Favourite Travel Apps (Amsterdam/Santiago 2013)

Since I’ve been traveling in the Netherlands and in Chile the past few months, I thought I’d make a catalog of the iPhone apps I have found to be the most useful, especially for off-line usage. Many of these are available as Android apps too. There are not too many surprises here, but perhaps there will be one or two apps you do not know …

  • Citymaps2Go: for a flat fee you can get all the offline city maps you want, with synchronised bookmarks and WIkipedia articles integrated. Clunky redisplay, but otherwise good quality.
  • Triposo: flashy, free offline country or region guides with maps and pretty good suggestions for sightseeing.
  • Tripadvisor: indispensable guide for restaurants, hotels and more. Beware of uneven review quality. (“Great restaurant: big portions and cheap too” vs “I hated this because they didn’t serve me tap water”.) Downside: no offline reviews.
  • Tripadvisor city guides: yay! the offline version of Tripadvisor! Downside: only a few cities are available. (Luckily Amsterdam, Santiago and Buenos Aires are among them.)
  • airbnb: Great for off-beat travel accommodation. We got our Amsterdam and Santiago apts through airbnb as well several other places for our travels. You will find deals for either: (a) couch-surfing/room in someone’s home, and (b) entire home/apt.
  • booking.com: my favourite for regular hotel bookings. NB: TripAdvisor aggregates booking.com and other hotel booking sites, but I have found booking.com to be very reliable for the cheapest rates and reliable reviews
  • flightTrack: track flight status. What else?
  • Flightradar24: Oh, so cool. Watch those planes flying nearby. See where your daughter’s flight is now. Point to a plane in the sky and find out what flight it is.
  • skyscanner: my favourite flight purchase aggregator. You can just specify a source and target country; you don’t need to pick the airport.
  • TomTom: outstanding navigation apps for most of the world, but oh, so expensive.
  • Skobbler GPS Navigation2, ForeverMap2: the poor man’s TomTom, based on OpenStreetMaps. Very impressive! Used it in Chile and only missed TomTom a couple of times. The Navi app is cheap, but then you have to pay for each country or region download. But the price for all the maps of the world is a small fraction of a single TomTom app — a no-brainer! The ForeverMap2 gives you all the world’s maps for free but no navigation. Tip: if you buy the Navi app, you don’t need ForeverMap2. If you don’t need navigation, just buy ForeverMap2.
  • Accio: really good offline translation dictionaries and phrasebooks for English/French/Italian/German/Spanish (and probably more).

TripIt, Kayak, Yelp and Qype did not really cut it.