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10 travel apps you’ll actually use

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-05-2017 Vishal Mathur

Want to know the safest places to visit, book a table at a Michelin- star restaurant or find accommodation that matches your criteria? These free-to-download apps will make travel smoother, safer, and perhaps less expensive too.

Finding a deal

When abroad, you might need to shop for loved ones. And deals aren’t always easy to find.

Matrix now also has a Companion app that lists the best shopping deals at more than 850 chains and stores globally as well as offers at 500,000 hotels and 10,000 restaurants.

Matrix app

Free

Android and iOS

Matrix Cellular is better known for its international roaming SIM cards. Matrix now also has a Companion app that lists the best shopping deals at more than 850 chains and stores globally as well as offers at 500,000 hotels and 10,000 restaurants. A unique feature allows you to process any value-added tax (VAT) returns that travellers are eligible for after shopping in countries such as the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan—provide the details on the app, and the Matrix team will help you.

Bookings

Finalizing the destination is just the beginning. Then begins the big task of figuring out flights, ticket prices, hotels and more.

Skyscanner helps you sort out details such as flights, hotels and car rentals for domestic and international travel.

Skyscanner

Free

Android, iOS, Web

Skyscanner helps you sort out details such as flights, hotels and car rentals for domestic and international travel. There are search filters—for example, while looking for flights, you can filter using stopovers, travel class and more. The new Holiday Planner feature highlights public-holiday dates and has pre-configured travel options as well.

Booking management

Do you prepare for every trip by sorting all documents, booking details and paperwork in a manila file folder?

The Trips app gathers travel information from your Gmail inbox and sorts air, train and bus tickets as well as hotel and car rental reservations.

Google trips

Free

Android and iOS

The Trips app gathers travel information from your Gmail inbox and sorts air, train and bus tickets as well as hotel and car rental reservations. You can manually feed in additional details, which Trips might have missed during the automatic addition. Trips will also suggest places worth visiting, a possible itinerary and essential travel information such as hospitals, pharmacies and currency exchanges.

Exploring the city

There was a time when travel guide books were very popular with travellers who were serious about exploring a city to the fullest.

The Lonely Planet city-specific guides are now available for 119 cities.

Guides by Lonely Planet

Free

Android and iOS

The Lonely Planet city-specific guides are now available for 119 cities, including Rome, Venice, Florence, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Marseille, Ho Chi Minh City, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco. There are curated guides, recommendations based on budgets, and comprehensive listings of the places you must visit. You can download offline maps on your phone.

Tripadvisor app will let you discover attractions to visit, where to eat and fun things to do around your location

Tripadvisor

Free

Android, iOS, Web

This truly global app will let you discover attractions to visit, where to eat and fun things to do around your location. You can reserve tables at restaurants too. The TripAdvisor platform is known for user reviews that should also give you an idea about the place or restaurant you’re planning to visit.

Discover new eating hot spots

Your friends may have their own recommendations, but you may perhaps be in the mood to try fine dining.

Happycow app is an app for vegetarians and those on vegan diets.

Happycow

Free

Android and iOS

This is an app for vegetarians and those on vegan diets. It lists popular restaurants and cafés that will serve your preferred food and cuisine choices in 10,500 cities across 180 countries. HappyCow also lets you search for stores that sell healthy food items, and has detailed guides on vegetarian diets.

Velocity is the app to have if you want to snap up one of the hard-to-get reservations at a Michelin-star restaurant or a hot new fine-dining spot.

Velocity

Free

Android and iOS

This is the app to have if you want to snap up one of the hard-to-get reservations at a Michelin-star restaurant or a hot new fine-dining spot. Restaurants are divided into categories such as hidden gems, breakfast and brunch options, and date-night suggestions. It’s currently available in the tourism hot spots of London, Los Angeles, New York and Miami, and you can book a table up to a week in advance.

Lodging

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” The best way to feel part of the city may be to live in an apartment rather than a hotel.

Airbnb has more than 2.5 million registered homes across 191 countries

Airbnb

Free

Android, iOS, Apple Watch and Web

Airbnb has more than 2.5 million registered homes across 191 countries. You can refine your search depending on the number of rooms, amenities such as Wi-Fi, whether the places are child- or pet-friendly and even whether the host can speak English. This is cost effective compared to a hotel, particularly if you are on a long vacation.

Beating jetlag

The changing time zones can sometimes throw your sleep cycle out of sync completely.

Binaural app uses repetitive sounds to relax your mind

Binaural

Free (Rs250 for the full version)

iOS, Apple Watch and MacOS

It is important to get the jetlag-induced sleep cycle back in sync as quickly as possible. Binaural uses repetitive sounds to relax your mind. All you need to do is plug in the earphones, select a colour choice for your mood and close your eyes. There is the optional rain element too, to block out any ambient noise.

Staying safe

We live in tumultuous times, and you could be unlucky enough to get caught up in unrest.

The GeoSure app provides a safety score for places based on data from agencies such as Interpol, the UN, the World Health Organization, the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and human rights organizations

Geosure

Free

Android and iOS

The GeoSure app provides a safety score for places based on data from agencies such as Interpol, the UN, the World Health Organization, the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and human rights organizations. This score is based on threats such as protests and political stability, environmental threats, local crimes and potential health risks. There is crowd-sourced information about thefts and assaults too. It’s doubtful, for instance, that you would pick Caracas in Venezuela (where drug gangs and street crimes are common) for a family vacation over Switzerland if you have the relevant data on your fingertips.

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