Travel apps are the new Lonely Planet guidebooks are they not. When I went backpacking a million moons ago, my Lonely Planet guide to Europe had book marks throughout and highlighted information on nearly every page. That thing weighted about 5 kgs by itself but I took it everywhere. Kids these days wouldn’t understand as we have come so far. Travel apps can greatly change your travel. If you were used to travelling in the time of Lonely Planet guidebooks and the lack of information, then you will appreciate some of these apps.
I spent all this time last year entering in all of our information for all the confirmation numbers, the voucher numbers. You would think in a world capable of apps a QR code could be used in place of a mountain if vouchers. Why do hotels still need to use them? Do they get paid based on the physical voucher they hand in? Surely not?
TripCase has added features that will excite you. Recently on our trip to New York we got an alert from TripCase that the flight was running late. No such from the airline of course. The flight delay put the next leg of our flight into jeopardy and potential another overnight. I needed to get home to the children so that was not an option. After ringing the airline and explaining this was not an Australian city but rather New York, where there are 3 possible airports to depart from?
The help desk were struggling to understand we could get an earlier flight to make the second leg of the flight and not that she had to rebook the entire trip. After sometime we managed to point her in the direction of flights out of JFK rather than Newark and get to our connection with luggage checked through. Amazing! All because of TripCase. Without it we would of arrived at the airport to discover our flight was delayed and we would not make it.
TripCase allows you to manage itineraries, flights and trip management. Travel Agents can provide travellers with their itinerary details directly in the confirmation email, which TripCase will add automatically.
Click here for further information.
Other apps to try for this feature FlightAware (but this is just flights not itinerary) Click here for more information.
TripIt seems to be an alternative itinerary app, but my preference is TripCase just from navigation point of view. Click here for further information.
When you are in a location that you are not familiar it is hard to determine what is kid-friendly. Just because a hotel says they are kid friendly doesn’t mean they actually are. Click here for more information. The app breaks down the content in Google to more kid friendly specific ideas. I believe it may be limited in regards to location. When in New York there were plenty of ideas for the kids (despite them not being with me I am always learning).
I entered nature, sports and animals to Sydney and the following came up. There are loads to choose from and most are true kid friendly activities. Cultural differences also have kids doing different things. My children are not French and cannot go to a restaurant and behave in the evening – is that down to me being a bad mum? No sure, but you get the idea.
Covering a large number of cities and adding more as quickly as they can. This app is great for working out the best method to get from A to B inclusive of what exit to take and where to stand on the platform. Click here for a link. Apologies it was smart enough to know I am in Sydney so you may need to change location. We used this app a lot when we were in New York and my friend travels between London, New York and Delhi and was the one who recommended it.
I found this app super helpful in New York. To get me home in Sydney, you can see from the attached ferry is not an option. I travel to work each and everyday by ferry. It’s quicker than all the buses they suggest. If it is not picking up all of the options is it really that good. Perhaps it’s just Sydney data.
In New York on the other hand, this app helped me in and out of the subway like a pro. In summary, if you are in a big city, use it. If you are in a tiny little place like Sydney, maybe use the local versions.
Snapseed is a powerful photo editing app for your iPhone or iPad. While iOS has basic photo editing software built into its Photos apps, Snapseed does everything better and has more features. That is according to the developers. What you do need to be aware of that there are so many guides on how to use and tips for Snapseed developed by tech people other than the developer, the hype is obviously real.
I try to actually take photos and not rely on filters to make things look good. That sounds all very highbrow of me but I want to advance my skills so I try to understand light and zoom etc. Having said that my flight over New York recently was grey and dull. Like I am not going to use a filter for some of those shots!
I have loads of photo editing apps but I tend to use the framing photos the most. As much as I Snapseed but I do try to be ‘real’ in a filtered world. If you want something to help your shots glow or shine, this is the app for you. Click here to download. If you are a Samsung convert, I am not sure what you need. Sorry, I am not technically advanced enough to operate one, hence my iPhone.
The developers of this app or rather the marketers have the following tag line ‘Travel content
made easy. We help you find the best places to travel, shop, eat & drink across the world’ I am skeptical about this one. I use it yes, but is it better than Google references? So why is it handy? I have included this as Google pulls everything from cafes to fine dining. This app, gives you a defined list. Do you suffer from information overload? I hate overload and then having to become a business analyst and sort through the data. Boring!
Have a look at my screen shots. I entered I wanted to go to Rome. I including handy things like weather and exchange rate is great. Breaking the next screens into 3 main titles is user friendly. See and Do. You can see the app is clever enough to request you to book in advance. I had a friend going to San Francisco and she desperately wanted to go to Alcatraz and went to book tickets too late. Who knew that 2 weeks out was too late? This app will help you with your planning without overloading you.
