When you’re travelling on your gap year there are so many useful apps to make your trip run more smoothly. Here we’ve rounded up 10 of the best travel apps, which we hope will help you on your journey.

These gap year apps are available for iOS and Android users and are all free.

1. TripIt

When you head off on your gap year you will quickly amass a lot of documentation for your travels. TripIt is a clever gap year app that organises all of your itinerary details in one place, making it easy to access them at any time.

Once you’ve created a free account you then forward all of your confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com and TripIt will instantly create a master itinerary for you. It also has a host of handy extras, and can send you reminders of when to leave for the airport, or help you find a decent place to eat near your hostel.

2. Citymapper

Citymapper’s tagline is “Making Cities Usable”, and that’s exactly what this nifty app does. It works in more than 100 cities around the world, including every major city in Europe, and shows you how to easily get to your desired destination. It’s the perfect gap year technology.

The app will give you options for walking as well as using public transport. It also shows all the local private transportation options, such as scooters, e-bikes and mopeds.

As well as showing you a map it can also provide audio directions, so you can listen on your headphones as you walk, cycle or use public transport. It can even tell you when the next bus is coming.

3. Google Translate

Fancy having your own personal translator? Google Translate will help you have a conversation wherever you are in the world, in any language.

It can translate 108 languages by typing, which is helpful if you want to ask a question. If you point your camera at text in images – such as a menu or sign – it will instantly translate it for you. It can even translate bilingual conversations as you talk, using 71 languages.

You can save translated words and phrases to use again in the future, and it also has an offline mode, allowing you to translate even if you don’t have an internet connection. Travel technology is amazing!

4. Duolingo

If you want to actually learn the local language, Duolingo is a travel app that will help you master it using bite-sized lessons. It’s designed to be fun and easy, using game-like features, fun challenges, and reminders from Duolingo’s mascot, Duo the owl.

Lessons are quick to complete, so you can easily slot them in and try out your new language skills as you travel.

5. XE Currency

There’s a good reason why this is one of the most popular travel apps, having been downloaded more than 70 millions times. It’s the perfect solution when you’re travelling and need to work out if that must-have item at the local market really is a bargain, or when you can’t remember what an Australian Dollar is worth. Just whip out your phone and the app will instantly do a currency conversion for you.

You can also create your own currency list and monitor up to 10 currencies of your choice. The app includes historical charts of currency conversions and you can transfer money in 65 currencies to more than 170 countries.

6. Hostelworld

The Hostelworld is a gem among gap year apps, allowing you to search 36,000 properties in more than 170 countries, so you can easily secure your next stay. It’s easy to browse hotels and simple to book, and you can check out maps, photos and reviews.

There’s also the option to look at last-minute availability, which will be helpful if your plans change. It’s always sensible to have your first few nights’ accommodation booked before arriving in a new destination, and this app will make securing a bed a breeze.

7. Skyscanner

Skyscanner makes its way onto most gap year travellers’ devices as it’s so incredibly helpful. The clever travel technology allows you to find the best value flights by comparing hundreds of options, and you can set up a price alert to find out when prices change.

You can also find deals on hotels, apartments and hostels around the world, including last-minute deals. If you need wheels, the app allows you to find the best car hire deal. It even helps you check you’re not paying too much for fuel. Reviews from other travellers are also available.

It’s a really useful tool, and there are no booking fees or hidden charges when booking any product.

8. Packpoint

If you’re always worried you’ll leave out something crucial when packing, then Packpoint has you covered. It shows you what you need to bring based on the length of your trip, where you are going, what you are doing and the weather. It makes packing for your gap year much less stressful as it tailors your list to your exact trip.

You can easily share your packing list if you are travelling with a friend. Plus, Packpoint can connect to TripIt (mentioned above), to automatically create your packing lists. Gap year technology at its finest!

9. TheFork

TheFork allows you to find and book restaurants in Europe, Latin America and Australia. You can search for a dining spot by area, cuisine or restaurant type, or even sort by average price. You can then check out ratings and reviews from fellow diners. Whether you want fine dining, a quick and cheap bite to eat or a hidden local gem, TheFork will help you find it.

You can make a reservation through the travel app, and it often includes discounts of up to 50%, which are applied when you pay in the restaurant. Owned by TripAdvisor, the brand acquired Bookatable in 2021.

10. Flush Toilet Finder

When nature calls and you need to find a public toilet pronto, Flush will flag up the nearest loo. It lists 200,000 public toilets around the world, and you can easily see which WCs have disabled access, charge a fee or require a key.

The app will give you directions on how to find the toilet, ensuring you aren’t caught short when travelling, and you can rate it after use.

