Travel and new technologies go hand in hand! Using apps can take away a lot of the stress of travel and allow you to spend time on the important things.
Citymapper is a great free resource for when you’re on the ground and need help with shorter journeys such as bus trips or finding a bicycle to hire. The app also allows you to combine different modes of transport to save you extra searching. It’s not in all major cities yet, the majority are in Europe and the Americas, but they are expanding their reach and users can vote on the next city to have Citymapper.
Duolingo and Google Translate
A little bit of language goes a long way! Trying to speak a foreign language will improve your experience with the locals, even if you think you don’t sound so good, they will usually appreciate that you try! Duolingo is a great app for learning a new language from scratch. The app is set up like a game so you can unlock new words and phrases as you improve your skills, making it a fun way to kill time when you’re travelling to your next destination. Google Translate is good for when you’re at your destination and need help with day-to-day translating, and when you want to learn specific phrases. You can type, write, say or take a photo of the phrases you need translated too - this can come in handy if you need to take photos of something that uses a different alphabet!
Once you’ve started to book different parts of your trip, you can upload them to Tripit where you have easy access to everything. It collates all your itineraries into one, easy to manage destination that you can take with you on the go and access even when you’re offline.
Travelling with friends? Avoid awkward money conversations by using Splittr and you’ll never have to worry about whose meal racked up the bill! If you’re keeping a running total of costs on a trip, add everything to the app as you go and let it split costs for you, or allocate certain purchases to the right people. Then, send your friends an “invoice” at the end so they know how much they need to reimburse you! It’s great for travellers on a budget, or group trips.
This one may cause a few sniggers, but you’ll be surprised how often it could come in handy! The app gives you the location of nearby public restrooms, and allows users to rate it good (sit) or bad (squat), so you know what to expect. When you’re exploring a new city and don’t speak the language, you never know when you’ll be in need of a bathroom break and then you won’t be laughing!!!
Along with SitOrSquat, Wifi Map is another app that helps you find one of the most precious resources for the modern day traveller – an internet connection. As the name suggests, the app helps you find the nearest public wifi spots in the area you’re in, whether they’re free or not, and will often have the password for you. This could save you heaps on roaming data fees while you travel and lets you keep your friends and family in the loop with your journey (and give them plenty of travel envy along the way).
Apps to meet other travellers
There are a lot of variations of these apps so it pays to do a bit of research to find one that does exactly what you want. Apps like World Packers, Showaround, On Tribe Wire, Backpackr & Skout help you start a conversation with locals or other travellers, and Meetup and Nearify help you find events and outings for you to participate in. There are even a few dating apps that also work for non-romantic meet-ups, like Badoo or Bumble BFF! Just make sure to use common sense when using these apps, don’t meet with anyone suspicious and arrange to meet in safe places etc.