Don’t leave home without them: 10 intrepid travel apps

No modern traveller would be without their Uber, Airbnb and TripAdvisor apps, but here are a few lesser-known gems that you’ll want to keep handy the next time you’re globe-trotting.

 
All are iOS and Android and free!

1. PackPoint

Who doesn’t struggle packing for an overseas trip? Do you really need four Ralph Lauren polos and three pairs of sneakers? Welcome to PackPoint, an app that builds a customised packing list based on your destination, travel dates and likely activities. Consign panicked over-packing to history and never leave home without your essentials.

2. Google Translate

It translates 103 languages (90 of which you’ll probably never need), but even more handy is the “snap” feature (currently available for only 38 languages): point your camera at a menu in Lisbon or a box of tablets you think might be Panadol in Hanoi and, voilà, instant translation.

3. SeatGuru

What’s not to love about an app that gives encyclopaedic-level advice on the best seat choices on some 130 airlines, from Ireland’s Aer Lingus to Canada’s WestJet. Follow a simple colour-coded floorplan to choose the prime seat on a flight judged by legroom, proximity to the galley, or the bulkhead. There are plenty of reviews from frequent flyers, too.

4. CityMapper

This award-winning app helps users negotiate public transport in some 40 cities worldwide, finding the best route, giving step-by-step directions (including an alarm when it’s your stop), and providing real-time departures in US cities such as New York and Chicago.

5. SitOrSquat

Anyone who’s ever tried to find a toilet at short notice in a foreign city will not leave home without this “loo-locating” app (about 100,000 public restrooms are included). It’s hard not to love the rating nomenclature: toilets get a “sit” if they’re clean, a “squat” if they’re not. Users can add information, too.

6. TripIt

This clever little app combines all your travel plans (everything from confirmation emails from a travel agent to rental car bookings) into one easy-to-access digital itinerary. You can edit your plans, receive real-time alerts and sync details with your calendar.

7. Localeur

If sipping a dirty chai with dreadlocked hipsters in downtown Portland is your idea of heaven, this app might be indispensable. It uses a “community of tastemakers” to help you #experience local (that is, find the best bars, boutique hotels and chic shops) in cities as diverse as Dallas and Cape Town.