is powered by the largest professional weather network in the world. With real-time forecasts (current, hourly and 10-day), lightning detector, weather alerts and 18 maps to visualise your weather, this app gives you much more detailed information. Our favourite feature is the lifestyle forecasts which let you know how weather will impact your allergies, sporting events, workouts and more – quickly access pollen count, wind speed/direction, pressure, humidity and stay informed of hurricane forecasts and changing conditions. For all things weather in over 2.6 million+ locations, this is our go-to app.

> Available for iPhone and Android

  


 

Google Earth – Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is increasingly becoming more popular and what better use than exploring the planet without having to set foot outside? Google Earth has come a long way since it was first launched in 2005 and maps Earth using satellite imagery, aerial photography and geographic information system to generate a 3D globe. Features now include “tour guides” with step-by-step interactive adventures for discover exciting new places and curated content from the likes of the BBC and National Geographic. Whether you want to uncover the awe-inspiring architecture of the Taj Mahal or plunge into the depths of the Grand Canyon’s geological layers, this app provides you with the world in the palm of your hands.

> Available for iPhone and Android

  


Are there any other apps you think should be added to this list? Let us know in the comments or via our social media channels:

 

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Samsung’s SmartThings

Smart Homes

The tech genius’ over at Samsung have done it again with their most recent release! The revolutionary new technology: SmartThings. This is the latest step in advancing technology that gives consumers the ability to control normal household appliances from almost anywhere at any time with the touch of a button!

SmartThings let you monitor, control and secure your home from anywhere.

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But how does it work?

To begin with, you will have to purchase a SmartHub. This will be the most essential device required as it is needed for all other appliances to connect. You then have a range of different appliances that you can connect such as: motion sensors, power outlets, moisture sensors, speakers and more.

smartthings

Samsung specify that you can “add as you go” being able to add as many appliances as you like. On top of this, other known technology manufacturers will be able to create their own appliances that can be linked to SmartThings and so far big names such as Phillips and Bose have contributed.

To be able to make the most of this flashy new tech, you must first download the Samsung app ‘SmartThings’. The app gives you full control over appliances and power supply as well as providing you with useful information like room temperatures, room security, appliance power usage and much more!

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Future benefits

This type of technology can huge benefits especially for travellers and tourists. For example; say you were expecting a delivery while you are out of the country, you could simply log in to the app and schedule a time for the garage to be unlocked or even for the back gate to be opened. Maybe you were in a rush to get out the door so you weren’t late for your flight and forgot to switch the kettle or iron off, not to worry – simply open the app and turn the power off to those appliances!

Another major benefit with a technology of this kind is security. A big worry for holiday makers is theft and burglary of their homes while they are away, however with the introduction of SmartThings you will be able to monitor security from no matter where you are. Be it checking your doors and windows are locked or having a live camera feed you can view remotely.

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How can I get this?

You can simply go to the Samsung website and purchase the equipment there, however because there is so much demand for this there is limited stock and certain products – the starter kit will set you back £200.00 and includes the hub, motion sensor, multi sensor, presence sensor, power outlet.

Got anything else to add? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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4 Ways to Protect Your Passport When Travelling

Your passport is an essential travel document… It could easily get damaged, lost or stolen. All new passports in the UK & Ireland now contain RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. These store data and help speed up the process of boarding as well as being able to allow electronic visas to be issued without the need of sending your passport to an embassy/consulate. Without a valid passport, you will not be able to travel or be able to apply for a visa for travelling. Here are 4 ways to help protect your passport:

1. Keep it in a safe place

This may seem like an obvious tip, however, we hear numerous stories of travellers misplacing their passport or having it stolen! Where are the best places to keep your passport when travelling?

  • On your body – difficult to reach pockets, deep in a bag/hand luggage
  • In a waterproof money belt/Ziploc bag to prevent water damage
  • Hotel safe – if your room doesn’t have one, the place you are staying may have one at reception
  • Make a duplicate copy for instances where you don’t need to provide an original

2. Passport CoversUntitled-2

Passports can be rejected by embassies/consulates/border control if they are not in good enough condition.

Passport covers have the ability to keep your passport safe from accidental damage and come in a wide range of designs and prices to suit your personal preference. Ranging from £0.89 to over £45.00, we would definitely recommend investing in a passport cover.


3. RFID Passport Shield

While a cover can protect your passport from physical damage, the data on your passport can still be at risk. Modern passports contain a data chip which allows for radio scanning at border control. This displays your data instantaneously and is great for the rapid movement of very busy transit areas – however, this technology could come with a price. Today’s Smart Phones come with a technology called NFC (Near Field Communication) which operates at exactly the same frequency as the chip in your passport, allowing someone with the right technology to see the details on your passport – even your photo.
Passport shields are designed to prevent radio scanners activating the chip in your passport.

Just remember to remove the shield when you get to passport control!

Buy a Passport Shield for just £6.99


4. Passport Tracking

Maplin_HIW_Circle_mediumIf you do happen to lose your passport, it can be costly to get a replacement or worse still it could ruin your trip.

A number of companies have been working on a solution to help retrieve your lost passport. Some of these use GPS chips which allow you to track the exact location, whereas others include QR codes and barcodes to trace the whereabouts. One of the more affordable options is MyTAG:

MyTAG enables customers to securely tag and register their most treasured belongings from; wallets to mobiles, passports, keys or luggage – so that if lost, they can be reunited with their owners quickly and hassle free. If found, you are instantly contacted by text or email.


These are 4 essential steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of your passport when travelling. We hope these tips will help you.

Russia – Biometric Data

On 10th December 2014 the Russian Government implemented a pilot scheme which requires all UK-based applicants to submit biometric data when applying for any visa at the application centres in the UK. The two UK-based consulates are located in London and Edinburgh, therefore requiring travellers to visit either of these two cities in order to complete their visa application.

Read the official announcement >

What is biometric data?

Scanning your fingerprint is the new method the Russian Government are using, utilising modern technology to ensure correct identification.

Though visa agencies are unable to submit an application on your behalf due to this new ruling, The Travel Visa Company are now offering services to assist with your application where possible: from providing assistance over the phone and completing the online application, to a personal meet & greet with a Russian speaking specialist and collection/delivery of the issued visa. See details >

Please not the information provided is primarily for British passport holders. Requirements for other nationalities may vary.