The Best Apps for Exploring New Places

The Best Apps for Exploring New Places

Whether you’re off on a backpacking adventure, or just booking your next European city break, exploring somewhere new always requires a bit of forward planning. From finding accommodation within your budget, to choosing where to eat – there’s a lot to consider, but thankfully there’s a whole host of convenient apps to make organising your trip a little easier.

We’ve put together our top picks for the best free travel apps below, all available for download on both iOS and Android smartphones.

FourSquare City Guide

Cost: Free

Trying the local cuisine is a highlight of any trip, and Foursquare is a great way to find the best cafés, restaurants and bistros nearby. You can check the reviews of local eateries, get recommendations from other users, and even make reservations directly within the app, thanks to a collaboration with OpenTable.


Plus, Foursquare can help you track down the best evening activities in the area, so you can enjoy those hidden gems that are lesser known to tourists, as well as the more popular bars and clubs. Download the free app, enter your location in the search bar and choose Nightlife to get started.

Google Translate

Cost: Free

If you’re headed to a country that doesn’t speak your native language, a translation app like Google Translate can make all your interactions more straightforward. Translate your own text into over 100 different languages or point your smartphone’s camera at a chunk of text, and snap for an instant translation, so you can peruse the menu without asking for help.


There’s even an instant two-way speech translation function, allowing you to freely converse with someone in another language, be it asking for directions, transport advice or dinner recommendations.


Cost: Free

Ideal for backpackers, Hostelworld is a convenient app where you can find a range of hostels for all budgets, in every corner of the globe. Simply type in a destination, the dates you’re planning to stay and the number of guests, then scroll through the accommodation options in that area. If you change your filters, this app will show you the hotels and bed and breakfasts available too, in case you’re looking for something a little more luxurious.


Bookings tend to be flexible, so you can often cancel for free at the last minute if you have a spontaneous change of plans. You can share trips with your fellow travelers, create a wishlist where you can save hostels you’d like to visit, and benefit from exclusive Hostelworld discounts too.


Cost: Free, with optional in-app purchases.

Perfect for navigating a new city, CityMapper is a free app that offers detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions whether you’re in the UK, Europe, or somewhere further afield. Just put the start and end points of your journey into the app, and CityMapper will provide you with a complete breakdown of your journey, including the duration and cost.


You can compare different modes of transport too, so you won’t end up splashing out on a cab if you could get there easily on foot. Unlike many transport apps, CityMapper is fully functional offline – even without any additional downloads – so you can still check your route when you’re on the subway, or out of mobile data.

Lonely Planet Guides

Cost: Free, with optional in-app purchases.

With their detailed insight into local history and culture, Lonely Planet guidebooks are a great way to get to know a new city. Now with the Lonely Planet Guides app, you can browse all this information directly from your smartphone or tablet. Already own a few Lonely Planet books? No need to purchase them twice, just scan the barcode and get instant access to the virtual equivalent.


Brimming with information from travelling experts, Lonely Planet Guides can give you hot tips on the best times to see certain landmarks, teach you about cultural etiquette and much more – all without requiring a Wi-Fi connection or any mobile data.

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