Heading abroad with the kids? Then pre-load your phone with APH.com’s guide to fantastic travel apps for holidays with kids – and ensure you have the best possible vacation. We’ve also got a guide to making sure you don’t bankrupt yourself with unexpected data charges. Read on for appy days…
The best apps for your holiday with the kids
The must-have holiday apps
Taking kids abroad for the hols? Don’t leave home without these on your phone.
What does it do: It’s a taxi-finding app covering more than 40 countries How much: £free
Taking a city break with the kids? Swerve the torment of endless whining as they develop an inexplicable inability to walk when making the return trip to your apartment or hotel – simply order a cab with Uber, the world’s fastest-growing taxi-calling app. It covers 100 cities and is still growing. Order a cab and you’ll receive a text when your car’s on the way, along with a small photo of the driver and his phone number. Don’t worry if your offspring have stripped you of your cash, Uber bills your credit card at the end of the journey. Best for: Anyone who’s taking kids along on a city break where big days out are followed by even bigger energy crashes. Get it here: Download the app for iOs and Android devices. Download for iOs Download for Android
What does it do: Allows you to decide when kids can use their tech How much: £0.99 then £1.99 per year At last, an app that lets parents of the world reclaim their children who’ve been lost to the depths of digital addiction. The easy to install app can be loaded on Android devices and allows parents to lockdown remote devices from their control website. It also lets you set the hours the device can be used and will automatically lock and unlock it around these predetermined times. It’s not totally heartless, though, it does send the user warnings before it closes access – giving time to save hard-fought battles in the strange deranged virtual worlds they inhabit. Best for: Parents who want to ensure their kids take time to look around and actually notice they’re on holiday. Get it here: It’s available for Android users only at the moment. Download for Android
Sleep Sounds HQ
What does it do: Produces natural ambient sounds to help kids and adults sleep in unfamiliar holiday accommodation How much: £1.49 Going on holiday is great… the peace and quiet, no sirens, or traffic to disturb. The problem is your kids can’t handle the silence and find it impossible to sleep. Not An issue when you’ve the Sleep Sounds HQ app loaded and ready for action. It’ll help children, babies (and adults) fall asleep to over 600 high-quality recordings from around the world. It’s not full of synthetic loops, either, just rich, real-life recordings of everything from Red Sea waves to a warm crackling campfire or enchanting wind chimes. Alternatively, you can choose the steady hum of white noise, such as a Dutch highway or even a dishwasher. All needs will be covered allowing you to lull yourself to sleep with a few glasses of local plonk. Best for: Anyone with young kids who aren’t used to being away from home. Get it here: It’s available for iOs only, but we’ve included a similar Android offering, too.
What does it do: PackPoint helps you pack by generating a customised list of items you’ll need for you and your kids – whatever you’re up to. How much: £Free
We all like holidays, but most won’t be quite so keen on packing. It’s a thankless task and forgetting a vital item won’t help the mood of travel-weary family members. Not a problem, simply download PackPoint, enter some basic information – such as destination, date, length of stay and purpose of the trip – and let ittell you what you need to pack. Pack Point decides this on length of travel, weather at your destination and any activities planned during your trip. You can even add extra info like ‘fancy dinner’ or ‘baby’ and the app will calculate what extras should go in your case. It won’t tell you everything, but it’ll prove to be a great ally as you battle to stave off panic in the suitcase. Best for: Anyone going on holiday. Get it here: PackPoint is available for both iOs and Android users Download for iOs Download for Android
Find My Car
What does it do: An app for the absent minded who might possibly forget where they’ve parked their holiday hire car How much: £Free
Have you ever parked your car in a vast European theme park or unfamiliar foreign city and neglected to note your location – only to spend several hours hunting it down as you come to leave? Few things can spoil your holiday like having to replace a lost hire car, so the Find My Car app could prove priceless. It allows you to save your car’s exact location using GPS, then, on your return, simply open the app and it will display the fastest walking route back to your vehicle. It’ll also tell you how far you have to go and display a real-time ETA. Best for: Anyone with a sense-of-direction failure who’s in possession of a hire car. Get it here: Find my car is available for both Android and iOs devices. Download for iOS devices Get it for Android devices (Alternative app for Android devices)
