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Helpful Apps to Have

Hello, my family and I are traveling to Europe from late Sept. to mid Oct. We are going to London, Paris, Florence, Venice, and Rome. My question is are there any good apps I should get that can help with our trip, such as apps for places to eat, travel apps for London’s tube, Rome & Paris Metro’s, or any other helpful apps to have. Thank you very much.

Posted by
2081 posts


I just got a new Note, so I'm testing the several apps.

So far what i got in terms of Android apps.

  • -XE converter for $$$
  • -Mapswithme - offline maps
  • - Google Maps - to see how it works if the other one doesn't
  • - units conversion - convert to convert units like clothes, liquids and such
  • - Kayak, Skyscanner flight apps
  • - for lodging

i didn't use any apps before for maps since didn't have a smart phone or e device, so i used the old standby - paper maps.

happy trails.

Posted by
1446 posts

I installed a "toy" app on my iPhone just before leaving, called Sky Guide (paid maybe $2.99 on iTunes). It shows the night sky, complete with constellations, with beautiful colours and graphics. I had tried another free app, but didn't like it nearly as much as this one. You can also take a photo of the sky that you are looking at, complete with the graphics.

Last week, I spent an hour after dinner sitting on a bench on the waterfront in Chania (Crete) gazing at the stars with my new toy. I've been taking it out almost every night now for a few minutes. It's very, very cool!

Posted by
168 posts

Sorry, it's an Android system, and thank you for the info on the other apps. I also have been looking into more apps and found the tripadvisor apps pretty good, good reviews at least, so started playing with them.

Posted by
20 posts

I used:

Exchange Rates (doesn't require internet access just to do the conversion, so as long as you've updated within the last day or two, the rate will be close enough to get the idea)
TripIt (for a quick non-paper reference to departure/arrival times, flight numbers, etc. Handles plane and hostel/hotel reservations great, had to manually add train and ferry trips)
World Clock (because I was bouncing between time zones and couldn't always remember which city was on which side)
GateGuru (if you're stuck at an airport for a while, it'll tell you what sorts of restaurants and stores are at what terminal)
ConvertPad (for metric conversions - I found this particular app to be more trouble than it's worth, but it was useful on principle)
Translate (really only good for a word or two, but if you need to know the difference between ausgang and eingang or something like that...)

Posted by
31570 posts

It is a shame it is android - in this case - because I have not been successful yet in finding a good converter app for my android tab. When I need to do a conversion I pull out the trusty iPhone upon which I installed Converter+ a couple of years ago. It is a fabulous converter for pretty much any conversion you can think of - including currency. Too bad its not on android. grrrrr.

Posted by
641 posts

MapsWithMe -- offline maps -- was a lifesaver for me, especially in Venice. I believe it is available for both iPhone and Android.

Posted by
1 posts

For my android phone for London, London Map and Guide app also the Tube Map app gives u up to date info on tube traffic and closers as well as the standard tube map. For Rome use MyRoma and Roma Bus all of these apps are free in the apps store

Posted by
79 posts

I have been singing the praises of the Tripadvisor "City Guide" apps. We were told of the app by guests in a hotel we were staying at in Seville this winter and downloaded it while at our hotel. Once it is downloaded it works off line so no data use. We especially liked it while on foot in various cities since it gives you great "point me there" directions. We have even used it in New York once we returned. You can locate attractions, restaurants, hotels etc.

Posted by
168 posts

Thank you to all, I will definitely look into those other apps.

Posted by
59 posts

Check out: Tripit app (FREE). It saves all of your travel details (flights, hotels, etc.) in one place. You can send it your confirmation emails and it will automatically log everything in a neat, organized fashion. It's pretty cool.

Posted by
993 posts

Good thread! :)

I downloaded Roma Bus... is this one that will tell you when the next bus is coming? We live in San Francisco and I am really used to using "Next Bus" to track where the buses and trains are... is that what Roma Bus does? Is there a similar app for Munich? There are so many when I search the app store... just wondering how I might find the "official" ones...