When you start planning your dream gap year, we’re guessing that getting sick, being scammed or having your wallet stolen aren’t what you had in mind? The chances are you’re planning a fantastic gap year brimming with amazing experiences. And with a few careful gap year safety considerations, you can make sure you have a fun-filled and safe trip.

Most gap years are hassle and trouble-free, especially if you are prepared. We’ve rounded up our top suggestions to help you stay safe on your gap year:

Gap year safety: what to do before you travel

Having the right information and equipment will go a long way to keeping you safe. Here are our suggestions for what to do before you travel:

● Prepare your itinerary in advance and leave a copy with your family.
● While no tourist board can guarantee you will have a safe trip, some destinations are generally considered safer than others. The Government’s Foreign Travel Advice shares information about travel warnings, entry requirements and safety and security.
● Always have at least your first night’s accommodation booked for each of your first few destinations. Make a note of the hotel or hostel’s contact details, in case you’re delayed and need to reschedule.
● If possible, aim to arrive in a new location during the day, so you can find your way around in daylight.
● Get the relevant gap year insurance before you travel. We’ve shared our top tips in our guide to gap year insurance.
● For a safe gap year, add key phone numbers to your phone. These should include the emergency services’ number for each of your destinations. You should also have your insurance providers’ contact details saved, alongside your policy number.
● As well as saving them in your phone, write down these important phone numbers and keep them hidden in your bag. If you can’t remember them, also write your family’s phone numbers. We’d also advise emailing all of this information to yourself.
● Photograph or scan your passport in colour and email it to yourself so you have a copy if needed.
● Buy an emergency travel first aid kit and make sure it stays in your bag.
● Research the local cultures and customs of the destinations you are visiting. Find out if there are any clothes that could cause offence, and make sure you have appropriate things to wear before you arrive. In some destinations you may not be allowed to photograph certain things or people.
● If you are a LGBTIQ+ traveller, research social attitudes and laws in destinations you plan to visit, as rights that may affect you will vary by country.
● Make sure you have your visas and vaccinations sorted. We’ve included these in our list of gap year essentials that people often forget about.
● Don’t pack anything valuable. You will need your phone and wallet, but leave expensive and sentimental jewellery, clothes and items at home.

How to stay safe on your gap year

When you’re abroad it can be tempting to slip into a holiday mindset and become lax with your personal safety. But it’s important to take the same precautions that you would at home.

Here are some of our top tips to keep yourself safe while you are travelling:

● Familiarise yourself with a destination when you arrive and be aware of where to get help. If you get lost, try to ask for help in a well-lit place, like a shop.
● Avoid walking on your own in the dark.
● If you are travelling on your own, then let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
● Always book safe transportation and never hitch-hike.
● Don’t carry around huge sums of cash or valuables.
● Avoid getting drunk or taking drugs as your judgement will be impaired. Just as in the UK, your drink could be spiked while abroad, so keep it with you at all times.
● As you travel you’re likely to book transport, excursions and tours with local providers. Choose carefully, as you want a reputable and safe supplier, rather than the cheapest and pushiest.
● Check if the tap water is safe to drink.

How to keep your belongings safe on a gap year

While you may end up losing a few items along the way, you don’t want anything to be stolen. Safe gap years are possible if you take a few simple steps to keep your belongings protected.

Think about how you can keep your wallet, passport and phone close to your body and hidden – you don’t want any of them sticking out of your back pocket. Look for bags that you wear across your body, or a bum bag or money belt that you can hide under your clothes.

There are also lots of thief-proof bags, bag locks and anti-theft devices you can buy, which can provide gap year safety peace-of-mind. You can also wear a lightweight rucksack on your front. Try to avoid a single strap bag that you wear over one shoulder, as someone could snatch it.

It’s also sensible to avoid keeping everything in one place, in case you are pick-pocketed. For example, you could keep your bank card in a money belt and a small amount of cash in your bag. Some travellers opt to carry a fake wallet containing a few banknotes and coins. If they were mugged they would hand this over, rather than their real one.

Most thefts are opportunistic, so avoid looking like a target. Avoid showing large wads of cash when you get your money out, and don’t walk around with your phone in your hand.

Keeping in touch with your family

No matter how well-prepared you are for your gap year, your parents and family will still worry about you. It’s important to keep them informed of where you are, even if you’re on the other side of the globe.

Remember to stay in touch, whether that’s by email, text or calling, and let them know when you move to a new area.

Look at roaming charges for your phone before you travel. For some destinations it may be cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go phone abroad, especially if you plan to stay there for a while.

There’s a lot to think about before you set off on your gap year, but with some careful planning you can have a fun and safe trip. We love helping people plan their dream gap year, so you have any questions please get in touch.