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Travelling the world is a now seemingly ubiquitous pastime for everyone from students to pensioners. With smartphones and tablets equally as ubiquitous, we thought we’d put the two together to come up with the definitive list of eight Android apps that every world traveller needs.

Before beginning, it’s important to consider what are the essential bits of information that you need while travelling? Apps with offline capabilities are certainly preferred, you’ll need currency data, a way to contact home, on-the-go translations, and a way to record all your wonderful memories.

Let’s see what the Google Play Store can offer.

Packing and Organising

Before you even leave for your trip you’ll be faced with a growing to-do list. Flight tickets, hotel bookings, and car hires all need to be logged, and you’ll need to make sure you don’t overlook anything while packing, especially if you’re going for a long time.

The answer is the TripIt Travel Organiser. The app lets you create lists for packing and organising your holiday, but also gives you a way to forward any important email to the app and get it automatically added to your itinerary. Gmail users will even find that details from any emails sent to their inboxes will be automatically added to their TripIt schedule without any human input.

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Translation

There are two apps worth mentioning in this category: Google Translate and Word Lens.

Google Translate is known by everyone. If you live in a foreign land, have foreign relatives, or travel with any degree of regularity, you’re bound to have used it. Two Google Translate features Travelling With Google Translate? 4 Tips To Improve Your Experience Travelling With Google Translate? 4 Tips To Improve Your Experience If you plan on travelling to a foreign country anytime soon, Google Translate can really help you, but it has its limitations. Here's how to best make use of this wonderful app. Read More stand out for a world-weary traveller: the ability to translate offline while travelling, and the ability to talk directly into the microphone and let the app give an on-screen translation. If you do plan to use the app offline, be aware that you need to download the language package you want by clicking on the pin next to the language in question.

Word Lens is an augmented reality translation app. In practice that means that you open the app, point it at the text you want to translate, and see the translated text on your screen. It means no more typing in long and complex sentences — making it particularly useful for things like menus, signs, and labels. Like Google Translate, it is also available offline. Its number of languages is more limited though. Whereas Google Translate boasts 80 languages, Word Lens only has English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, German and Portuguese.

Word Lens was actually recently bought by Google Google Buys Visual Translation App Word Lens - Then Gives It Away For Free Google Buys Visual Translation App Word Lens - Then Gives It Away For Free Now Google has gone even better with translation tools by buying Word Lens and then giving it away for free for a limited time. Read More , which means you may be seeing its features get baked into Google Translate as time goes on.

Currency Convertor

There’s only one app worth mentioning here: XE Currency. The app lets you convert amounts between virtually any global currency, meaning you’ll never give accidently give a taxi driver in Thailand £500 instead of £5.

Like the two translation apps, XE Currency works offline, meaning you’ll never be caught out if you’re without signal. You can save ten favourites that can be simultaneously monitored, removing the need to awkwardly jump between screens. You can even see historic rates, thus letting you know whether or not it’s a good time to visit a certain country. With 20 million downloads, it’s comfortably the best and most popular currency app XE Currency Is The Best Way To Get Monetary Conversions On The Go [iOS] XE Currency Is The Best Way To Get Monetary Conversions On The Go [iOS] If you are looking for a fantastic application to do monetary conversions on your iOS device, look no further than XE Currency. It has a slick, easy to use interface that makes it easy to... Read More in the Play Store and a must-have for any trip, no matter how short.

Contacting Home

After a few days, weeks, or months on the road, you might eventually feel the need to contact your parents, partner, or friends.

Sadly, given the nature of communication, there’s no offline apps in this category. There are the apps such as the ever-present Skype and WhatsApp that should be on your phone regardless, but you should also consider Tango.

Tango is a Skype alternative Tango - A Budding Skype Alternative For Android, iOS & Windows Tango - A Budding Skype Alternative For Android, iOS & Windows The world of Voice over IP is expanding fast, and we’re getting more and more options for calling our friends without paying cellphone providers. The strongest, and most known contender in this area is obviously... Read More that lets you make free video calls, voice calls, and texts. The app includes “channels” that let you stay on top of news and sports, and you can even discover and share songs on Spotify — perfect for letting your friends know about that jam you heard in a little bar in New Zealand! On the downside, your contact list could be more limited due to lower levels of adoption, but it’s still a worthy addition.

Flights

Eventually the time will come to go home (or go to the next place). When that time comes, you’re going to need a flight app.

Flight apps can be broadly split into two categories: meta-search services and online travel agents (OTAs). Meta-search apps include well-known websites such as Seatguru, Kayak, and Momondo, while OTAs include companies such as Expedia, eDreams, and Travelocity.

With flights, one factor is important above all others: price. There are lots of tips to find the best prices 5 Rules To Finding Cheap Airline Flight Tickets 5 Rules To Finding Cheap Airline Flight Tickets Who says you can’t fly for cheap? Sometimes it comes down to whether or not you click the right links, search the right terms, or pick the right times to search the web. Read More , but the best prices offered by meta-search engines are normally on Skyscanner. Research suggests that the well-known flight searcher is on average one percent cheaper than its rivals — so that makes our must-have list.

