When going on a trip, and especially when organizing it by yourself, it is important to plan to carry at least one guide to find your way and optimize your visits once you are there. For your next getaway, you may have already bought one or two (Michelin Guide, Lonely Planet, or other) and downloaded or written down the tips you have found on TouriSpain. And among the tips we give you to travel, here is an important one: do not leave without downloading on your smartphone or tablet some essential applications to any traveler. They are easier to use than the physical guides, and the ones we suggest are free. If you do not know them yet, we invite you to discover them. Try them, they will become part of all your travels!
The Google map application is installed by default on almost all smartphones and for good reason: it has almost replaced all other existing maps and has become a standard. If it is not part of your daily life yet, note that it offers many functions: maps, how to get from point A to point B or travel a route (travel time according to a given arrival or departure time, by different means of transport: car, on foot, public transports, considering live traffic), activities near you or around a given spot (restaurants, bars, points of interest, etc.) all with opening hours, pictures and customer reviews. Another very handy option: Google Maps is available offline. To use it, simply download the map of the territory you want to browse (you will find it in the application settings under the heading “offline maps”). Just remmember to download the maps you will need from a Wi-Fi connection.
TripAdvisor is THE reference when it comes to reviews of tourist establishments and activities. The app is also a price comparator for hotels, vacation rentals and flights, but I’ll let you discover these features by yourself since I don’t really use them. TripAdvisor is my reference when I have to choose a hotel, a restaurant or an activity. The site is never wrong: the better an activity will be rated by users, the more likely you will be satisfied! Example: you are in a city you do not know and you want to have diner. Throw a search for local restaurants, with a filter for a kind of cuisine if you wish (eg. Italian restaurants in Puerto del Carmen), and you will get a list of the top rated restaurants in the city for this category! If you head to one of the first on the list, you should have a great meal. A doubt about the cleanliness of a hotel? Same, read the comments and its notation. If you are planning a trip that includes stops in more than one location, checking them out may take a while, but you will not be disappointed once there.
This is my baseline app for hotel bookings. Booking lists many hotels around the world and offers the possibility to book directly via the app or the website. The rates are always among the most competitive on the market, and cancellation conditions are often very flexible. And if you are a regular customer of the site, you have access to additional discounts on the offered prices. In addition to hotel rooms, there are also apartments available for rent. I recently rented an apartment in Arrecife (capital of the island of Lanzarote) via Booking and was delighted with my stay! Ratings and comments left on the site by the customers after their stay will help you making your choice and getting a fairly accurate idea about the place before getting there.
Skyscanner is a price comparator of the major airline tickets retail sites, but also compares rates for hotels and car rentals. I use it exclusively to compare flights, but other features may also be useful. As far as the flights are concerned, you only have to enter the departure and the destination as well as the desired dates, and the app will display the options offered by air providers, with combinations from the cheapest to the most expensive. Note that the search offers relevant filters (number of stopovers, arrival and departure time slots, airlines, etc.). The “Explore” tab of the application will give you an overview on the price calendars of destinations, which can be interesting if you have flexible travel dates.
As Google Maps does, AroundMe provides a list of nearby locations and services, but more extensively. Looking for a cash machine, parking, pharmacy, supermarket, petrol station? The app shows those around you by ranking them from nearest to farthest away. It provides addresses, contact details and opening times for each place. You can choose to search from your current location or from a manually-entered address, which can be useful for planning a trip.
This is your ally to move in an unknown city (or a know one!) by public transport. Citymapper tells you the different ways to get from point A to point B with real-time transport information, and allows you to move around like a savvy local under any circumstances. In addition to helping you get to your destination in no time, Citymapper counts the calories you burned, the trees you saved, and the money you saved on the trip. If you are a city dweller, the application will probably be useful in your own city. Because it uses real-time information, this application can not be used offline.
To not master the language of a country you visit can be disabling. To not understand the indications of the locals, the map of the restaurant, billboards, … You can quickly be diverted. Of course, you always try to learn some courtesy formulas before a trip (Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, etc.), but it does not mean you will feel comfortable. Fortunately, the technologies are there to fill the gaps. You probably already know Google Translate, the famous search engine’s translator. There is an app for this feature, which can be very convenient on the road. It allows you to translate any type of support: whether you type text on your phone, voice dictate, record a conversation or take a picture of a text, the application will adapt and translate it. Another handy feature: the app can read out loud the translation of what you want to say. Example: press “voice” and say, “Can you tell me where the train station is?”. If you select the translation into Spanish, you will see on the screen: “¿Me puede indicar dónde está la estación de tren?”. Are you struggling with the accent? Press the speaker icon in front of the translated sentence, your device will read it aloud with a great accent! The app also offers an offline mode that allows you to download the languages you will need. Be careful, do not forget to learn a few words and expressions in the language of the country you visit: besides being much more rewarding for you, you will please the locals.
Once again, it isWeb giant who offers a very practical tool to organize our travels Google Trips is a true travel organizer. Thanks to this app, you can gather in one place all the useful information for a trip and create as many trips as you want. You will be able to add your bookings and the addresses you have found. In the same place, you will find plenty of practical information about the destination (ideas for visiting, how to get around, where to eat, etc.) that you can download for access without connection. I like to plan my travels myself and think outside the box so I’m not the biggest fan of this last feature, but I must admit that it can be very useful to optimize a visit that wouldn’t be prepared beforehand. Note that the app is very comprehensive for big cities, but its content is a bit light for less popular destinations.
This list is not exhaustive. There are many useful apps for traveling. To name a few more: Airbnb to rent an appartment or a room from a private individual, Hotels.com to book hotel rooms, Hopper to find plane tickets at the best price. The list is long and will probably deserve more posts on this topic. I wanted to list here the 8 most useful applications to me, the ones I always use when I travel and that form a complementary set. Feel free to tell me in comments if you already knew them, if you plan to install some of them, or if you are a fan of other travel apps!
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