TRAVEL APPS THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR TRAVELS (excuse the hyperbole)
How does one find out where to go, where to stay, where the best local gigs are hiding and seamlessly decipher lingo essentials these days? Well, I’ll tell you. The answer is literally yours at the touch of a button. Yep. An app on your smartphone. What used to take hours, now takes minutes, and you can chuck that phrase “sleep on it” in the bin and chuck on your “let’s go” jumper from the wash instead.
I’ve trialled many an adventure app in my time and it is through this trial and error that I’ve found my top 5 that I can’t live without. And I thought I’d share them with you…
In no particular order:
When it comes to finding the best prices for flights, I look to none other than this state of the art search engine and app. Whether you’re searching for flights from London to Australia or you’re simply trying to get from Ukraine to Poland, Skyscanner will find the best prices available for you! And what’s even better, you don’t even have to know where you’re going … you can literally just play flight roulette. What’s flight roulette I hear you ask. Its kinda a fun little game I like to play when I have a week off from work and no plans in my planner. Basically, to play, you just pop in the dates you’re available, then select ‘everywhere’ as your destination and ‘cheapest month and voila! Book away and hope for the best! That’s how I managed to discover unreal places like Montenegro and Poland and I encourage everyone to try it if you’re open to new experiences and unravelling some of the finest unearthed treasures this world has to offer!
*I lied when I said no particular order. Skyscanner is literally the seed from which my adventures blossom and I’d be lost (well, more so than usual) without it.
The Packpoint app is a great way of ensuring that you have everything that you need for your upcoming trip, whether that is a weekend away, a family adventure or a business trip. This innovative app takes a packing list to the next level by actually suggesting to you the things that you ought to be taking on your trip. You tell the app where you are going, what you are doing, and for how long, and it does the rest!
The app will then suggest the types and amounts of clothing (and other things like chargers etc.) that it thinks you should be taking based upon the weather and your plans. You can edit this list to take out things you don't need and add others to make sure that everything is covered. Then, as you pack, you simply tick off what you have popped in your bag.
I like this app because it’s a useful way to quickly and efficiently put together a packing list for all types of holidays. And it lets me plan my list during some down time at work or waiting for my takeaway to be ready!
Now all they have to do is design a way for the app to actually pack your bags for you…
I love being outdoors and am always looking for new and interesting places to explore! This is where the AllTrails app has been a very handy tool in my appkit. AllTrails is the main app I use to find and plan new hikes. It has a simple interface that allows you to explore by location or show trails near you. It also has filters, so you can make sure it shows you trails that are suitable for dogs and/or kids and is not going to stretch your fitness level and time constraints. For most trails, you will find maps, waypoints, reviews, geotagged photos, and links to driving directions.
If you create an AllTrails account, you can “favourite” trails and save them for later. I use this feature to create lists of hikes I want to do, then I go when I have the time or I’ve been blessed with a day off. A little caveat is that you can only use the maps offline if you fork out thirty bucks (US) and upgrade to the premium version. I have internet data I can use in most places but did find this to be a bit of a spanner when we ventured to Canada recently! You can get around this by downloading a version of google maps that you can use offline and navigate that way … or just pay the price to go premium. Up to you!
4. HOSTELWORLD & AIRBNB
Accommodation is necessary no matter where you go. Unless you plan on pitching up a tent and calling yourself a wild camper for the night (which is very possible in many places around the world and something I love doing). Its true to say that we all have our little go to hotspots where we book somewhere to rest our bones. My go to is either hostelworld or Airbnb. Which one I choose mostly depends on who I’m travelling with, whether I’m travelling solo or with friends, what I want my trip to look like or, sometimes, it simply bubbles down to budget.
Let’s first chat about hostelworld.
Staying in hostels can be the best way to travel the world, especially if you are travelling solo. Hostelworld is an intuitive app that lets you go with the flow and book on the go. It’s flexibility let’s you find the best hostels for meeting new people, partying, relaxing, doing necessary backpacker top ups like washing or cooking a meal (consisting of real vegetables) in a self-catering kitchen, whilst also providing transparent information about pricing, dorm capacities, hostel extras and suggestions for things to see and do in your chosen location.
And now for airbnb.
The idea behind Airbnb is that you get to live like a local. Airbnb lets you rent individual rooms, couches, or an entire apartment from locals. It’s like a happy medium between hostels and hotels. Plus, if you stay with local hosts, you’ll get the social aspect of hostels without the manky shower curtains that stick to you in the shower and the unruly hooligans drunkenly stumbling back from a wild night out and rummaging to find something unnecessary in their bag at three in the morning. The Airbnb app does everything the website does but at the tip of your fingers. I find it to super handy to contact hosts using the app and you can set up notifications so you don’t miss a thing!
So picking five apps turned out to be much harder than originally anticipated. But, I thought I’d sneak this one in here for those who like to keep track of their money and avoid returning to reality with a debt following fast behind them.
5. TRAIL WALLET
Trail wallet is an easy travel expense tracker. It just takes the headache out of keeping track of your expenses. You can manage your expenses by trip or by month, set on a daily budget, and easily add expenses. When you get a bill or receipt, just pull out your iPhone and add the amount using the pretty self-explanatory buttons. It’s simple and easy to use and I’d recommend it for places where you did have a set budget or countries where you’re using a different currency and exchanging between different currencies is confusing and time consuming.
And those are my top five suggestions for you. And although I use these apps on 95-100% of my trips, it is worth mentioning that I do use other apps (such as hotels.com and then various photo editing apps such as vsco) and am always on the search for other ones that will add to the overall experience of my adventures. I hope that you find some benefit in one, a few or all of these suggestions and they add value to your own adventure bank on your future travels!