Skip to main content

The Best Apps For Your London Vacation

On our recent trip to London, Sexy Nerd's work obligations meant venturing out on my own if I wanted to explore the city. And I'd flown so far (and spent sooo much money) - of course I wanted to explore! I'd never traveled on my own though and I have zero sense of direction. Luckily, there are plenty of free apps available. I downloaded them all (seriously, my Nexus 7 tablet had to be reset to its factory settings. I'd overloaded it with so many travel apps it could barely turn on. Whoops!)

Truth be told, the majority of the free apps I'd downloaded were useless during my visit to London. But there were also a few amazing ones that really enhanced my trip. They're all available for Android through the Google Play Store, but I think each has an Apple version as well.

Best of all, all of these tourist apps work OFFLINE! Be sure to bookmark this list for your next trip (and if you don't have a trip to London planned, start planning one. It's the best place I've ever visited!) Here are my favorites, in order starting with the one I used most:

Top 5 Free Travel Apps for London

1. London Tube Assistant

I downloaded every tube map, tube tracking, and tube route planning app I could find and this was my favorite, hands down. Before venturing out on my own, Sexy Nerd tried to teach me how to navigate "the tube". You just look at the map, find your station, find the station you want to get to, try to find a tiny colored line that connects the two (and includes a stop, as opposed to just passing through,) check the key to see which line that is...blah, blah, blah... This app made it so much easier! You just tell it where you want to go and it gives you different options for getting there. This app turned me into such a London tube pro that I by the end of day 1, I was already giving lost tourists directions and was running down the left side of the stairs to catch my next train with the locals (and cursing out the tourists who stood in my way. Stand to the right, folks!)

2. London City Guide from TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor's handy app saves all kinds of information, from restaurant reviews to details on popular attractions, for you to use offline. There's a map that uses GPS to show your location in relation to where you're trying to go and it syncs with your TripAdvisor account. There are suggested itineraries. It can even tell you what's nearby so you don't miss anything!

3. London Travel Guide by Triposo

This is a little-known app that enriched my travel experience. It includes a currency converter (though it's a depressing feature to use if you're converting US dollars to British pounds!) and, like my beloved TripAdvisor app, it has suggestions on where to go. However, what I enjoyed most about Triposo's app were all the educational tidbits about the places I was visiting, taken from sites like Wikipedia. My meandering took me to Somerset House one day. I didn't know anything about it, but the app filled me in on all its interesting tidbits, including its impressive film history (per my Triposo guide, Somerset house has appeared in Tomorrow Never Dies, GoldenEye, Sherlock Holmes, and Sleepy Hollow, among others.)

Somerset House

London can be an expensive city to visit. My United airfare to and from Albuquerque alone was almost $1,200! But once I was there, I spent practically nothing on seeing the sights, as most of London's museums are 100% free. This handy app lists gardens, museums, markets, and other popular, as well as little known, sights that fit my meager budget.

5. The London Pass

Although I didn't purchase a London Pass during this trip (I've bought these passes in San Francisco and Seattle, but didn't think it was worth the money for London due to all the activities available for free,) I still enjoyed their app. Like the TripAdvisor and Triposo apps, it was another convenient reference for London's attractions. I loved that it included photos, prices, and operating times.

Popular Posts from Kitty Deschanel:

Jessner Peel Photos: A Blogger's Before & After Guide to Chemical Peels

A Handy "Before & After" Guide to Chemical Peels - 7/6/18 Update
Since posting my Jessner peel photos, detailing the stages of the process, and writing my chemical peel blog review back in 2013, I've had quite a few Jessner peels (my favorite) and TCA peels. However, I've saved a ton of money over the past 6 months by doing my own chemical peels at home. At my last professional peel, I made a note of the product being used and did some research when I got home. I was able to buy the exact same one, Dermalure Jessner Solution Acid Peel 14%, from Amazon for less than the cost of a single peel. I also use Dermalure's AHA/BHA Acne Cleanser, which I apply before the Jessner. (Side note: There's currently a 1-star review for the at-home peel that complains "I had to deal with days upon days of gross peeling and flakey chunks of skin falling off my face (and I have super oily skin). If I happened to laugh really hard on a particular day or take a big bite ou…

Amerisleep Mattress Reviews

Best Amerisleep Promo Code as of : $200 Off and Free Shipping

My Amerisleep mattress reviews are NOT sponsored. Unlike other "impartial" reviewers out there, we did NOT receive our AS3 bed for free. All of the opinions here are 100% honest and unbiased. My husband, the overly analytical mechanical engineer, was skeptical of a mail order mattress, but he was quickly won over, as you'll see below.