What does it do: App that puts you in touch with local hosts around the world who have rooms, apartments or even entire houses to hire out – at prices that suits you. How much: £Free
Spontaneous trips can really take your holiday to another level, but taking the kids away on a surprise trip can result in expensive late bookings at hotels in uninspiring surroundings. AirBnB can ensure that’s not the case by connecting you with fully vetted locals who have spare accommodation. Download the app, search your location and chose a place to stay that suits you – it’s simple. With over 600,000 listings in more than 34,000 cities, there’s sure to be a room for you and your family. Best for: Travellers with a wanderlust who want to explore beyond the local beach and kebab takeaway. Get it here: Good news for Android and iOs fans – it’s available for both. Download for Android Download for iOs
What does it do: Remove the need for expensive phone calls back home How much: £Free Viber is a great app that banishes the days of extortionate phone calls to the UK by allowing users to make free voice calls over the internet (data charges will apply so ensure it’s used via Wi-Fi connections only). It’s similar to apps such as WhatsApp, but along with text and photo messages, Viber allows phone calls to other Viber users anywhere in the world. So, if there’s a fledgling teenage romance on the go – with one half left at home in the UK – why not surreptitiously suggest that both parties download the app and save you a bucket-load of cash in the process. Best for: Anyone who’s abroad with kids who have friends/boyfriends/girlfriends back in the UK Get it here: Download the Viber app for your mobile phone here. It’s available for Android, Blackberry iOs, and Windows Phone. Download for Android Download for iOs
What does it do: An app to help tormented adults find activities for bored kids How much: £Free
Despite spending the equivalent of the Isle of Wight’s annual GDP on a foreign vacation during the school holidays, your children will still announce they’re bored. Not a problem with Gogobot in your mobile-based arsenal. This handy app will use your location to search for nearby activities to suit your requirements. From active to family-friendly, you tell it what you’re looking for. A great way to make sure you don’t miss any hidden gems – and to stop the kids moaning, of course. Best for: Travellers with kids in an unfamiliar holiday destination. Get it here: Download Gogobot app for your mobile phone here. It’s available for Android and iOs. Download for Android Download for iOs
The Roller Coaster Guide
What does it do: As it says on the tin… worldwide roller coaster anarchy stuffed into one app. How much: £Free
It’s the must-have app for anyone with kids travelling to Europe or the States. Browse a database of more than 5,000 rides – with photos – to find out their speed, height and entry requirements. For the fun park aficionados, you can even filter by stats such as what materials the rides are built from. One of the stand-out features is the app’s ability to let you book tickets for the rides and the daily discounts it offers. Find out more about <a href=”http://www.aph.com/community/holidays/disneyland-alternatives-theme-parks-europe-beyond/” title=”Alternatives to Disneyland Paris” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>European fun park alternatives to Disneyland with our exclusive feature here. Best for: Anyone who’s not too old to have a bit of fun with their kids on holiday. Get it here: Download Gogobot app for your mobile phone here. It’s available for iOs only, but various other apps (which we’ve not tried) can be downloaded for Android. Download for iOs devices
Ultimate Stain Remover Tips
What does it do: This app could help save your deposit. If you’ve got kids – read on. How much: £Free
It’s time to pack up, clean your apartment/mobile home and head home – but what is that indescribable and possibly highly toxic stain that’s been deposited on the upholstery? From ice cream to tomato sauce and a lot worse besides, this app dishes the dirt on the best way clean just about any type of fabric abuse the kids can come up with. With tips for removing just about every stain and odour, this app really could help ensure your deposit returns from holiday, too. Best for: Anyone with kids who has a financial interest in leaving their holiday apartment in the condition they received it. Get it here: Download for your Android and iOs devices. Download for iOS Download for Android
What does it do: Locates public toilets just about anywhere in the world How much: £Free ‘Mum – I need a wee!’ It’s the inevitable call that every parent dreads. Wasting time looking for toilets in a strange country can seriously dent the enjoyment of your family holiday. However, download this app and you’ll have a fighting chance of retaining dry-panted, happy kids. The app uses GPS to locate your nearest public toilet – so no data charges – and has more than 600,000 logged throughout the world.
