APP’S and  TECHNOLOGY

We remember the days of travelling through Europe with road maps. This certainly led to a lot of frustration and getting lost was the norm. We have it so easy nowadays with GPS in cars and on our phones. We have come such a long way and so many options our there of applications and technology to make trip planning and travelling a lot easier. Following are some of the applications  and resources that we have used over the last few years, that have indeed made travelling easier.

  1. “GPS” – Apps like “IMaps” or “Google Maps” make travelling by car so much easier.
  2. “OffMaps” – We love this application. It helps you navigate city streets by foot. Prior to leaving on your trip or if you have access to the internet at your destination, you download maps for the cities that you are going to visit. This application uses your phone’s built in GPS, so you can use without incurring roaming charges, ensure you turn the phone function off. You can bookmark locations and it has a built in guide for shopping, restaurants, culture, public transport, hotels, services, etc. Very robust. 
  3. “All Subway”– invaluable for big cities…..Has subway, tram and some railway maps.
  4. “Google Translate”  – A translation application with most languages. The app has a speaker function so you can say a word and it will say the translated version back to you. Also a camera function so that you can take a picture of a written word or phrase and it will tranlate it. 
  5. “Priority Pass” – To find lounges in airports around the world. 
  6. “YELP” – Reviews on restaurants.
  7. “Trip Advisor” – To help find hotels/apartments , restaurants, activities in the area you are visiting. Reviews also included.
  8. “XE Currency” – Currency exchange.
  9. “Tripit” – All your travel plans in once place. You simply forward your air, hotel, tour and transport confirmations to them and they create an itinerary. You can also enter information manually.
  10. “DropBox” – A cloud storage box. I have several documents saved up to our drop box. One is a word protected document with all our user names and passwords for various websites and copies of passports and credit cards.
  11. “UBER” – Taxi service
  12. “Weather” – A must!
  13. “Travel Books” – Yes, still refer to travel books. I usually pick these up from the library when I start planning for a trip. A great reference guide. I love the recommended 3, 4 ,7 day itineraries in some of these books. Also invaluable information, for example, when travelling by car in Austria, Slovenia and other countries, a “vignette – travel pass” is required for your vehicle; takes place of a tolls. Also a good reference for what neighbourhoods to stay in when staying in  large cities.
  14. Gale Travel Collection E-Books” – These “Eyewitness” travel books are free for download from the Public Library. I download chapters of interest, so I can then refer to them during our travels. No time limit on these downloads. 
  15. Netflix” – Available now in most countries. Also allows one to download shows and series prior to leaving…..just in case you don’t like the inflight entertainment!
  16. “Global Greeter Network” – A network of individuals around the world who take pride in their cities and conduct free tours – one on one…no big crowds! Need to book a couple of weeks ahead.
  17. Local City Applications”  – I always refer to local city tourism sites, invaluable for what is going on in the city you are visiting. Another example is the local “Transport” information. Most cities with transit systems will have a section where you can input your starting and destination points. They will then tell you what bus/tram/metro to catch and at what time, invaluable. 
  18. “Language Applications” – “Mango” a  language course is available free of charge from the library. Lots on the internet as well. If you are going to be in a county or city for a good length of time, don’t overlook taking local language courses. When in Bueno Aries, we took a Spanish course, led by a local. We would go to grocery stores, pharmacies, take the metro, learn how to order in restaurants…it was a great way to learn. 
  19. Library Books” – I usually download e-books from the library before we leave. If taking a long car trip, I download audio books onto my ipad and play them through the car audio system using bluetooth, passes the time. 

I will continue to update this as I discover new  applications and aids to travelling.