Posted by
110 posts

I would download the Rick Steves Audio Europe. I found it was nice to listen to the tour guide interviews and to have audio guides for sites for free!!
Also just down load the guides you need before going to a site and you wont use data.

Posted by
3 posts

There are many software and websites are available for the location. tripadviser is famous website for the getting location and destination ideas.

Posted by
1 posts

The best app for tracking rail times is DB Navigator (iphone and android). It covers almost all of Europe and gives time schedules and routes accurately. I always use it to navigate around and plan my next routes. If I remember correctly it will even give you some metro info too.

Posted by
5 posts

I preparing for a Europe trip with a group of friends. I compiled my favorite apps in a list of share with them.... thought I post a link to it here in case folks on this thread (and group) want to have a look.

Recommendations welcome :).
Travel App list

Posted by
1 posts

Check out Rome2Rio. It's a website,, and an iOS app. I used it and discovered a bus that would take us from Florence to Pisa for 5 Euros each (score!). It gives you a breakdown of the different ways (and prices for those ways) to get between any 2 points. More helpful stateside, if you won't have internet access while overseas.

Posted by
1994 posts

A compass app can be incredibly helpful when you're emerging from a subway I'm trying to orient.

Posted by
2 posts
  • Google Maps
  • I Nasoni di Roma (Rome fountains)
  • Yelp
  • TripIt
  • Trip Advisor
  • Passbook

A note on Google Maps. It has an offline/save feature on Android and iOS (iPhone & iPad) BUT although the data is supposed to be there for 30 days I found the app wants them refreshed about every 2-3 days. You will have to go online to refresh them. Ok if you have Wifi access but you have to remember to refresh it. I got screwed twice due to this. I found the free offline maps Ulmon apps very useful. There are both individual city apps and an all in one app. Apparently the all in one limits you to two free cities. The individual apps have no such limit.

Rome has these amazing spring fed fountains all over that provide cold, fresh, and clean water. The iOS app I Nasoni di Roma shows the locations of the fountains. Unfortunately there is no offline mode. Maybe another app does.

Yelp worked okay for reviews. But Yelp is mostly used by North Americans. European reviews are less and mostly by tourist (for better or worse).

Trip Advisor is very useful. A great resource with many reviews.

TripIt was useful. I used it to "load" our itineraries (simply forward confirmation emails from airline, AirBnB, VRBO, car rental, etc. to TripIt and they auto-magically assemble). Just prior to my trip they offered a free 30 day upgrade to Pro. It gave me flight delay alerts that were more accurate than the information at the gate or airline website. Also day before check-in alerts.

I made use of the native iOS Passbook for storing tickets and booking passes. I believe it already installed in iOS by default. Our airline had the option of loading boarding passes into Passbook. The boarding passes appear on the lock screen before the flight so they are easy to access at the multiple checkpoints. Only the needed boarding passes came up (the connecting flight boarding passes were only shown after arriving at the connecting airport but you can view all directly in the app). The airport scanners read the QR code directly off of my iphone. It worked at every checkpoint scanner and person -- no problem.

I ended up buying AT&T 800 MB international roaming data (ridiculously expensive but convenient) and didn't use it all in 3 weeks. I used a data monitoring app to make sure we didn't use too much each day (it can give daily alerts). I didn't use it for driving GPS and we turned off most apps from using cell data (especially Facebook auto-play videos). I used Wifi as possible and for large downloads (like the RS tours). It was enough for using Google maps, Yelp, websearches, Wikipedia, and email. I was able to turn-on tethering to allow a 2nd phone international data access without buying a 2nd data package. (The same trick can be used with an iPad.)

I used my iPhone's flashlight to examine the rental and it to take pictures of the rental prior to leaving the airport. This prevented problems with a existing small dent when returning.

I also used the iPad Photo app with an SD card to lightning adapter to import camera photos for Wifi Facebook posts. Read the reader reviews since there are limitations on which SD cards are supported. It worked on my 16 GB and less cards.

Have a great trip!


Posted by
2393 posts

I just installed TripIt on my android - LOVE it! It is so handy and keeps all of your info in one easy place.