Must have iPhone apps for Travel in 2012

Smartphones and unprotected wifi/cheap data and local SIM cards make life so much easier when travelling. Here are the apps that I’m using the most.

NB: All screenshots are taken from the iphone store, not my own phone!

Accomodation: is a simple way of searching, checking ratings and booking hostel rooms direct from your iphone. This is a must have.


To put it simply, the couchsurfing website user interface sucks, the app fixes this and all key features are easy to find and use.  I’ve only used it to far as a host, but plan to use it more as I venture into europe. You can sign up to couchsurfing here.



Skyscanner is now my favorite airline aggregator, as it is faster and usually cheaper than expedia and other sites.  The app handles more airlines than any other I’ve seen including budget airlines and has a handy option of “anywhere” if you are travelling and don’t care where the next trip takes you.  A must have.


Tripit is great, combining all of your individual travel bookings into one, easy to use travel itinerary.

Currency Conversion:

XE Currency

Again, I use XE Currency all the time.  Its very handy that it has an offline mode using the last update for currency, meaning you can still use it without roaming data.


ASB Bank

I’ve banked with ASB since I was (literally) born, and found them to have the best online banking in NZ.  The app is secure and simple to use (requiring a netcode first time you use it to authorise the device) then password protected.  It works overseas without a problem, giving you instant access to your cash when you need it most.  This alone is reason to buy a local SIM card with data, especially when combined with the Air NZ Onesmart Card (if only they could get an app as well!) – the two combined allow me to carry much less cash on my self, and avoid touching my credit card in “dodgier” countries



Viber is a free communications app allowing you to call/text other viber users using your 3G or wirless data.  This is handy for getting around roaming or international text charges, as mobile data (with a local SIM) is cheaper than international SMS’s.  Note that both users need to have viber installed, it claims to be cross platform, but typically only iPhone users have it. Call quality can be a bit distorted/low quality depending on wifi signals.


WhatsApp is similar to Viber, except that it doesn’t do calls, but does allow more functionality with messages including pictures, group messages, video calls etc.  This tends to be more cross platform and more people I’m travelling with are currently using it.


We all know skype, make free calls and chat… even your parents use it.  Apparently the developers think its for dog videos and shoe photos.



Triposo is a free travel app that scrapes open source websites (such as wikitravel, dmoz, flickr, wikipedia etc) to put together an offline travel guide (history, accom options, sightseeing, maps etc) and easily replaces heavy travel guides in your luggage.  Simply find the city/country when you are near wifi, download and go. Probably one of my most used apps simply for the offline functionality.


Handy for reviews of places, sightseeing, accommodation etc.  A must have to separate the shit from the worthwhile, and to slag off hostels in Sarajevo who lose your clothing… ahem or to say thanks to the nice accom like the place I’m staying in now.

Google Translate

For avoiding dirty hungarian phrasebook situations, almost



Well its shit in iOS 5, I’d rather have the old Google Maps that actually works, but its native, and works,  in major cities.  Just don’t expect it to work in, well Bosnia for instance.  If you are stuck, there are always the offline maps in Triposo above.

Other apps I have, but use less often/don’t use at all

  • AirBNB
  • Grabaseat
  • Lufthanza
  • Easyjet
  • Eurostar
  • Expedia
  • Lonely Planet Guides
  • Kayak
  • Webjet
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