The 9 best (free!) apps to make your travel less stressful

1. FlightAware: Keep an eye on your flight

Best apps for travel: Flightaware

Some airlines are particularly successful in reporting changes to flights via their own app. Others are less good at it. Also, having to install an individual app for each airline can be quite annoying. The solution comes in the form of FlightAware. If you have a delay, enter your flight number in Flight Tracker to see where the flight actually is. This way you know if the plane is really on its way to your airport and you can adjust your expectations accordingly. You will receive free updates on departure and arrival times, delays, cancellations and reroutes. Also nice for those staying at home to be able to follow you in the air!


2. XE Currency: No more main account

Best Apps for Travel: XE Currency Exchange

Get rid of difficult capital amounts! Don’t pay for one of the many currency conversion apps out there in the digital backwater – XE Currency’s app is smart, easy to use and – best of all, because it uses live exchange rates – completely accurate. It’s been downloaded over five million times to date, so don’t even think about hopping on a plane without it. The app also works offline!


3. Polarsteps: Map your journey

Best apps for travel: Polarsteps

Map your travel route with the Polarsteps app! All you have to do is activate the app. Put your smartphone in your pocket and the app maps your route based on satellite signals (and not via energy-guzzling GPS). As soon as you are connected to WiFi, you will see the route and the kilometers driven. You can add text and images yourself as needed – nice to keep the home front informed about your adventures. The result is a log that you can use to reminisce whenever you want.


4. Google Translate: translate everything and everyone

Best travel apps: Google Translate

Just as Google is good at everything, it is also good at translation. The Google Translate app is the most complete translation app on the market. And it doesn’t stop at entering a piece of text and getting it back in another language: you can also take a picture of a text and have it translated instantly (handy if you’re presented with a Chinese menu!) And you can even talk to the app, whereupon it translates your text for you. This has saved us many times in taxis where the driver did not speak a word of English – much to the amusement of the taxi driver and ourselves.


5. Vaulty: Protect your photos

Best apps for travel: Vaulty

Are you also one of those people who mainly take pictures with their phone when they travel? Logically, after all, you almost always have your mobile phone at hand, and a snapshot is easily taken. Still, taking pictures is not appreciated everywhere; in fact, it is not allowed everywhere. Can’t hold back and do you ever take a photo ‘around a corner’? Then Vaulty is the app for you: instantly save a photo in a separate folder unrecognizable to others and prevent fights with the local police.

This app is only available for Android. The similar Pic Safe exists for the iPhone

6. UVLens: Make sure you never burn again

Best apps for travel: UVLens

As long as the burnt lobster look isn’t all the rage, the UVLens app is essential if you plan to venture into sunny climes. The beautifully designed app performs a personal skin analysis and, based on today’s UV index, determines how long you can stay in the sun without sunscreen and sends you reminders when it is wise to reapply.


7. Timeshifter: never jet lag again

Best travel apps: Timeshifter

There are plenty of theories about the best ways to combat jet lag, few of which are backed by serious scientific backing. Even so, it is generally agreed that it is beneficial to gradually change your sleeping habits before a trip. The smart app Timeshifter helps you with that. Enter your travel dates, destination and usual sleep times and you’ll get personalized alarm clocks to soften the blow when you wake up on a Tuesday afternoon thinking it’s still Monday morning. Unfortunately, the app can only be used for free once, but that might be enough for that one long flight…


8. iOverlander: essential for wild campers

Best travel apps: iOverlander

Thousands of well-described campsites and wild campsites, road conditions and other tips for road trippers can be found in the incredibly easy-to-use iOverlander app. iOverlander’s mission is “to better enable the exploration of the world by land while respecting local cultures, people and environments.” iOverlander is an app for and by users. You can find, share and edit places yourself.


9. SAS Survival

Best travel apps: SAS survival guide

Get lost camping off the grid and it still goes wrong despite all your preparations? Maybe SAS Survival Tips – named after the British high-class Special Air Service – will save you from the mess. Based on the bestselling book by former SAS soldier and instructor John “Lofty” Wiseman, this free app gives you a simple guide to wilderness survival. With this entry-level guide in your arsenal, you’ll be packed with basic survival tools and equipped for any outdoor expedition. It brings you the elite training techniques of Britain’s toughest fighting force in the most accessible version ever. Now you can take SAS’s world-class survival skills with you anywhere in the world – from the peaks of Kilimanjaro to the deserts of Kandahar … or to your nearest national park.


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