The Practical Information is like a guide book inside the app. There is loads to read and understand or learn. Included are min guides and Italian culture explained.
Click here for further reading.
The marketers of this app have the following tag lines ‘Free Wi-Fi, every day, everywhere. Imagine if someone had access to over 100 Million Free Wi-Fi’s. You can become that person in 30 seconds by downloading our app and enjoying the wonderful world of FREE Wi-Fi.’
Anyway you get the point. As an Australian we are not used to free Wi-Fi given out so liberally. In Santa Monica last year, the city offers free Wi-Fi to all those walking around within their range. What was even more impressive, the minute I crossed the hotel boundary I switched to their Wi-Fi. Their free Wi-Fi leaves ours for dead. It takes me a couple of hours to upload and yet whilst in California I was taking hundreds a day and they loaded/ backed up in 15 minutes. We so need the NBN. (Karina a plug for you!)
Recently we went to New York, and we had a 3 hour layover in LA. I opened my phone to literally update my kids that we had survived the first leg and we were missing them. As I hadn’t turned off all my mobile data etc, 80% of my data package was consumed in the first hour! Using free Wi-Fi saves your data for when you need it and greatly reduces your bill when you are home.
This app is so handy and you will use it more than you think you will. It’s free, what’s the harm. Click here for a link.
If you know me, you will know I need coffee. You will also know that I will not accept any Starbucks rubbish. What Starbucks is rubbish? Yes, it absolutely is, even desperate out of my brain after 10 days in the jungle in Borneo and Starbucks was not going to fill my coffee needs. I want barista made, roasted coffee. CUPS found a great cup all over New York. This is my savior. If you love Australian grade coffee, get this app and you will be one happy coffee drinker.
As you can see from my screen shot – 7,000 miles away is some distance for a cup of coffee
Sit or Squat
Have you been to public toilets and felt like you need a shower after because the hygiene level is so low? Have you found a restaurant or even petrol station will not let you use the toilet without being a customer? When an app is so successful that a major brand purchases it, you know they were onto something. Click here for a link to download. This app helps you find ‘clean’ toilets. Each bathroom has a sit rating. Believe me- a lifesaver. I went to the public toilets at Palm Beach on Sunday and I needed a hot shower afterwards to feel normal. No-one needs to see poo outside if the toilet bowl! This app is a lifesaver for cleanliness and hygiene.
You can see form my attached photos that in Sydney, public toilets are gross! This may be because the app has not been updated outside of the US, but I agree, most of our public toilets are squats! Who do I see about that?
I use this app regularly. I have said before we have au pairs living with us and helping with the kids. We often need to translate words and phrases for them. We use it almost every conversation when they first join us and then rarely after a few months. There are still always a few words or two that they get stuck on.
Travelling and needing to order or give directions, this is brilliant. The app can even repeat the words so you can get the correct pronunciation. As an Australian, I am not very good with languages and not used to dropping ‘j’’s or rolling ‘r’s’. I have an Aussie twang and trying to speak French sounds dreadful. I leave it to Google Translate. Of course, not all Australians are like me, and many have a multi-cultural background and speak several languages. This is the app for people like me who can’t even get past simple phrases like My name is with the right accents.
I find you will need this for the first couple of days in a country and then your brain starts to auto-calculate the conversion itself. It is most handy when you are travelling between several countries and swapping currencies as often as the sun is going up and down.
If I am being extremely honest, I use this app more when I am at home on the ground and internet shopping. Shhhhh, don’t tell my husband! I need to watch the exchange rate to ensure I am not paying overs for something.
On our recent trip to New York we had an overwhelming amount of tips and data to process. Rather than try to weed it out and pick what we wanted and didn’t want, we saved everything to google maps. You can save into categories as per your filing method. I had fine dining, café style, shopping, Instagram photos, sight-seeing, activities, and places of interest. It is time consuming but was an absolute god send.
We had decided to dissect the city rather than run from Downtown to Midtown and in between every day. You do end up doing some of this but we tried to minimise it. I would sit down and assess my map and work out a route or order to follow the following day, places to eat and drink. We managed to see most of what we wanted to see area by area. We knew that ten days was never going to allow us to see everything but we could see what was around us at the time.
Whilst I do think travel maps make our travelling easier and the access to information right there, I do think we need to remember to be present when travelling. I sat next to someone at a wedding recently who would take a photo and then spend and enormous amount of time editing them before posting. Your travel photos do not need to be posted in real time. You are away, use the travel apps to simplify your life and to unwind. Try not to use the travel apps to complicate your life. Travel and grow.