As I continue traveling, I realize that I am becoming more and more dependent on my smartphone. Being a travel blogger means that I have to post updates on my social media on the go, and that I must rely on my phone to keep on top of the many emails I receive every day.
Come to think of it, nowadays all travelers use their phones when traveling. Whatsapp is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends; Google Maps is indispensable to find the way to the hotel; airlines have their own app that allow to check in and avoid having to print the boarding pass.
Adding to the list of must-have apps for travelers, there’s now an updated version of TravelSmart, which has recently been launched by Allianz, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Pity that the updated version has just been released – my sister would have saved herself a lot of hassle if she could have used it during her trip to Africa in October, when she had to make several claims for her lost luggage.
Why TravelSmart Is the Ultimate, Unmissable App For Travelers
What makes TravelSmart indispensable for frequent travelers? One sentence sums it up quite well: it’s easy. It’s easy to use, and it makes traveling and even dealing with emergency situations easy.
But, in more details, here’s why I like it.
Through TravelSmart I can access real-time flight information. I just have to add my flight info using the “My Trips” feature, and then I only have to go to it to check the flight status and even the departure gate. Considering I am constantly hopping from one flight to the other, this comes in very handy.
TravelSmart allows me to easily access my insurance policy. I can then confirm my insurance coverage and check my benefits. But there’s more: I can manage my policy, I can file a claim (how cool is that?) and easily add documents through the app. I can check the status of a claim, and even select how I want the claim to be paid. No more bouncing from site to email, from email to phone calls – it is all there, in one place.
One of the great things about TravelSmart is that it uses geolocation, which means the app always knows where users are. This allows it to offer a bunch of other features.
The home screen of TravelSmart allows users to call any country’s emergency number via the Global Emergency Numbers feature. And the Assistance Around Me feature has a hospital locator that also includes doctor’s offices, pharmacies, police stations and (for United States nationals) even the contacts of U.S. Embassy offices. It even offers full directions to the required facility via the integrated Apple Maps.
There’s also a Contact Us button on the home screen that puts travelers in touch with Allianz Global Assistance medical assistance or customer service from any country in the world.
As if this was not enough, the app doesn’t just list health care facilities recommended by Allianz Global Assistance, but also non-recommended ones. It’s super useful for those travelers that end up in smaller, isolated places – as it happened to me when I injured myself in Jordan, for example. That time I relied on the tip of a friend who warned me that the small village where I was staying had a clinic, or else I would have had to drive for a few hours to Amman.
Last (but definitely not least) my favorite feature: TravelSmart translates a bunch of first aid terms from English to 18 foreign languages – it is super useful in those countries where I don’t speak the local language. TravelSmart also has the universal name for more than 750 common medications, which is very useful when going to the pharmacy when we are traveling.
TravelSmart is totally free of charge and it is available in the App Store.
“Not another social media!” I thought, when I heard of Pepo.
For someone who has to use social media on her every day life, for work purposes, I really was not looking forward to yet another platform. Other travel bloggers like myself had been using it for months, but I was reluctant.
Then curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to give it a try. And contrary to all my expectations, I really like it.
Before I explain what I love about Pepo, let me provide a bit of background information. The name, Pepo, comes from the words “people” and “passions.” There are thousands of users, and Pepo is currently focussing on growing the number of active and engaged users. This means that every day, many many people log in to Pepo to share their stories, their lives and to interact with others. Interaction is the key word here!
Now, back to my experience.
Strictly Travel on Pepo
Strictly Travel on Pepo
Once I downloaded the app (which is completely free!), I created a profile and later on my own channel, which I called “Strictly Travel.” I then started posting pictures of Sardinia, which is where I am based and where I am spending the summer, and within a very short time, people started stopping by my channel, viewed my posts and expressed appreciation and comments.
By the way, the appreciation emojis are really fun – they change automatically depending on what the post is, and they can also be manually set.
But that’s only one of the many great features of Pepo.
This is what my profile looks like on Pepo
One of the features I like the most is the “live questions and answers” which allows me to show my followers that I am online for a specific amount of time (from a minimum of 15 minutes to a maximum of 4 hours) and they are free to ask me any question. It’s a nice way to get more intimate and spontaneously interact with the travelers community.
A follower asked me a question on Pepo
A fun feature is the “spotlight.” This consists of a short video that can stay live for up to 24 hours, much like Instagram stories or Snapchat (which I admit I have never used). I have used the spotlight feature to show the incredible beaches of Sardinia. Combining various videos is a nice way to give a fuller picture of the location.
