It’s a technologically-advanced world and when it comes to travel, it pays to get ‘appy.’ If you’re anything like me, your phone will basically be an extension of our hand, so I know how useful it is to have some handy apps at your fingertips when travelling. These are some of the best:
Airport App: GateGuru
A fantastic app for navigating your way through the airport and finding healthy food options at the terminal is through Gateguru which features airport maps and a list of all the shops and eateries available near your gate or terminal. This is a great way to stock up on magazines, find the nearest coffee kiosk, or discover the best food places to head once you’ve cleared security.
Itinerary Travel App: TripIt
Want to have your itinerary with you at all times? Load up your travel plans with TripIt!, an iPhone app that lets you load in your itinerary and all those details you need to satisfy your Type A organization personality. You can load in dinner plans, addresses for all the sights you want to see, and it will even port in your flight information. Pretty nifty!
That’s right, they’ve got their own app!
If you’ve already booked your Contiki adventure, check out the Contiki app – a place to tell your travel story. Get access to your Contiki MeetUps and your itinerary so you know what’s happening day by day. Note: You MUST have an existing Contiki booking to use the app – don’t download it unless you are going on a Contiki.
Uber is now available in over 44 countries and 130 cities – everywhere from Memphis to Lima to Johannesburg to Stockholm – and the list will continue to grow. Just like at home, you open the app and order a car, receiving an estimated arrival time and courtesy text message. The driver’s photo, name and contact number will pop up once accepted. You don’t need cash (just a credit card linked to your account through the app). Word of warning – apparently the Uber cars in Asia are much more high-end, so perhaps get a fare estimate first to avoid ruining your holiday with a nasty bill.
You won’t feel completely lost at your destination if you have access to Google Translate. You can either type into a word box or use the speaking option to translate a phrase. You can translate 58 languages in text and hear 23 languages worth of converted phrases. (Cost: free; for Android and iPhone/iPad)
Taking Google Maps with you is one of the best options to explore new places. Traffic updates, public transit, city tours with 360-degree street views, plus a voice-guided, turn-by-turn GPS navigation are merely some of the features this mobile app offers so you can navigate like a pro. (Cost: free; for iPhone and Android)
Although I highly recommend getting lost in a foreign city (such as Paris or Rome), it’s not as fun when it’s not on purpose. What did we do before Google Maps? It saves money on renting a GPS with your hire car or carrying around pesky fold out maps that scream tourist. It knows where you are (which is always a good start) and lets you switch between map, street or satellite view – even 3D view. Not paying for data or roaming? Just download the maps you need before you leave the hotel/hostel lobby to use offline for up to 30 days. (Make sure you’ve got the latest version, iOS 3.0 or Android 8.)
Keep the change: XE
Trying to work out if VND$98,453.64 is an absolute rip off for sunglasses in Vietnam can be tricky at the best of times (it’s AUD$5). A must-have travel app, the XE app gives access to live exchange rates, so you can keep track of your precious holiday savings. You can use it offline too, because it stores the last updated rates. It’s super easy to use – just tap on the currency you want and it provides comparison values in up to 10 currencies.
Explore: World Around Me
The ultimate travel app, “WAM” was rated as the Top Traveler App by National Geographic Traveler. You hold the phone at eye level, point the camera at your surroundings and select what you’re looking for – restaurants, bars, ATMs, galleries, stations, pharmacy, gym etc – you name it and WAM uses augmented reality technology to find it. Just tap to see reviews, opening hours, directions, contact details and a whole host of other information (such as WiFi availability, outdoor seating, accepts credit cards etc). You can also vary the distance from 100 meters to 50 kilometers, depending on how far away you’re willing to venture (it’s most accurate when used outside). Whether it’s a gym in Monaco, a bar in Kenya or a synagogue in Barcelona, just WAM it.
In case of emergency, ICE gets you covered. The last thing you’d want to happen to you when you travel abroad is to have any medical issues. But, just in case, the app keeps details about your medical conditions, your doctor’s primary contact details and insurance information that can be accessed even if your phone is locked. Among other features, it also translates the stored information in 10 different languages. (Cost: $3.99; for Android)
Check in: Social media
It goes without saying, really. What’s the point of going on holiday if you can’t make all your friends jealous with perfectly filtered, hash-tagged snaps of cobblestoned streets or crystal blue water? Make sure you’ve got your preferred social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) in app form so you can snap and post instantaneously along the way.
If you’re travelling solo (and why wouldn’t you, it’s awesome!?), there are only so many selfies or plain scenery shots you can take before you wish you had your own photographer. Enter, the Timer Auto-Camera. You can take multiple shots and choose a timer delay (5, 10, 15 or 30 seconds) so you can make it into the frame. It’s got front and back camera support and is simple to use. The obvious limitation is finding a steady surface at the right height so you can jump in the shot…
There are so many more apps out there designed to make travelling that much easier. I think there’s a fine line between technology being a help and a hindrance on holiday, so make sure you select the right tools for you and your trip!
There are millions of excellent travel apps for your collection. All you need to do type ‘travel’ in the app store and voila!
Have any additional questions? Feel free to ask me in the comments below!
Don’t forget to add me on Instagram – @oneworldwanderer – for more foolishness and travel adventures!