10 best iPad and iPhone apps for planning your holiday

6. British Airways

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

British Airways

BA was quick to embrace the power of iOS, and its BA app does everything you'd expect with the minimum of fuss. There are downloadable maps for the world's bigger airport terminals, a very fast search engine that doesn't try to lead you to the most expensive options, online check-ins, Wi-Fi passwords for the airport lounge if you're a Silver or Gold Executive Club member and up-to-date information about arrivals and departures.

The app even doubles as a boarding card - it enables you to download and display a machine-readable boarding pass that'll satisfy security and get you on board the aircraft. If you're in the Executive Club, you can also use the app to store and display all your future bookings - membership is free and, of course, you can join from inside the app. It's typically BA: smart, stylish and efficient without fuss or faffing around.

7. Travel List

Price: £1.49 / $1.99
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

Travel List

If you've ever got to a destination only to discover that you forgot to pack your pants, you'll see the value of Travel List immediately. This useful app lets you put together a list of everything you need and ensures you pack it.

As you pack, you tick items off the list, and if you attempt to leave with items still unticked, the app will sound an alarm to alert you. Travel List comes pre-populated with most items - shirts, t-shirts, dresses, makeup, personal care, gadgets, chargers and so on - and you can, of course, add your own items if the developer hasn't included them already.

In a nice touch, you can copy any existing packing lists to new destinations or trips, because there are some things (underwear, passports, sun cream) that might appear on every list you make. It also syncs over iCloud, letting you update your lists from any iOS device or Mac - perfect if you're making a list between devices.

8. Jets - Flight & Seat Advisor

Price: £1.99 / $2.99
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch


These days, many airlines allow you to choose your own seat - charging handsomely for the privilege, of course - but how do you know what you're paying for? Enter Jets, an app that can make the difference between travelling in comfort and being unable to stand up when your plane lands. Simply enter the name of your airline, pick the plane you'll be flying in, and Jets shows you exactly what each seat does.

You'll see which ones recline and which ones don't; which ones have the most legroom; which ones are next to the food preparation area or the toilets and which ones have funny little tray tables and nowhere to put your stuff.

The app knows most but not all airlines - so Ryanair, BMI Baby and EasyJet are there, but not Jet2 - but if you can find out what kind of plane you'll be on, you can see the seating plan and make your booking based on the standard seating plans.

9. Google Maps

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

Google Maps

Google Maps isn't just a great app to have on holiday (although you need to watch out for data roaming charges if you're using it to navigate while abroad) - it's a great app to help you plan your holiday, too.

Google's driving directions are superb, and we've found its estimates of driving times to be very accurate - and that means the app's a great way to plan days out or road trips, exploring different options and zooming in to see what the terrain is like.

You can also use it to prevent disappointment by switching to satellite view and/or Street View to get a really good look at potential places to stay. That way, you can see if the location is really as unspoilt and idyllic as the brochure blurb suggests - or if it's between an army firing range and a sewage treatment plant.

The combination of Google Maps and TripAdvisor can really help you avoid a nightmare holiday.

10. EasyJet Mobile

Price: Free
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch


One day, every airline will embrace Apple's Passbook and make travelling that little bit less annoying, but for now, the British ones prefer to have their own proprietary apps, if they offer apps at all.

EasyJet is one of the airlines that has embraced apps, and its EasyJet Mobile app enables you to find and book flights; add options such as specific seats; sports equipment or extra baggage; see the status of your flight on the day and book additional items such as hotels. The app works well enough, but it's not ideal for people who like to think long term - when we tried to book flights four months ahead, the app listed outbound flights, but no return ones.

There are also some curious omissions, so, for example, you can't use the app to check in online, and you can't use it instead of a paper boarding card. It's more of a travel booking app than a travel app.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.