Looking for holiday inspiration for 2018? These free smartphone apps mean you can carry insider travel tips for hundreds of destinations in your pocket
Smartphone app with Venice in the distance
Want an adventure and don’t care where? Luckytrip is the smarter version of showing up at the airport and buying the first flight you can afford. Just set a budget and let the app plan the perfect trip: it will figure out somewhere to go, a place to stay and something to do, with handpicked activities in more than 300 cities.
With trip.com users can request ‘foodie’, ‘active’ or ‘luxury’ trips. Photograph: Gustav Willeit
Formerly known as Gogobot, Trip.com is a travel research app for exploring things to do and places to stay – including special events – in more than 60,000 destinations, with traveller reviews as a further guide. By allowing users to describe their travel preferences and personality – such as “foodie” or “luxury” – it claims to be able to gear recommendations to personal travel tastes, saving hours of research time.
This widely praised travel app focuses on tips from people who know the destination best. It uses a “community of local tastemakers”, from artists to entrepreneurs, who share their tips for everything from clubs to coffee shops. It also has recommendations for boutique hotels, and suggested itineraries. The app has tips for cities around the world, but is particularly strong in the US, where it covers 50 major cities.
• Free, iOS and Android, localeur.com
Cool Cousin will connect you with a resident in your destination city
Another app that focuses on the trusted recommendations of locals is Cool Cousin, in use in 16 cities worldwide. As well as connectingusers with a city resident, and providing a map and guidebook based on their tips, it has a facility for messaging the local directly for personalised advice.
For some rewarding armchair travelling, and a break from all the yoga poses and shots of coffee from above on Instagram, 500px is worth a look. The app is geared towards serious photographers, and with a community of more than 11 million it’s easy to get lost in the sea of stunning imagery. As well as being a showcase for stunning images from around the world, it allows users to share their own travel snaps and get feedback and reactions to help improve their photography skills.
• Free, iOS and Android, 500px.com
National Trust/English Heritage Days Out
From Accra to Tokyo, the brand synonymous with city breaks around the world makes it easy to explore virtually, with lists of the best places to eat, drink and shop, and events to discover. It is as much a tool for inspiring a trip as it is for helping you get the most out of it once you arrive.
Available in more than 350 destinations worldwide, Musement is another city guide app that picks out interesting local experiences. What Musement is particularly strong for is its ticketing element, which makes it easy to book events and attractions, as well as priority tickets, through Apple Pay.
Lonely Planet Trips
This community-focused app from Lonely Planet lets users explore travel experiences through the eyes of fellow travellers, and contribute their own media-rich stories, sharing video, photo and text from their trips. The app is a worthy alternative to Time Out, with tips for more than 150 cities.
Wander and Co
With a beautiful design that will sing to fans of indie travel mags such as Boat, Cereal and Sidetracked, Wander and Co is a photo journal app geared towards adventure travellers. Just like with Trips (above), users can tell their own story, tracking outdoor adventures with GPS and and adding stats like average pace and elevation. Journals of the app’s community of adventurers are a good source of ideas for future trips.