9 amazing holiday apps you need to live like a local

By Lou Boyd 19 June 2017

Going away? Feel at home.

Are you looking forward to a lazy beach break, or a vigorous hiking holiday?

Whatever trip you’ve booked, no intrepid traveller wants to experience stress. 

That’s why this year, we think you should let your smartphone do the hard work for you – helping you to live like a local and make the most of your precious time away.

From bridging local language barriers, to recommending the tastiest restaurants, these nine amazing holiday apps have got your covered…

1) Esplorio Travel Journal

Travellers have been documenting their adventures for hundreds of years, firstly in physical photos and journals – and now through videos and film.

Esplorio allows you to create a digital travel diary, quietly recording your GPS position while you’re on holiday and gathering the photos you take while you’re away.

It doesn’t use any data or drain your battery, and once you return from holiday it creates a beautiful map, with the names of all the places you visited and your photos attached.

Download Esplorio, free.

2) Guide Pal

In a strange new city? Get a guide from someone you trust with Guide Pal.

This social media style app lets you ‘follow’ people and pages for tips from travel experts and bloggers – and friends and family alike.

What’s cool is that Guide Pal will only become more accurate and useful as more people use it.

Why not create a profile of your own, and record your travel tips for future explorers to benefit from? 

Download Guide Pal, free. 

3) Duolingo

Many holidaymakers set out to learn the language of their holiday destination before visiting it, but few manage to fit such a feat around work. 

Duolingo however, takes the long process of learning a language and breaks it into short, snappy lessons you can do on your commute or in your lunch hour.

With an addictive point scoring system around your accuracy and consistency, the app even makes the task seem like a game.

Time to give Candy Crush the boot.

Download Duolingo, free. 

4) Guides by Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet is probably the best known company on this list, but it remains an industry leader. 

It’s Guides app, launched last year, streamlines your favourite travel content from Lonely Planet writers, alongside personalised activity finders, currency converters, offline maps, phrasebooks, and more.

Never feel lost, even in the most remote corners of the world. 

Lonely Planet Guides, Free – with in-app purchases up to £5.99. 

5) VizEat

VizEat is a bit like AirBnb, but for food, letting you book ‘interesting dining experiences’ with locals across the world.

Hosts already span 110 countries helping to set up social dinners, cooking classes, or simply lunch and chat.

There are now over 22,000 hosts advertising on the app and many other users looking for a once in a lifetime night, every time they travel.

It’s never been easier to shun ‘tourist food’ in favour of local cuisine. 

Download VizEat, free – with additional costs for bookings. 

6) Tripit

Tripit is vital for folk who love a ‘trip within a trip within a trip’.

Send your various flight, experience, or excursion bookings to the app, and it will compile a master itinerary – with all your plans in one place. 

Never juggle cross-party booking apps – or lose important tickets and documents – again. 

Download Tripit, £38.99 yearly subscription.

7) Wolfram Sun Exposure

This app is a must if you love the great outdoors – be that walking, surfing, or lazy sunbathing.

Despite warning signals like sunburn, we often expose ourselves to dangerous levels of UV without realising, especially in unfamiliar parts of the world.

To avoid this, you can use the Wolfram app to analyse your skin type, your current location, UV levels, time of day and year and forecast data, to tell you exactly how long you can spending outside. It even pinpoints what factor sun lotion you need.

Perfect to avoid pink sore patches. 

Download Wolfram Sun Exposure, £0.99

8) Backpackr

Going on holiday alone? While solo travelling can be invigorating, many of the best experiences are those we share with others. 

Backpackr is a social media app that allows you to connect with other people staying the area (with no insinuation of romantic interest implied!)

Just create a profile, join the ‘common rooms’ of travellers, and chat directly to other people on the same trip as you.

Share insights, meet up for days out, and raise a glass together at the end of a long day.

Download Backpackr, free. 

9) Cool Cousin

Traditional guides aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, especially if your taste tends to veer away from the mainstream. 

That’s why Cool Cousin wants to help you find someone like you, in another city, to give you their newest or niche recommendations. 

Are you a vegan hipster yogi in New York? Find a vegan hipster yogi in London and get the skinny on the hottest yoga studios and vegan cafes.

It’s always great to make friends in faraway places.

Download Cool Cousin, free.