But, let’s be honest, also slightly stressful — there’s all the stuff you have to remember to take, route planning, finishing your last bits of work, stressing about whether you left the stove on at home, and if you have kids it’s 5 times worse!
Luckily we live in an age where there is an app for just about everything and these mostly free travel apps will make going on holiday a whole lot less stressful.
Take a deep breath, download a few of these travel apps and then get ready to have the most stress-free holiday of your life!
1. Packpoint – FREE
This genius travel app tells you what you should be packing based on the weather at your destination, length of stay and activities. You can also share the list with friends and family members who need help packing. Plus it saves your lists so you can use them next time you’re going away. If you only download one of these travel apps, make it this one!
2. Netcare Assist — FREE
You never know when you might need first aid skills — and if you’re on holiday you might not know what to do or where to get help.
We recommend the Netcare Assist App for using in South Africa. The app helps you call a doctor or ambulance and find the nearest Netcare hospital. It’s also got basic info about what to do in various emergency situations.
3. Waze — FREE
What’s worse than getting stuck in traffic on your way to your holiday destination (or even at your destination)? NOTHING, that’s what! Waze uses real-time user-generated data to make sure you take the best possible route to anywhere whenever you hit the road. Although it’s one of our favourite travel apps, it will also make life a lot easier (and less stressful) when you get back from your holiday and are trying to avoid traffic on the way to work.
4. TripAdvisor — FREE
It’s always difficult to choose where to eat out when you’re away from home. The TRipAdvisor apps gives you easy access to the best-rated restaurants in your area. The information is usually current, most South African restaurants are listed (even in the most remote areas) and you can check out what other people had to say about eateries near you before deciding where to go.
5. SoundCloud — FREE
A road trip without music is like a cupcake without icing — pointless and depressing. Make sure your tunes are top notch by downloading SoundCloud. The free app has loads of tracks for you to listen to, or you can subscribe for a monthly fee to access more songs and features.
6. Wiffinity — FREE
Save that data for when you really need it with a free Wi-Fi finder app. This app is particularly useful if you’re overseas and need to avoid data roaming costs, but it’s also great if you’re travelling in South Africa because who would say no to free data? (No one, that’s who!)
7. Wildlife identification apps
If you’re going on a bush break, then you might want to consider downloading a few wildlife identification apps before you go. Some of them come at a cost, but they’re intended to replace your regular bulky fieldguides.
8. Guides by Lonely Planet — FREE
Lonely Planet is the ultimate resource for detailed info about holiday destinations, and their app is no different. Get activity suggestions, maps, sightseeing info and travel tips all in one spot. It doesn’t cover every city in the world, but more are being added all the time.
9. Uber or Taxify — FREE
Whether you need a lift to the airport or need help getting around when you’re in a new city, ride network apps like Uber and Taxify are convenient and easy to use. Just make sure that these services are available where you’re going before you rely on them!
10. LiveTrekker — FREE
If you go on holiday and don’t take or share any photos, were you ever really on holiday? Aimed at hikers and walkers, LiveTrekker is an all-in-one journey tracking app that lets you see where you’ve been (including stats like altitude and distance covered) and record what you experienced along the way. It’s great for preserving memories and sharing them with loved ones when you get back.
11. Wolfram Sun Exposure
Make sure your family stays sun safe with this clever app that tells you how long you can spend in the sun (based on your skin tone, location and SPF you’ve applied) until you’re at risk of burning. It’s definitely worth the R15 or so it costs to download.
UVLens is a good option for Android users to download.
12. XE Currency — FREE
Keep up to date with currency fluctuations with this simple, live currency converter app. This travel app is a must for anyone planning an overseas trip. You can also set alerts to monitor exchange rates and notify you when they reach a certain limit
13. TripIt — FREE
Get ready to have the most well-organised holiday of your life with TripIt. Simply forward any emails related to your travel plans to the TripIt email address and the app will create an itinerary for your holiday. One of the best travel apps we’ve used, especially if your getaway involves going overseas and catching multiple flights or other modes of transport.
14. Google Translate — FREE
The Google Translate app can be a lifesaver when you’re in a foreign country and don’t speak the language. Not only can you use it for instant speech translation, but you can also take a picture with your camera and the app will translate it for you.
15. Kids game apps
We’re not going to recommend a specific app because the best apps to keep your kids entertained is very dependent on their age and interests. But trust us, if you’re going on a long journey with kids, having a few games you think they’ll like downloaded on a phone or tablet will be such an improvement on your regular journey.
Brought to you by Essentials magazine