Of course, all meta-search services share one inconvenience: travellers are usually redirected to an OTA or airline website to make a booking. If you want to cut out the middle man, you need to be prepared to pay more, but it is a faster experience. The cheapest OTA is the little-known Cheapoair, which is typically four percent cheaper than its rivals. Be warned though, the app lacks the polish of behemoths such as Expedia.

Memories

One of the best parts of travelling is recalling your memories once the trip itself is in the distant past. To do this, you’ll need a great way to organise your thoughts, photos, and videos. Looking beyond standard apps such as Evernote and Facebook, you could consider trying the free Vacation & Travel Journal.

The app lets you track and document your journey by using images, video, audio recordings, and text, and it lets you sync all your data onto a website which can be shared with family and friends.

It has several cool features, including automatically logging the weather, longitude, latitude, altitude, time, and date for each entry you make, logging your entire trip via GPS, and making shared trips so multiple people can upload memories to the same log.

Your Recommendations?

What are your must-have travel apps? We’d love to know! Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Image Credits: aircraft seats Via Shutterstock

  1. Hans-Peter
    November 29, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I'm on a 3 year trip now and THE most useful app by far is Opera. Switch this app to off-road mode and safe up to 95% bandwidth.
    Also Hostelworld could be nice.

  2. Hans-Peter
    November 29, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I'm on a 3 year trip now and THE most useful app by far is Opera. Switch this app to off-road mode and safe up to 95% bandwidth.
    Also Hostelworld could be nice.

  3. Tony
    November 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I think Explopics is very useful too!

  4. Stephen
    November 25, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    RE: Trip-it!
    I've used Trip it off/on for a few years. This summer I planned and led a trip to Europe and stored EVERYTHING in Trip-it just as the video shows. While stateside and Internet connected it was awesome. Either on the Computer, iPad, or phone I had everything I needed. I also produced a PDF and printed the hardcopy as a backup.
    Good thing too as a Sprint (CDMA) customer I had little chance of cellular access and planned to use wi-fi wherever possible. It was the moment I stepped foot overseas that I discovered the Trip-it apps have no offline content.
    As I said I had thankfully printed andf brought a PDF version of the Itinerary for the month long travel.
    Do any of the above offer off-line storing of content?
    Being able to link to maps, weather, etc. if nice - but I don't always plan to be connected. I can sync a calendar and carry those without syncing with a phone or ipad and get days or even weeks on a charge.

  5. Martin
    November 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    HERE maps for offline maps.
    Roamer app for calling.
    Roamy app for data.

  6. aiksoon
    November 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Thanks, good recommendation.
    Alternative for below:
    For trip planning - non business trip type (mean fun type), I like TripCase (can work offline) for the interface.
    For currency converter, there is an alternative - Toshl Currency (work offline also)

  7. Brett
    November 25, 2014 at 7:28 am

    I spend 100+ days a year travelling professionally, and found Worldmate much better than TripIt.

  8. adam
    November 24, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I like the packpoint app where you are given ideas for making a list for packing for a trip.

  9. Graham Doessel
    November 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Trailu.com os a travelers must have.
    its still on beta test mode and the app is only weeks away but if you travel and take photos, you need to have trailu.com

  10. ReadandShare
    November 24, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Very helpful, thanks!

  11. fregada
    November 24, 2014 at 2:42 am

    uhhh. #INGRESS

  12. Guy Déridet
    November 24, 2014 at 2:05 am

    The best flight app is... Google Flight !
    The most important thing about flight reservation is scheduling. With G Flight it's possible to get the best price for a specific schedule and, instantly, the different rates according to different schedules. On several months if you want.
    While using G flight you deal with Google, not with companies ! Which avoid some manipulations currently used by them. For example detecting your IP and increasing the price when you come back. When you've finished your reservation you get a reference from Google and you can then deal with the company, according to this Google ref.
    Last but not least, G Flight is blazing fast ! Which is not the case of most of competitors.

  13. Alan
    November 23, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    I replaced TripIt with WorldMate and Kayak. WorldMate pushes flight status notifications, and it can fill in my seat information for connecting flights on partner airlines where you can't select a seat at the time of booking. I'll know what seat they've assigned me way ahead of time (and can call to change it if needed).

    Kayak's travel planner is my least favorite of the three, but I still send trip plans to Kayak because they have updated me on gate assignments and gate changes even before the airport has.

    I have also used Flightboard from time to time when in an airport with arrival/departure screens that were few and far between. The Kayak and Flightboard gate information is very helpful for connecting flights when you have a longer layover and gate information is released closer to departure time.

    Finally, if you are a business traveler that needs to manage expenses, I'd suggest looking into Expensify. It's a very nice way to track and report expenses.

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