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.
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.
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.
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!