When we began traveling a few years ago, both Gaz and I, ditched our mobile phones. We had no use for them abroad as travel seemed a bit simpler then, or maybe it was just us. We turned up at a hostel, got a bed and when we were ready to move on we caught a taxi to the bus station and waited for a bus to take us to our next location. We travelled with people and arranged times to meet at certain places, we were free and liberated. Fast forward to 2014 and it’s virtually impossible to travel without an iPhone (well for me it is!) I use it for everything, from finding my way around using Google Maps, to booking accommodation via the airbnb app or booking.com. It’s my alarm clock, my compass, my means of communication to everyone and everything. So as you can see, I’ve developed a slight addiction and this is why I wanted to tell you about the best travel apps!
This is one of the best Augmented Reality browsers out there. By using the camera in your smartphone to view your neighborhood, information will appear on the screen, hovering over relevant locations. Fancy a Thai curry? Just start WAM, type in ‘Thai Food’, hold it up and voila. It will produce numerous little blue boxes detailing each restaurant relevant to your search, spin around and it will show the restaurant according to the direction you’re pointing in. It will tell you how far away you are and you can even click to call, go directly to their website or read user reviews. And it’s not just for restaurants, you can search for banks, petrol stations, doctors, metros and more.
2) Trip Advisor
Eating on the road can make or break a holiday, and can really add value to a long-term trip. When we’re away we love to try all the local delicacies and fresh fruit/veg, from crocodile on a spit in Vietnam to durian from the side of the road in Indonesia. But we do like to eat in nice cafes and restaurants as well, we frequent healthy eating places to fill up on smoothies and falafel, and occasionally we even check out a five-star eatery (when we’re in a country we can afford to do so) I find Trip Advisor is invaluable when figuring out the best places, we’ve found a lot of hidden gems this way including the No.1 place to eat Babi Guling (suckling pig) in Bali, where to find a lasagna in Nicaragua after months of rice and beans, and where to get the best view of Saigon whilst sipping on a delicious strawberry daiquiri.
I searched high and low for a decent weather app. It’s important to have hour by hour information when you’re living in the tropics and trying to judge the best time of day to go surfing or ride a scooter into town. Without a doubt the best weather app is Forecast, not only does it give you an hour by hour weather prediction, which seems to be very accurate, but you can also use the map view to see the satellite map of cloud cover all over the world.
When you’re working online and travelling at the same time, your number one priority becomes the internet. Finding a decent internet connection is much harder than it looks. From our experience it’s often the high-class, expensive accommodation that either doesn’t have a very quick connection, or they charge the earth for it. Cafes are usually the best bet, but that doesn’t help when you’re trying to work at 2am like we usually are. So whenever we move to a new place the very first thing we do is crack out the speedtest.net app. It can be used on mobile dives to test the strength of the network connections, as well as wi-fi connections. It will give you both the download and upload speed and shows you where the server is based, (the further away the server the slower the connection).
The free version of this app includes over 50 languages. However, you can purchase a number of add-ons, including speech recognition. The interface is incredibly easy to use and navigate, and the phrase books are available both on and offline. You can also hear the translated phrases spoken in the native language, giving you the chance to improve your language skills, too.
This one’s not essential but is a personal favourite of mine… Sky View! When you’re travelling don’t forget to make time to check out the stars above you!
Which ones do you rate as the best travel apps?