November 30, 2016

The 5 most essential travel apps

Chris Shiels - Head of Technology

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Planning our holidays has never been easier. Gone are the days of waiting to see a travel agent then flicking through endless glossy brochures – today you can book your annual two-week trip from the comfort of your sofa. Here’s a round-up of some of the latest holiday apps to make sure you’re maximising your time off.


The Expedia travel app is a one-stop-shop that allows you to book hotels, flights, rental cars and activities. The interface is super clean and engaging; in fact it’s a pleasure to use. Hotels come withreviews packed with useful information and – as you’d expect – search results can be filtered by price, popularity, star rating and even discounts! Flights can also be sorted by price and duration,searching by airport, city or postcode. The app will even geo-locate to find the closest to home. Check out the itinerary function, allowing you to build your trip, whether you book through the appor on the Expedia website.

Download the Expedia Hotels & Flights app from Google Play and iTunes.


Skyscanner is all about flights. If you need just a flight, then Skyscanner searches millions of them, from hundreds of airlines, in seconds. Search results can be filtered by duration, time of departure/ arrival, number of stops etc all bundled into an easy-to-use interface. You can’t book directly in the app; once you’ve chosen your flight you’re taken to the airline’s website to complete the booking. It is, however, a seamless process. I find the Skyscanner app extremely useful as you can get all available flight options for a particular day from hundreds of airlines.

Download the Skyscanner app from Google Play, iTunes and Windows Phone Store.


AirBnB started out as a couch-surfing tool, but has quickly become a serious player in the accommodation sector. AirBnB is all about the place – whether you want to stay on a boat off the Italian coast or a loft in Manhattan – and its focus is connecting travellers with unique and interesting places to stay in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Search accommodation of all types and read reviews of both the space and the owner to ensure a trusted service. Build trip and wish lists plus share via the usual social media channels. AirBnB is a wonderfully refreshing approach to finding cool accommodation tailored to your needs.

Download the AirBnB app from Google Play and iTunes.

XE Currency Converter

It’s important to know how far those holiday savings are going to get you, so whether it’s the cost of an ice cream or a family snorkelling trip, the XE Currency Converter app ensures that you’re not being short-changed by exchange rates. The app uses a simple drag-and-drop mechanism for you to choose which currencies you want to display in your preferred order – so that you can compare costs to your home currency. There’s also an ‘Analyze Fees’ feature, to input your holiday cash exchanges, and see how they differ from the mid-market rates, which are shown as a live feed (so you’re always up to date). It’s a simple but effective app to stay on top of your budget when abroad

Download the XE Currency Converter app from Google Play and iTunes.


Travelling can be hard work, and no matter what kind of holiday you’ve chosen, a cold beer or plate of local food is often all you can think about once you’ve touched down. The FourSquare app means no more heavy tourist guide books to rifle through and find what you’re after; you can easily search for cafe’s, bars, museums and many more, using a huge amount of filters ranging from distance and cost, to whether or not dogs are allowed and if there’s a happy hour! The app uses geo-locate to automatically suggest places of interest nearby, and includes many other helpful functions such as allowing you to build lists of places you’ve visited or would like to see, and adding your tastes as ‘tags’ in order to get personalised recommendations. It really does serve as a helpful companion for keeping your trip stress free.

You can download the FourSquare app from Google Play and iTunes.


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