Mattress in a box - the future is here!

6/12/18 Update: We recently moved into a new home and needed a new mattress for our guest bedroom. Of course, we went with Amerisleep again. We put out 6-year-old king AS3 in the guest room and ordered a brand-new Twin XL AS2 and Twin XL AS4 for our master bedroom, thinking we would push them together. Terrible choice! The AS4 was too soft and unsupportive for either of us. We exchanged the two twins for a King AS2, thinking it and the AS3 were so similar that it wasn't worth the extra cost for the AS3. Ack, another poor choice! The AS2 is…

Instant Pot Explosion

While you're here, please be sure to check out my Instant Pot recipes: Creamy Enchilada Rice and Cranberry Oatmeal with Quinoa
We love our Instant Pot, the digital pressure cooker that seems to suddenly be in every home. You can't mess up - just throw in random ingredients and you'll get something yummy every time. It's foolproof. At least, that's how I used to feel about our Instant Pot, until the explosion...

Ack! We just moved in and look what I've already done to my brand new, all-white kitchen!
I tried to re-seal the vent but the pressure was too high to cooperate. I'm honestly not sure what went wrong with this batch of oatmeal. I've made it a million times. The Instant Pot was only about halfway full.

Here is the link to my extra-healthy Super Oatmeal Instant Pot recipe, in case you are curious or a fan of the delicious. It probably won't explode when you make it.
Oatmeal? More like a batch of tasty homemade glue.
 I was bummed that my quic…

Dream Home Dreaming

*Update*
We've finally broken ground on our mountain dream home! Can you believe it? Even more surprising, we actually managed to work a good chunk of this list into our actual design. See below for details.

*Another Update*
We've finished construction and are finally living in our mountain dream home and it's even better than I'd hoped! Here is a sneak-peak of our new kitchen and living room. Click the "Decorating" button above for more photos.

Believe it or not, our budget was meager. Really! My husband built the coffee table from an olive trunk and did the thin brick backsplash himself. Eventually, he's going to take the brick all the way to the top of the ceiling. He also created the three-tier chandeliers (three chandeliers total - yeah, he's pretty great!). 
I was responsible for all of the shopping and decorating decisions and design details and layout. We had the tongue-and-groove installed upside down (rough-side down) with Sherwin Williams H…

Flooring Ideas

Ever since we purchased our 13.1 acre (gotta get credit for that extra 0.1 acre!) lot outside of Albuquerque last year, Sexy Nerd and I have devoted most of our free time to planning our mountain dream home.

We cannot make a decision about anything. At this point, it seems our best option would be to build a row of townhomes, each in a completely different style. On Monday, we would live in our colorful Victorian home, and later in the week we could switch things up in our ultra-contemporary, all concrete house.

Since I can't imagine our neighborhood HOA (or our budget) ever allowing such a thing, we really do need to narrow down our list of ideas.

Flooring is a tough choice. In our current home, we have premium laminate flooring. It stands up well against our rambunctious dogs, but is easily damaged if you unknowingly drip water onto it and let it sit, like by the dog's water bowl and the dishwasher. We also have real wood flooring on our stairs and our bedroom sitting area,…

A Nightmare Jessner Peel Side Effect

Almost as popular as my Amerisleep mattress reviews, the Jessner chemical peel post here on my blog has been a reader favorite for years. I'm still doing my own peels at home and still recommend this to anyone concerned about acne scars or wrinkles. However, last night I did have a Jessner peel scare.

