I know, something I should have written whilst in England, right? But hey, better late than never they say 😊
There are so many apps nowadays and it can get overwhelming, time-consuming, and even expensive, to weed through them. The eight years of living and exploring England have gotten me attached to a few of them and on this post, I want to share them with you.
To make the categories a bit easier to navigate, I’ll divide this post into three:
- Apps to use for general travel besides being awesome to use in the UK
- Apps specific to the UK
- Apps handy in London
- Google Maps. I save favourite places, places I want to go, get direction, look up public transport options, look up reviews, etc using this app. Google Maps works best with data but you can also download maps before your visit to use offline. Later down the road, I shall write a specific post on how I use this app. iOS and Android.
- Waze. Now owned by Google, Waze does a nifty job of sharing traffic info in a fairly congested area. What I mean is, awesome on highways, but unless another Wazer is in front of you and updating the app with traffic info, you’re not going to know if a particular tiny road in the middle of nowhere has traffic issues due to sheep not wanting to move out of the way.Let’s ignore the “millenial” part of this video and don’t text and drive. Besides those bits, the video has some useful info.
- ViaMichelin. When you are road tripping, this app helps estimate time, distance, and cost (petrol and toll). iOS and Android.
- XE. A currency conversion.
- Skyscanner. How I find the awesome deals on flight, can rental and sometimes lodging.
- Booking.com. Where I can find great deals on lodging. From hotel rooms to apartments.
- Airbnb. My other go to when finding lodging. Often we book a whole place but sometimes, if the reviews are great, we would rent a room. My advice is to only book places that have great reviews unless you are the kind who doesn’t mind taking a bit o risk.
- Google Translate. You can use your camera to auto-translate a label or menu, or, copy and paste from a website. It does require data to use but, you do have the option to download the language pack for that country so that you can use the app offline. iOS and Android.
- Duolingo: A language learning app. I always make an effort to at least learn how to be polite, numbers, colours and how to get to the toilet… or, and to ask for more toilet paper. Important stuff 🙈
- TripIt. Cause you need an app to keep track of all your bookings automatically. What this app does is scans your email inbox. When it detects a booking, it’ll import it. I love having to just open up TripIt and see all my flight, hotel, etc bookings instead of rummaging through my 5000 unread and read emails. I know, I am THAT person.
- TripAdvisor. Find restaurants/cafes near you and check out the reviews before you dine or lodge. iOS and Android.
- Sygic Travel. This is where I plan and map out which places to visit or which route to take. When I create a trip, Sygic will recommend the top sites with a bit of blurb. I can easily add and remove sites and the neat part, in my opinion, is how long it would take to walk from one place to the other. With kids, this is important.
- Google Trips. TripIt and Sygic got married and the result was Google Trips. The nice thing about Google Trips is that it includes the reviews of the many places it recommends. To be honest I am still a newbie with this app and I am still a big fan of Sygic and TripIt. But if you haven’t heavily invested, time and money (I bought the Pro version for Sygic when it went on sale on day), this one app can do what TripIt and Sygic do.
- Parkopedia. Help you find parking. Too bad it doesn’t help you pay also.
- RingGo. If you’re planning on driving around the island, this app can help you find parking and also pay for it. Many car parks use RingGo as their mobile pay system. Here is a tip though: Never driver around England without at least £5 of change. Unless you are in a not touristy village/town, the chance of finding free parking can be slim.
- AppyParking. Is another parking app and quite comprehensive too. The only downside is that it only works in London and two handfuls of other major cities (Norwich and Cambridge being two of them, so it was useful for me).
- National Trust. It shows details on parking, opening times, fees etc of gardens and estates managed by National Trust. If you will be in England for 7-14 days, why not get a touring pass and visit around 300 gardens and estates whilst in England. Some favourites are Beatrix Potter’s and Isaac Newton’s home, Corfe Castle, Lacock and many many more. We made our membership worth it 😊
- English Heritage. Similar to National Trust, just different properties with fewer gardens and estates. Castles, forts, prehistoric sites and more are what EH manages. They also have a 9 or 16 days visitor’s pass and you can visit Dover Castle, Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall, and many more.
- Citymapper. London has one of the best public transport systems and this app can help you navigate this beautiful large city with ease. No matter the tube, bus, cycle or walk, Citymapper can help. PS, I know this app can be used in different cities but I decided to place it here so that it won’t be buried under the general apps since it is my #1 in London.
- BusTime. I love riding the bus when the distance between my locations are not far. Often the bus is quicker than the tube (especially of the tube stop is a distance away). Often though one can’t be sure when the bus will arrive. No worries though, this app can help!
- Drinki. Get a free drink in London! Yup! You’re welcome!!
- VisitLondon. And yes, you cannot visit one of my favourite city without their official app!
This is it. I’ll keep this post updated when I can and add/edit when needed. There is always a new app, or a current one that gets discontinued. Is there a must have that I missed? Comment below!