Welcome to the second installment in our series highlighting useful destination-specific apps for travelers. I'll list apps that will help you get around, find things to do, and maybe save a few bucks. This time, I'll be covering London.
Now, since we're in London, there is the issue of roaming charges when using the data link on your smartphone. If plan on bringing your phone abroad, you'll want to pre-purchase an international data package rather than pay your provider's outrageous roaming fees. Also keep an eye out for free Wi-Fi. A city like London is bound to have numerous free Wi-Fi hotspots at cafes, hotels, and public spaces. Londonist has a great map of free Wi-Fi locations throughout the city, though the map hasn't been updated in a while.
London Tube/Tube Map: As with most major cities, London's subway system is a bit daunting to first-timers. But you won't look like a first timer with either of these apps. Both provide maps of the Tube, as well service updates. London Tube costs $0.99 whereas Tube Map is free, but London Tube is more comprehensive, with a route planner and a Google map showing your location and proximity to nearby Tube stations.
Spoonfed Radar: Spoonfed's Radar App shows you what's going on near where you are, whether you're looking for music, theater, comedy, or other forms of entertainment. The app tells you where, when, and how much the event costs, and provides a short description of what you'll find there. Best of all, the app is free!
Time Out London: Time Out's app is similar to Spoonfed Radar, in that it locates events and such near wherever you are. But Time Out's app also includes restaurants and bars, as well as nightclubs and cinemas. And it's also free.
London Taxi: This app calculates your cab fare and helps you plan a route, which is extra helpful for travelers not family with London's streets. The app says it takes traffic congestion into account when factoring the fare, but it's probably a good idea to make sure you have a few extra quid in your pocket. This app costs $0.99.
The National Gallery: The National Gallery's mini-tour app includes interviews and videos that provide an extra layer of information about works of art in the museum's massive collection. You can even zoom in on a select number of paintings to get a sense of the detail and brushwork. $2.99.