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App Happy: A Guide to the Best Travel and Holiday Apps

Posted on puts you in the driving seat when it comes to saving money on train tickets – but did you know you can  add us to your list of indispensable travel apps? To celebrate this, we’ve put together a list of our favourite travel and holiday helpers…

Cool Places

On the ground and up to date are the key concepts for the Cool Places team – no location makes it past the app’s digital gatekeepers unless it’s being reviewed brilliantly by genuine local authors. Martin Dunford, who co-founded the Rough Guides series, helms the operation and the results are spectacular. Cool Places covers snoozing, boozing, great eats and shopping sprees for the whole of the UK.

Google Goggles

Google’s spooky attempt to create AI in your mobile phone goes to the next level with Goggles – a frankly brilliant little app that works like a combination tour guide, translator and all-round travel know-it-all. Simply point your phone at something, take a snap and activate Goggles, which will tell you what it is, where it is and even what it means. Goggles can translate text in photos from eight languages (including English, French and Turkish). No more nasty surprises on the restaurant menu, then…

Trip Journal

Trip Journal comes with a vote of confidence – it won the Android Development Challenge, and it’s just been improved by the brainboxes who built it. GPS tracks your journey, you slot photos and videos into an interactive travelogue, and friends and family get to see what you’ve been up to at the click of a link. Love it.


If you’re into your food travel, you’ll be into Foodspotting. No negative reviews allowed, no restaurant reviews welcome: Foodspotting is about highlighting specific dishes that rock, and letting the hungry traveler know where to find them. You’ll never be lost in an unfamiliar city with a hankering for an English breakfast again. And when you want to know where to get the best examples of local cuisine, you just swipe and tap to get the info. You can even bookmark stuff you’ve discovered to try before you leave town. Yumsk!

Lonely Planet Phrasebooks

The world standard for shoestring travel gets a digital makeover with phrasebooks and full guide apps. Lonely Planet phrasebook apps have audio functions, so you can hear how the phrases are supposed to be pronounced – ideal when you’re not sure whether you’re asking for a hamster or a ham sandwich. Book your train tickets early to get the cheapest deals, sling your digital phrasebook in your rucksack, and you’re ready to rock.

Google Translate

Interactive, wide ranging and almost as spooky as Goggles, Translate gives you access to over 70 languages. You can translate verbally, by typing, or even in photographs; look up dictionary definitions of words that puzzle you; and save your most valuable translations for later use. You can even download offline language packets to translate without connection to a network – perfect for keeping those roaming charges to a minimum. Pinunjul! (That’s “outstanding” in Javanese…)

So there you have it – the best apps for adventurous rail users! Don’t forget, you can download our app to help you make bookings on the go. For cheap train tickets and hot-off-the-press travel advice, you know who to call!

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