The spotlight feature is one of my favorite on Pepo
What I really like about Pepo as opposed to other apps and even as opposed to a blog is that I am not limited to posting on my own profile and channel, but I am allowed to post on others too – pending approval, unless the channel is public. That means a lot more interaction, and a lot of useful tips for travelers. There’s channels completely dedicated to city views; to regions such as Europe, India or Nepal; many dedicated to food; and much more.
What differentiates Pepo from other social media and messaging apps is that it doesn’t focus on people I already know; but it connects me to people that have interests similar to mine, and if I want to, I can interact with them freely. On the other hand, though, I can also create private, secret chats with my followers.
Pepo channels – there’s mine and some others I follow
Pepo for bloggers
As a blogger, I find Pepo to be a great way to connect and interact more spontaneously with people who follow my blog. I can share pictures, links, videos and what not, and love the fact that people engage with whatever I post and interact with me.
Overall, I find Pepo to be the perfect mixture between the most famous social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and a blog. And it is all in one app – I don’t have to constantly switch from one to the other!
Now it is time to head over to Strictly Travel on Pepo, and start following my adventures. And if you start your own channel, send me an invite!
This post is written in cooperation with Pepo. All the views expressed are my own.
I admit it – I have yet to make the transition into the digital era when it comes to travel. I still carry around a heavy guidebook (I guess it goes back to me being an unsuccessful backpacker), more because I like reading the background information about the country I am visiting than for the actual need for finding hotels through that. Besides I like paper books, I like the whole flipping through pages thing, and I still refuse the idea of reading a book on a screen.
Yet, I have to admit that as of late I have had to rely on some travel apps, and on a few occasions they have literally saved my neck (ok, perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea). This is to say that although I am not an app freak, there’s a few that I like using and find very useful.
So, here’s my ultimate travel apps list – in no particular order:
I say, keep it basic. I know most people will laugh at me for even just considering this a travel app, but I love maps because it gives detailed information on how to get from one place to another either by car, public transport or walking. It’s easy to follow, it screams at me if I am going in the wrong direction, and if I save the map I can use it offline too.
I sure was glad to have it when I arrived in Varanasi and the taxi dropped me outside the Old City. I don’t think I would have ever managed to navigate the intricate tiny alleys to get to my guest house without.
Google Maps saved me from getting lost in Varanasi
Trip.com is what happens when the community gives back and when a fantastic team of people is dedicated to help travelers to have a better experience. It’s a series of reviews, organized in short yet juicy guides, where to find the best in terms of attractions, hotels and restaurants. The guides are organized by tribes (there are a whopping 19 tribes), so that budget travelers, family travelers, backpackers, luxury travelers etc can all find what they are looking for. Trip.com can also be used to make reservations.
In search of the best food in Israel with Bite Mojo
This is one app that I hope will get exported to many cities. I have had the opportunity to use it in Jerusalem. Bite Mojo allows people to organize their own self guided food tours – they can select the places they want to visit from the list, they can even select what they want to eat in each place, and they can set their own pace. If food is part of the culture of a country, Bite Mojo certainly helps a lot in getting to know a destination.
Go Euro is the go-to Rail Planner app when traveling around Europe, as it allows to find the cheapest, fastest and best travel options either by bus, train or plane across the continent. What I like about it is that it allows me to compare the companies for any route I may be searching for, and then it gives me the best price. And there is a great customer service that is always ready to help if any issue arises. The app is both available on Google Play and on the App Store.
I read reviews before I book a hotel
This is the one app that I always recommend using with a grain of salt. Anybody can writes reviews on Trip Advisor so it can happen that some particularly bad ones are written to hit a business, or that some incredibly good ones are written by the owners or their relatives. Yet, as with everything, truth lays in the middle and Trip Advisor, with its millions of reviews and listings, which are always up to day, is a great place to find useful information about restaurants, hotels, attractions, and even to ask question to the community of travelers. It’s my go to for a last minute check on where to eat.
As a traveler, I spend a good share of time in airports in between flights. Some provide free wifi for an unlimited amount of time; but most put a time limit to wifi access, or demand fees that go from slightly expensive to ridiculous. That’s why I love WiFox, a super cool app created by the incredibly smart blogger Anil Polat. This is a regularly updated map of wireless passwords from airports and lounges from around the world, that Anil managed to put together thanks to the information provided by travelers and airport staff (pilots and so on).
Not exactly a travel app, but why should I not consider it such? Created with specific intentions in mind, Tinder developed to be an interesting platform. As it follows the movements of its members, that means that Tinder will know if I am in my hometown or in Tel Aviv, and this way it has the potential of putting me in touch with locals, wherever that may be. And there’s no better way than getting to know a place through the eyes of a local. Sure, a local may not necessarily be the best tour guide but he will surely know where to go to have a drink, and that is a great part of traveling!
Do you have a favorite app that you use while you travel? Let me know in the comments below!