If you are planning a trip overseas, despite the excitement, it can actually be a very daunting undertaking.
Not so much in the planning, a travel agent will ensure you book the right tickets and so on. But the actual thought of moving around another country, one where you don’t know where you are going or perhaps can’t speak the language can make us all feel a little uncertain.
Luckily, both smartphones and a number of apps associated with them take the difficulty out of travel, especially if you are a travel newbie and uncertain how to go about your holiday!
GPS is essential
All smartphones have it and it has become an indispensable thing to use while away on holiday. A GPS can help you on a simple road trip across your own country or it can even make a foreign city come alive, not only allowing you to negotiate it easily enough but also pointing out places of interest.
When it comes to choosing a GPS app, you could just go with the standard GPS map system on your phone. This makes use of Google Maps and is more than an effective way of finding your way around.
But there are so many more options. For example, Waze is a great little independent GPS app that not only offers up to date traffic conditions (if you are driving) but also places of interest, often put in by the locals of the country themselves. Other excellent GPS apps include Citimapper and OSMand with many of them allowing you to download city maps and use them offline, saving on data. Of course, you won’t have access to updated traffic conditions should you choose to use the apps in this way.
Let’s be honest, a poorly planned holiday ends up being far more stressful than relaxing! For this reason, it is important to plan your holiday itinerary thoroughly before even stepping out your door. This can help you schedule day to day activities in each of the holiday places you visit, meaning you make the most of your precious time when you are there.
There are many apps that allow you to do this on your mobile phone. After you have setup your itinerary, you can mail it to yourself and even print multiple copies for your family or companions travelling with you while keeping a copy on your smartphone as well.
Important things to include are flight numbers and times, hotel names and contact numbers as well as phone numbers for taxi services in each and every location you visit.
Perhaps one of the greatest time stealers in the world are airports. You have to arrive early, book in your luggage and then wait for hours before you can even board your plane. And then there are the tickets themselves. You always put them in a safe place but eventually can’t find them when you need to board.
Well, did you know that you can actually store your ticket on your smartphone? If you are flying with one of the world’s major airlines, you can now use your smartphone to board a plane. This means you can use a self-service check-in without the need to stand in long queues to get a printed ticket.
But how does it work? Well it is fairly simple actually. In most cases, you will need to download a QR code onto your phone. This is then scanned at the terminal allowing you to board the plane quickly and efficiently.
Use your smartphone as a key!
Nothing is more annoying than losing your hotel room access card or door key. Luckily, many hotels have started to use a system where your smartphone through a specialized app for each individual hotel, acts as a door key. You are always with your phone, so the chances of losing your way of entering your hotel room are pretty much gone forever. The great thing about these apps also mean that you can setup everything before you reach the hotel, allowing you to skip registration completely.
When travelling, your safety is paramount. Now while most of the world’s major tourist attractions have very good public transport that you can use, sometimes you prefer to use a taxi, especially if you are out late at night. There are many apps available for this, normally for each specific taxi service.
If you want something far more universal, consider using Uber, fast becoming the transport option of choice for tourists around the world.
What other apps can I use?
There are a host of other excellent apps for travellers. These include:
- Google translate to help with foreign languages
- Weather apps to ensure you don’t get caught out with the wrong clothes as you explore the city.
- Consider a currency conversion app to make converting to local currency far easier.