Our favorite free Android apps for planning a holiday, checking the weather and getting around without getting lost.
There are all sorts of apps designed for journaling your travels, but Polarsteps can do much of the work automatically.
The app will track where you’ve been and add photos from your travels, giving you a map and gallery of all your trips, simply by having the app running in the background on your phone.
You can make trips manually and add any photos it missed, but creating trips automatically means you’ll have at least a partial record of your adventures without doing anything.
This might sound like it would hammer your phone’s battery, but in fact Polarsteps is designed to only use around 4% each day and it doesn’t even need to be connected to the internet, which is ideal if you’re traveling somewhere where data costs extra.
You can keep your trips private or share them with friends and family, and by following people in the app you can see their journeys as they happen. Polarsteps is also nice to look at, easy to use and completely free, making it near essential for anyone who wants a visual record of their trips.
Overdrop is yet another weather app, but it stands out more for its widgets than its forecasting skills.
It has quite a lot of them, and many are beautifully designed, showing some combination of the weather, time, day, date and battery level. We’d be surprised if you can’t find one you like, and while some are reserved for the paid Overdrop Pro app, many are free.
Beyond that, Overdrop is a perfectly accomplished weather app, with seven-day forecasts, nice animated illustrations, and information on things like cloud cover and humidity.
Ventusky: Weather Maps
There’s a lot more to the weather than you’ll generally see in a typical forecast, and it can be a lot more interesting – and beautiful – than a simple temperature reading.
Ventusky knows this, as it makes forecasts more engaging by including an attractive weather map and wind animation, complete with the current temperature shown on the map, so you can see exactly which areas are what temperature at a glance.
Hourly forecasts let you see how the weather will change over the day and tapping on any hour or day will adjust the weather map accordingly.
You can also view weekly charts of the temperature, precipitation and wind, so you can see how much it varies over time.
Sunrise and sunset times are also available, so there’s a lot to sink your teeth into, but really Ventusky is all about that weather map and wind animation, which shows the motion and direction of the wind in a mesmerizing way.
Facebook Local is all about finding events and attractions nearby. It links to your Facebook account then shows a bunch of events listed on Facebook that are near your current or home location, or another place of your choice.
Some of these will be from friends and pages that you follow, but it will also dig up other local public events, so you’re likely to discover things that you wouldn’t have found on your main Facebook feed.
You can filter events and attraction by type, date, location or time, view them on a map and add them to your Facebook calendar, so it’s simple to control what you see and keep track of what you’re interested in. You can also add your phone calendar to the app, so you can see and manage everything in one place.
More or less all of this stuff can be found on Facebook itself, but Facebook Local is a much more focused way to find out what’s going on around you, without all of Facebook’s many distractions, so it’s worth having on your phone even if you already have the main Facebook app.
Moovit is the only app you need to navigate public transport wherever you might be in the world.
Simply enter a destination and it will tell you how to get there from your current location (or you can set a different start point).
Moovit will give you various route options using different forms of transport by default, but you can tell it to only include certain kinds of public transport, or to minimize walking or transfers.
Select a route to see full step by step instructions or get live navigation. The app will tell you exactly where to go and even alert you when you’re nearing your stop so you don’t need to stare at your phone screen the entire journey.
There are also timetables for buses and trains and you can save your favorite destinations or transit lines to quickly get directions and timetables in future.
Moovit also has widgets, offline maps, and transport information for thousands of cities in over 80 countries. We weren’t kidding when we said it’s the only public transport app you’ll need.
Trips by Lonely Planet
Trips by Lonely Planet is a visually beautiful way to share your travel experiences or view those shared by others.
It’s essentially a journaling app designed for globetrotters. Create a new trip in the app, give it a title, subtitle and cover photo, then add your choice of photos, text and maps.
Your trips can be kept private or shared publicly, you can edit them after posting, and of course you can view and favorite other people’s.
There’s a slight social element in that you can follow other users, so you’ll always see any new trips they post, but mostly this is just about seeing the world from your phone and sharing your own trips with the world.
Arriving in a brand new city is always exciting but it can also be a little daunting, especially if you need to get around using public transport. Citymapper is a brilliant app that brings you real-time information on public transport for cities around the world.
You can easily plan your route using all kinds of transport, from buses to ferries, and you can be kept up to date with real-time data, including any disruptions or cancellations. An essential app for any city-bound traveler.