By no means exhaustive, this little list is designed to help travellers with the basics of getting somewhere, having a good experience and a couple of nice photos at the end of it. These apps are clever, easy to use tools that will I’ve found to make travels more enjoyable and less stressful.
This handy app is very clever. It allows you offline interactive map to access road, walking, public transport and bike routes. Not only that, but it also provides other info such points of interest, restaurants, service stations and travel guides. It also interfaces with taxi and Uber services, so you can order from the app. Somehow it knows where you are and all you do is follow the arrow on your screen as you go. All you need to do is just download the area you need before you head into unknown territory, eg: Rome , Melbourne or a even a whole region, then head off.
You’d have to be living under a pretty big rock not to have heard of one of these. The great disruptors of the taxi industry, Uber and Grab (SE Asian version) offer great service and value anywhere, but it you’re facing a language barrier they are invaluable. Ordering a vehicle is through the app, therefore eliminating the need for those frustrating conversations that tend to be had with local taxi drivers as you try valiantly to master a foreign language while pointing to a hard to spot on a map.
I’d like it to note that these conversations, with all their frustrations are one of the great joys of international travel and should be had regularly, not to mention the importance of supporting the local industry. But sometimes we want to go somewhere just a little bit beyond the limitations of such a conversation.
Polarr Photo Editor
I heard recently that the rise of camera phones is inextricably linked with the rise of crap photography. Who hasn’t taken a photo they wish they could improve, but expensive, complicated software feel overwhelming. This little app is easy to use and can do amazing things to crap photography. It responds to both mouse clicks and screen touches; some people find one works better for them than the other. Most people feel comfortable with it within 30 minutes.
XE Currency Converter
Getting accurate exchange rates on the go when travelling is important. Some money changers can be greedy, so having the real rates at your fingertips is valuable. XE is simple, can do just about every currency on the planet and any denomination, so it minimises the need for tricky mental arithmetic in pressure situations.
People trust Trip Advisor advice more than some trust their grandma. It allows us to learn from other people’s mistakes and triumphs, and it’s not just one person’s opinion, but hundreds, or even thousands. Not only can it help you find out about the quality of hotels, restaurants and attractions, you can also book all of these through the site. It’s a great way to streamline your research, planning bookings and even itinerary as you get reminders set and your plans tracked.
To Infinity . . .
The proliferation of apps is alarming and discombobulating at times, but there are a couple that have really peaked my interest, but haven’t had a chance to try yet:
- Wifinity – an app that pin points free Wi-Fi and hotspots on an interactive map. It also works offline.
- Sit or Squat – a app that helps you find public toilets, complete with cleanliness ratings. If you’ve ever read my experiences of My First 12 Hours in Thailand or my experiment with Yakult and Thailand Trots you’ll know how much I value such information and insights.
What’s travel apps can’t you go without? Let me know, I’d love to give them a try.
Valentyna Sagan [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]