Best for: Anyone, but especially parents of cola-fuelled kids on holiday. Get it here: Download for iOs devices. Search for Android alternatives. Download for iOs devices
What does it do: Finds free Wi-Fi hotspots and saves you bags of cash How much: £Free
Did you know that uploading just six photos to Facebook while in Turkey could cost you around £60.00? That’s why you need this app. With kids addicted to sharing the most minute and banal aspects of their lives, you’ll need to ensure you have access to all the free Wi-Fi hotspots possible. Wi-Fi finder will use GPS to locate gratis (and paid) access points close to you – and even give directions. You can also download all the locations offline, so you know how to say connected when travelling. With more than 650,000 locations in 144 countries, you should be able to find free connectivity in most locations. Best for: Those with kids who understand social media, but are strangely clueless when it comes to the financial implications of using it while abroad. Get it here: Download for Android and iOs devices Download for Android Download for iOs
Save data – and cash
Here’s how much using data can cost while you’re on holiday. Read our guide, below graphic, to staying connected while abroad – but not breaking the bank…
International mobile data roaming costs
All these apps are great for making your holiday run smoothly, but as you can see from our infographic, using data while abroad can be an expensive hobby. This doesn’t mean you can’t use your phone while away, though – here are our tips to save data and cash while travelling.
Turn off data roaming
Turn off data roaming: Leaving data roaming enabled when you travel abroad is likely to cost a lot of cash. Apps that run in the background and automatic software upgrades can easily add £100s to your bill without you knowing. Turning off data roaming and relying on free Wi-Fi hotspots is a great way to ensure you’re not stung. Here’s how to disable yours…
iPhone: Settings > Mobile > Networks, then switch the data roaming slider to off. Samsung: Settings > More Networks > Mobile Networks, then untick data roaming button. Blackberry: Go to Manage Connections > Mobile Network Options, then change Data Services While Roaming to off. Windows phone: Settings > Mobile Network > Data Roaming Options, then select ‘do not roam’.
Turn off automatic updates
Turn off automatic updates: Updating your phone’s operating system while abroad will usually end in financial tears. Here’s how to ensure this doesn’t happen. iPhone: Settings > iTunes & App Store > ‘Updates To Off’. This will stop your handset from scanning for emails and app updates. Android: Settings > Data usage and click the icon on the top right of the screen> tick ‘Restrict Background Data’ in the dropdown. This will stop your phone syncing and updating. You should also check the settings for each app, because there is often the option to turn off auto updates.
Use offline maps
Use offline maps: Using maps and data is an expensive combination, but downloading Google maps of the area you’re visiting before you travel will save them to your phone and let you interact through GPS – which won’t cost you a bean.
Check out this great guide from CNN on how to save maps to your phone
Data compressing apps
Data compressing apps: Download one of these apps – such as the free Onavo – which can compress data for apps such as Facebook and many other sites. One example of how it works is by only downloading pictures as you scroll to them – so not wasting data on content you’ll never see. The app’s maker claims it can slash data used by up to 80%. It works in 90 countries, but be warned it won’t compress the data used to stream content from iPlayer, YouTube or apps such as Skype. Get Onavo here
Get a data bundle
Get a data bundle: If you’re a contract customer, then it’s likely you’ll be able to bag yourself a cash-saving data-roaming add-on for your time abroad. These can offer great deals, such as ‘O2 Travel’, which offers contract customers unlimited data in Europe for just £1.99 a day. You should note, however, that most such deals only cover Europe, so you’ll need to use our other suggestions below to cut data costs when travelling beyond. Also – see our data cap section and ensure your add-on doesn’t disable this. Contact your carrier to see what it offers.
EU data cap
EU data cap: Current EU regulations force phone companies to let you know when you run up around £49.00 of data charges in a month while overseas. After this, you will be cut off or given the option to carry on. This is a great way to limit any inadvertent and expensive use of data from background apps or ‘children’. However, you need to make sure you haven’t opted out of this ‘cap’ without your knowledge. For example, some data bundles offered by carriers automatically turn it off. Always check with your operator that the data cap is active.
Don't stream data
Read the online streaming riot act to children: Most kids will be able to bypass your laughably weak attempts to prevent data roaming with their eyes closed and both hands encased in concrete (this is illegal, by the way), however, they will be genuinely ignorant to the fact that streaming a video or using iPlayer could cost you thousands! Ensure they are made aware of this before you leave Blighty. With that sorted, you should all remain friends and not be forced to sell the family home.