As written before, timing is everything with a chemical peel. You don't want pieces of dead skin (yuck, right?) flaking off at work or at important social events. I've wanted to do one for months but things kept getting in the way, like extra days spent at work and our recent trip to California. Finally, last night I was able to treat myself to an at-home Jessner peel. (Using this product from Amazon, in case you want to try it for yourself.) I've done this so many times that the steps are automatic. I applied three layers of Jessner solution, brushed my teeth, and went to bed. Snuggled into our new mattress and a mountain of blankets, I fell into a deep sleep. I dreamed…

Cranberry Oatmeal with Quinoa - Instant Pot Recipe

In response to my popular Instant Pot Explosion blog post, I've had a few blog readers ask for my oatmeal recipe. This seems a bit odd...you guys aren't trying to recreate that gooey mess in your own kitchens, right? My recipe does make delicious, foolproof Instant Pot oatmeal. It's only for patient people though. Whatever you do, do not manually release the pressure valve at the end of the cooking cycle!

Super oatmeal. See the little specks? That's part of what makes it so super.
The best thing about my recipe is that it's much healthier than regular oatmeal recipes. Start your day with this and you can feel better about all those cookies and fried donuts and ice cream (I have a bit of a sweet tooth) you munch on throughout the rest of the day. This can also be made in a slow cooker or Crock Pot. I've been cooking up batches of my Super Oatmeal for years, long before I'd heard of the Instant Pot, and have even gifted the dry ingredients to health-conscious…

Family Size Bed (Because a King Mattress is Too Small)

Look! Up In The Sky! It's a Bird. It's a Plane. It's...

(cue suspenseful music)

DUN NAH NUH
What's bigger than a king-size Amerisleep mattress? An Amerisleep Superbed!

As you know, my nerdy engineer husband, SN, and I recently ordered two new twin XL mattresses from Amerisleep. The AS4 bed didn't work out for us (too soft and mushy for our taste) but we loved the extra-firm AS2 bed. It's perfect for people who sleep on their back (SN) and on their stomach (me). SN liked it even better than the AS3 bed we'd slept on since 2012 and I thought it was at least equal to that mattress, which is now making our relatives happy in the guest bedroom. The AS2 costs a little less than the AS3 and a lot less than the AS4. Who would have thought the less expensive option would be the better choice, right? Money really doesn't buy happiness.
(Okay, in all honesty, I think I prefer the AS3 just a hair over the AS2. Your first choice is usually the right choice.)

We loved our …

We're Now the Owners of Amerisleep AS2, AS3, and AS4 Mattresses

$250 Amerisleep promo code at the bottom of this post :)
SN and I recently (finally!) moved into our mountain dream home. We decided to put our Amerisleep Liberty (Amerisleep AS3) mattress in the guest bedroom and treat ourselves to a fancy new bed. The big question was whether we should go with the exact same mattress again or test out another Amerisleep bed. We were still happy with our Liberty and it was like-new, even though we'd purchased it almost 6 years ago. Below is the advice and mattress recommendation we received directly from Amerisleep:

(I guess you're going to know SN's real name now. Oh, and my weight! Darn it.)

Amerisleep Chat Transcript Name: Derek Heather MinierThu, 08/31/17 11:08:45 am America/DenverHello. How may I help you?Derek11:09:09 amOther than firmness, are there any differences between the Liberty and the Colonial? Thanks!Heather Minier11:10:09 amHey Derek, there is. The AS3(Liberty) is going to be designed for all kinds of sleepers where the AS4(…

The World's Easiest Thanksgiving Centerpiece

We have no furniture, no bathroom mirrors, and no common sense - we're hosting Thanksgiving this year! Despite a To Do list ten miles long, I'm pretty certain this is going to be the best Thanksgiving ever.

Okay, I briefly wavered on this earlier, when my Martha Stewart-ish mom lectured me about all the things that could (will) go wrong and how I'll surely ruin the holiday for everyone and "you are going to regret it for the rest of your life" (her exact words!), but time has passed and I'm back to feeling confident. Best. Thanksgiving. Ever.

Plus, I'm now determined to knock her judgemental socks off.


We're going to have the cutest table decor in the history of Thanksgiving. Even better? It's so easy and you surely have everything you need to make it right this very second.

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece and Fall Decor

Step 1:

Gather a glass or two or a dozen. Matching is fine. Mixed is fine.

The Martha Stewart gene skips a generation.

We received a…