|I have just returned from a wonderful break in Istanbul, it daned on me just how much the advent of mobile app technology has changed my experience of travel. Whereas before I would have my head buried in travel guides or with a huge foldout map in tow, now my smart phone will suffice for all my travel needs at my destination.Trip Advisor
I will hear no bad word said about Trip Advisor, even if the site can sometimes be comprised entirely of Americans who haven’t received massive portions in their European destination of choice. Primarily because their apps have made it so simple for me to navigate and enjoy destinations overseas.
I frist came across Trip Advisors offline city guides a few years ago, prior to taking a trip to Rome for a music performance I was involved in. Essentially the offline city guides wrap up all of the reviews and information that you would find within the website into a handy, feature rich app that you can view offline. That’s right, no data connection is needed, and the best part is the app utilises the inbuilt GPS in your phone, allowing you to “point” yourself towards any particular sight, restaurant or hotel. A bit like a personal sat nav for your holiday.
The Offline City Guides are now being phased out, but are to be incorporated in the general Trip Advisor app with even more cities around the world supported. If you want an app that can tell you what fellow travelers think is a great restaurant, show you pictures of the food, and guide you from your location directly to the door then this all-singing all-dancing app is perfect for you.
XE currency app
Keeping an eye on your spending when abroad? Want to see how that most recent museum or restaurant bill will affect your finances back home? The XE currency app will take the guesswork out of running the equations for you. You need a wifi or data connection to access the latest foreign exchange price but the app will also work offline from the most recently downloaded data, giving you a pretty decent snapshot of the cost of items abroad. I found it to be a really useful addition to my handheld ‘suitcase’ on my most recent trip.
It doesn’t matter who your preferred air carrier is, they most likely have an app and in most instances it can save you loads of time and trouble when having to sort out mundane jobs like checking in or checking to see if your flight is delayed. Apps from airlines such as British Airways and Easyjet also allow you to use a mobile boarding pass saving you the trouble of finding a printer when you are enjoying a nice poolside break in Portugal.
I love this one but it does need a data connection to fully exploit. Flightradar24 gives you a snapshot of airline traffic in a certain area, based on reports that the planes themselves are sending. The app really becomes useful when you are working out how long your flight may be delayed. While in Amsterdam a year ago I was waiting for my flight to London and being told no information at all by the handling agents at Schiphol airport, just that my flight would be delayed. With the app I was able to search the inbound flight and see it had just left Heathrow. This enabled me to do a bit of shopping and grab a bite to eat safe in the knowledge that my flight was still yet to arrive.
Where to get these apps
All of the above apps are free via your respective operating systems app store.
What do you use?
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