10 free travel apps you need in 2015

written by Lottie Gross

updated 16.11.2020

From budgeting tools to great camera apps, these are the ten essential travel apps you need to download in 2015.


The one essential app you absolutely need when visiting a new city: CityMapper will save your life. Okay, so that’s a little dramatic, but if getting to grips with a new subway system, bus service or train network isn’t your idea of a fun challenge, you can let CityMapper do the hard work for you. Available in 14 cities across the world – from Tokyo to London to Washington DC – this comprehensive navigation app plans a route for you, and provides all the information you need to make a successful journey. Get journey times, distances, prices and more all with the click of a button, and if you’re feeling frivolous, select the catapult or teleporter options to see how your journey could look in the future.

Free on iOS and Android

Citymapper directions in London

Cost Split

One of the many trials and tribulations of travelling is budgeting, and it becomes especially complicated when you’re splitting the bill between two or more people. Cost Split is an ingenious app that lets you set up a budget for each trip, with the names of the people splitting the costs, so you can keep track of who spends what. Just keep adding each expense (along with who paid it and who it was for), and when you’re ready to settle your debts at the end of your trip, you can run a report which tells you who should pay what to whom. Buying rounds at the bar has never been simpler.

Free on iOS


Never lose your friends at home or abroad again. What3Words is an excellent, less-stalker-like version of a GPS tracking app, which allows you to pinpoint your friends and family to their specific location. The What3Words team have mapped out the entire world to 57 trillion squares, each 3 metres x 3 metres. Each square has been assigned a random three-word name (for example: Charing Cross tube station in London is mapped as wink.exam.twigs, or Nelson’s Column is life.swung.pounds), which you can send out to other users of the app so they can find exactly where you are.

Free on iOS and Android


A “plan less and live more” way of life is becoming even more accessible as technology and apps advance, and HotelTonight is getting on the bandwagon too. This app allows you to book hotels at short notice, any time from tonight to seven days in advance, and take advantage of the best deals on rooms. You can use it in over 500 destinations across the world to book one of their hand-picked hotels (in one of these three categories: Basic, Hip or Luxe). All it takes is just three taps and a swipe.

Free on iOS, Android and Windows


What do you do when you find a Rough Guides article you want to read online, but you’ve only got a limited amount of time on the terrible wifi in your hostel? You save it to your Pocket. No, we’re not being dim. Pocket is a hugely useful app that lets you save web articles and videos to your your device for offline reading at a later date – perfect for that long train journey or 12-hour flight. The best part is that it’s compatible across devices, meaning you can have the app on your phone, tablet and even desktop browser, and your saved articles will synchronise across all of them when connected to the internet.

Free on iOS and Android


Travelling in a new city makes it hard to be spontaneous. You’re not familiar with the neighbourhood, you don’t know all the cool venues and you’re unsure of where the locals go to hang out. Fortunately, Yplan has your back. Curated by a team of “entertainment experts”, this listings app lets you browse local events in New York, San Francisco and London, choose which one you’d like to attend – from live comedy nights to dinner deals – and pay for it all in a couple of clicks.

Free on iOS and Android


Time lapse videos are a stunning way to watch the world go by in fast-motion, but they don’t have to be only for those with GoPros and big cameras. Hyperlapse is a free iPhone camera app that crunches your videos into timelapses as you record. Made by Instagram, the app lets you choose which speed to process your video in, and makes it easily sharable through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For Android users missing out on the buzz, try Framelapse or Hyper TimeLapse, which provide similar services.

Free on iOS


How well-travelled are you? You might have been around the globe twice over, but what percentage of the world have you actually stepped foot on? Track your globetrotting progress with Been, the app that lets you select all the countries you’ve visited and will calculate what percentage of each continent, and the entire world, you have covered on your travels. If you think you’ve got bragging rights, share your result on social media with friends.

Free on iOS & Android

Been App, iPad


Taxi cab pickup apps have been one of the biggest developments in transportation technology in the last twelve months, allowing users to connect with individual professional drivers through a smartphone app. But now there’s a new breed of pickup app thanks to USA-based app Lyft and its new Lyft Line feature: a car-sharing service that matches travellers to others who are already heading the same way. It promises 60% cheaper fares (even when you don’t end up sharing), and a friendly fist-bump with your driver on arrival.

Free on iOS & Android


There are so many different rules of the road around the world, driving in a foreign country is bad enough without the added stress of trying to find a parking space. In 2015, rely on Parkopedia to find the space for your vehicle. With over 35 million parking spaces in 50 countries across the globe, you’ll never have to drive up and down the backstreets of London, New York or Paris again. Locate spaces near you using GPS services, see parking availability in real-time and check prices, payment methods and opening times – before you even get behind the wheel.

Free on iOS & Android

Top image © Maridav/Shutterstock

Lottie Gross

written by Lottie Gross

updated 16.11.2020

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