As the saying goes, to travel is better than to arrive, it’s the journey that often matters more than the destination.
However, with a bit of planning plus a few apps, you can hope to return with great memories of a trip well travelled — and money well spent.
Toshl is a one-size-fits-all app that is everything from a financial planner to an expense tracker.
“Travelling abroad broadens your horizons, gets you out of your normal routine and into new experiences,” says the app’s developer. “While a small nuisance in comparison to the benefits, tracking your money flow can be much more difficult.”
Toshl simplifies this by handling any currency conversion, syncing across devices and letting you track travel spend of family members under the same account. Available on iOS and Android.
2. Travel Money — Group Expenses
For those travelling in a group or even with a friend, one of the hardest parts of the trip is keeping tabs on how much each person spent, who owes whom and how much. Sorting this out when you return from the vacation can be tough.
Marbot Apps’ Travel Money — Group Expenses for Android devices makes life easier with its comprehensive expense tracking, on-the-fly exchange rate conversion, online sharing and detailed reports. You can even see where the money was spent on a map. The results can be sorted by person or by category, or exported to Microsoft Excel as a CSV file.
Targeted mainly at business travellers, Expensify promises to generate expense reports “that don’t suck”. The standout feature is the intelligent SmartScan technology — you snap images of your receipts, the app analyses and smartly converts them into expense records, eliminating the need to manually type in the details.
You can extend this idea to record travel mileage by using the phone’s GPS and clicking a picture of the odometer.
Expensify automatically converts currencies and the reports can be emailed to the company or converted to a PDF.
4. XE Currency Converter
While currency converters are a dime a dozen, one of the most reliable is XE Currency. It’s offered on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and even for the few surviving BlackBerry users. The app converts more than 180 currencies, using up-to-the-minute exchange rates — the values are actually updated every 60 seconds. The most recent updates rates are stored locally, so the app can be used where there is no data connectivity.
XE Currency also displays more than 30,000 currency graphs for historical exchange rates, and charts high and low rates for different time frames. You can set your base currency to be always on top.
5. Hotel Tonight
Sometimes things can go wrong with a trip — flights can get cancelled, your stay might be extended, or you may have simply overslept and reached the airport too late.
Hotel Tonight, which believes “in a life less planned”, reduces the hit on your travel budget by tracking the best last-minute deals and prices on nearby hotel rooms. It displays a curated list and you can grab a room in just three taps and a swipe.
The iOS and Android app claims to be a “reinvention of hotel booking for the mobile era”.
Travelling on a tight budget? In the mood to save money and time on flights? Hopper, an iPhone app, claims to analyse billions of flight prices to highlight the best deals and optimal times to fly and buy. A colour-coded calendar keeps track of the best dates to book flights, while notifications alert you about price drops. Pick a local currency to see prices.
The app claims to save up to 40 per cent on flights, but it works best when your itinerary is flexible or you are planning a trip well ahead.
Frequent travellers can spend what feels like a lifetime at airports when waiting for their connecting flights. However, you can make the most of your time in the airport with LoungeBuddy.
The app keeps track of lounges you can use, their amenities and the special privileges available for your credit cards. You can view photos and read reviews by other travellers. It offers detailed information on more than 2,000 lounges at over 600 “of the busiest and most popular airports in the world”. It is available across both iOS and Android platforms.