Katy Holland: Could the perfect family holiday be just a touch of a screen away?

Are we there yet? At the touch of a screen, you'll find everything from your nearest child-friendly restaurant to the best steam railway

I've just been dragged into the 21st century by my 11-year-old. While we were in a bookshop hunting for a campsite guide, he asked me, in a rather loud voice, why I was looking for a boring old book when I could be using a travel app.

That's me put in my place. And he's right (as usual). Who needs a big fat tome when cyberspace has plenty of cheap, even free travel applications? Here are just a few of the best ones I've found – just stick 'em in your phone and you're off.

If you're holidaying in the UK, don't leave home without first downloading the new free app from britainsfinest.co.uk. At the touch of a screen, you'll find everything from your nearest child-friendly restaurant to the best steam railway or theme park, no matter where you are. There are more than 4,000 entries, and it's easy to use, even for technophobes like me – you simply search by location, postcode or name.

And while you're in downloading mode, you may as well get the new app from moneysupermarket.com, which has tons of discount vouchers for family attractions this summer, including 50 per cent off at UK Sea Life Sanctuaries and two for one at Chessington World of Adventures.

Meanwhile, glampers and campers will love the brand new offering from Rough Guides, which has just joined forces with Cool Camping to create 30 Cool Places apps (coolplacesguides.com) to destinations including north Devon, Whitstable and York for just £1.19 each. Use them to find the best beaches, hotels and activities around.

But the app of all apps is the one from ecards.co.uk, which turns your holiday snaps into almost instant postcards – and even posts them for you. You just take a digital photo on your phone and, using this app, you can zap it from anywhere in the world to a printer's shop in Dorset, and they will print it up and have it in the post in an hour.

I'm still trying to get over the fact that all this new technology might even get the kids to send boring old postcards this year. That'll be a first.

k.holland@independent.co.uk

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