Summer is well on its way, which means so is the wonderful holiday season. If you're thinking about jetting off on holiday (or vacation if you're already on the other side of the Atlantic) or on a city break, there are many holiday-planning apps will make things much easier. Here are 10 iPhone, iPad and Android apps to help you find out what the best holiday destinations are, plan your trip and book hotels and flights.
Whether you need inspiration, are concerned about a particular hotel you're interested in or are looking for something to help you stay organised, there's an app here that'll suit you. Plus, some of them will also help you when you arrive at your holiday destination, providing maps, directions, attraction suggestions and dining ideas.
The Kayak app is a bit of an all-rounder when it comes to holiday planning. You'll be able to use it to find and book hotels, flights and cars, and also track flights and manage your trip agenda. There's also a price alerts feature that'll help you get the best deal on the holiday you're hoping to go on, as well as a packing list to ensure you don't forget anything.
It's got a really smart, intuitive interface too, so getting the information you need is quick and easy. For example, once you've chosen your city and holiday dates, Kayak's search engine will bring up a long list of available hotels, clearly showing a photo, the hotel's rating and the price it'll cost you for each hotel so you can skip right past the horrible or expensive ones.
One of the most popular apps to use while planning your holiday is TripAdvisor, the main benefit being the huge number of hotel reviews that have been written by holidaymakers themselves. You can make your decision about pretty much any hotel you're interested in based on the reviews left on TripAdvisor, which will tell you about everything from the food and the cleanliness of the rooms to the service and location.
Even if you don't book your hotel through TripAdvisor, it's well worth checking the reviews before you make your decision about where you want to stay.
Another great app for booking hotels is Booking.com, especially if you're looking to book it last minute or if you're one of those brave people who waits until they arrive to book somewhere. There's a feature that helps you find available hotels nearby, and it works in more than 64,000 destinations around the world. Plus, as well as showing available hotels, Booking.com also includes villas and apartments.
Like TripAdvisor, Booking.com features reviews of each hotel from people who've been there, and you can use the app to go through the entire booking process.
For booking both hotels and flights, Expedia is a good app. It's nicely designed (though sometimes there's a little too much information to take in at once) and it offers some exclusive deals that might be right up your (holiday) street.
As with TripAdvisor and Booking.com, Expedia has reviews from real customers, and lets you book everything straight from the app.
Another hotel discovery and booking app is Hotels.com, which has recently had a rather nice redesign. Just like TripAdvisor, Booking.com and Expedia, Hotels.com helps you find good hotels in the area you're planning to travel to, and has helpful filters to weed out the hotels that won't work for you.
There's also a map feature for nearby hotels, which you can book straight from the app.
Really, which of these four similar apps you use is down to your personal preference. They're all free, so it's worth giving them a try until you find the one you like best.
Apps from developer Triposo can help you plan your visit to pretty much any country in the world. You can't use this app to book hotels or flights, but you can use it to help you find out what's nearby to your chosen destination, so you can plan the activities you'll get up to while you're there.
For example, if you're planning to travel to Italy, you can download Triposo's Italy Travel Guide (it's free) to find out what there is to do in the city you're going to, such as Rome, Florence or Venice. You'll find maps with highlighted attractions, restaurants, bars, supermarkets and photo opportunities, as well as information such as directions, reviews and contact details for restaurants, museums and more.
Other handy features include a phrasebook and currency converter.
There's also a Triposo app that encompasses the entire world, so if you've not yet made up your mind about where you're heading, this might be a better option for you.
This one is just for flights, but it sure helps if you're trying to find the best deal. It's free to download, though you will spot some ads unless you're willing to cough up the £1.49 in-app purchase to remove them.
Using Skyscanner, you can search flights from hundreds of airlines around the world to find the cheapest and best ones. Definitely worth a check before you book your flight.
Rather than helping you book your holiday, Travel List is designed to help you prepare for it. You can use it to create packing lists that come complete with alerts, and you can also use it to create a schedule for the trip to help use your time wisely. It'll cost you £1.49 to download, and for what you get that does seem a little pricey, but it's well designed and could definitely be a boon for those who tend to be a little disorganised.
We were a tiny bit hesitant to include TravelZoo in our round-up because it doesn't always work out too well. It's a bit like Groupon, showing super-cheap deals that are available for a limited amount of time. There are local deals for dining out and visiting attractions, but there are also deals for holidays and hotels around the world.
We'd suggest using TravelZoo in conjunction with another app like TripAdvisor to check the reviews first, though. This is where things can go wrong with TravelZoo: not all of the deals are as good as they seem if the hotel is a horrible one.
This is a rather nice app for both planning your holiday and helping you out when you get there. You'd use it once you've already booked your accommodation and flights, as you can enter all of your trip details into TripCase to keep them all in one place and find out if anything has changed (if your flight has been delayed, for example).
In addition to hotel reservations, flights and other transport, you can also add details of trips you plan to make, attractions you've booked and restaurants you'd like to eat at. Sharing the itinerary with others who're coming on your trip with you, or even with those you're leaving behind at home, can come in useful to keep everyone in the loop.
Plus, there's a 10-day weather forecast including so you'll know what to pack and you can rearrange your plans to avoid the rain.