Whether it’s the shivering cold, the extra thinking time or the advent of 2018, there’s something about this time of year that gets us thinking about broadening our horizons, guzzling on fresh experiences – or just simply sitting somewhere warm and not thinking about spreadsheets. If your new year’s resolution is to forge fresh footprints […]
Whether it’s the shivering cold, the extra thinking time or the advent of 2018, there’s something about this time of year that gets us thinking about broadening our horizons, guzzling on fresh experiences – or just simply sitting somewhere warm and not thinking about spreadsheets.
If your new year’s resolution is to forge fresh footprints in the rest of the world, here are some great apps to help you plan your trip and make the most of every second once you get there.
For hunting down the cheapest flights: Skyscanner
While there are many apps to help you find deals on flights, hotels and car hire, none of them can offer Skyscanner’s heady thrill of tracking them as they get cheaper and cheaper (or breaking our hearts as they creep back up).
If you’re just at the planning stage, searching by month and even year means you’ll see the cheapest days and times to fly – you can then set alerts on those flights to keep you in the loop when the price changes. Our tip: search by separate single flights rather than enter a return journey into search – quite often this leads to even bigger savings…
For managing money: Revolut
Have you ever come back from your travels only to get a credit card bill that makes your jaw drop? It’s the exchange fees, darling – they’re simply too, too much. And you don’t need us to tell you how bad an idea it is to roam around with a bumbag full of readies.
Revolut is a great app that lets you charge up a pre-pay Mastercard with multiple, separate currencies (120 to date) at the best possible exchange rates and no fees. When it comes to scraping the cash together for holidays, the card is a handy place to keep it separate until the time comes to book flights or pay for accommodation.
Stay on top of your spending with instant balance updates, and split the bill on purchases so you and your travelling companion never get it twisted over expenses. You can even get an emergency backup card to take with you and keep in a safe place – a much better option than putting your holiday on hold until a replacement gets couriered to you.
For deciphering other lanuages: Google Translate
While this app will be invaluable once you’re at your destination, but it’ll most certainly help you navigate non-English websites in the meantime. Draw a character with your finger to get an explanation of what it means, or snap a picture with your phone’s camera for instant text translation.
Once you’ve touched down, you’ll be able to get by in 32 languages with 2-way instant speech translation. Yep – hold that phone out, and you and a non-English speaker can chew the fat with very few errors. No signal? You can still get translations of 59 languages with no data.
For virtual exploring: Streetography
If your travelling feet are already itchin’, you can get to grips with your intended destination by wandering around its highways and byways via the crowdsourced snaps of Streetography.
See something you like – a relaxed-looking park, a quirky café or a cool beach bar? You can zoom in on that exact area to get a rich, layered portrait of what locals and visitors alike are really getting up to in that area. And once you’ve finally made it there, you’ll be able to add your own contributions to that map. Gotta pay it forward, people.
For peace of mind: a mid-priced phone
Is your existing blower pretty darn fancy? Top-of-the-range handsets and beaches, heights and unfamiliar streets sometimes don’t mix. When it comes to enjoying all that snapping and sharing we recommend looking at a cheaper handset to take on your trip. Read this roundup of 3 handsets that can handle your requirements but won’t break the bank if they’re damaged, lost or stolen.
For luxury layovers: Dayuse
So you’ve got to the phase of travel planning that calls for some attention to detail. Check and double-check everything at this point, unless you want to book your hotel a clear month early (so you’ve missed the whole thing when you arrive), or order that second plane ticket in your ex’s name by accident (the struggle is real). And if you have connecting flights to sort in your itinerary, you’re going to need Dayuse.
If you just LOVE chilling in rigid airport seats with a cold and unappealing €7 sandwich, then read on to the next tip. Otherwise, have a look at this app, which offers up to 75% off the normal overnight stay price of hotels for more limited periods of use – perfect when you have 6 hours to kill between flights and would appreciated a hot shower and a nap.
For unique experiences: Airbnb
Travelling solo? If you’re not a sunbed limpet, it can be tricky to figure out how to keep busy in an unfamiliar location. But don’t fret – Airbnb isn’t just for nabbing great priced, individual accommodation (or perving over budget-busting luxury penthouses). The recent addition of their Experiences feature lets you browse and book all the things you could do once you’ve arrived at your destination.
Bit of an Action Jackson? Head out on guided tours and bike rides (you can even hike an LA canyon with a rescue dog). Social butterflies can join locally-organised nights out and foodies can enjoy authentic cuisine; creative types can lose themselves in one-on-one crafts lessons or photography workshops. Your only struggle will be deciding what to leave out on your trip.
For keeping it all together: Google Trips
So now you’ve got everything booked: the train to the airport, the flights, the transfers, the accomodation and the car hire. Phew. Now to spend the next 5 hours compiling everything into a special folder – unless you have Google Trips, that is.
This amazing app delves into your confirmation emails and sucks all the vital bits of info out, then puts it all together into a clear, usable travel itinerary that you can access whenever you need it – even if you’re offline. It then uses your location to chuck in a wealth of recommended attractions, so you’re never stuck for ideas.
For feeling at home: Go Roam
The final thing you should line up before jetting off is Go Roam, which lets Three customers use their phones in 71 destinations (and counting; this number is growing all the time) without any roaming charges. You’ll be able to check flights, navigate unfamiliar cities and find emergency hotel rooms, just as you would in the UK.
And even if you’re with another network, a Three Pay As You Go SIM with a Go Roam add-on could let you enjoy the same freedom of Facebooking, Insta-sharing and Google Mapping for the duration of your trip.