Turn your phone into the ultimate travelling machine by installing these travel apps.
Apps for traveling. About 15 years ago I went traveling for the first time. I did not have an email address and digital cameras, GPS and cell phones did not exist yet. I don’t know how we managed to travel without all these gizmos wrapped into one little pocket sized tool, the smart phone.
The most important applications for traveling are related to communication, navigation, transport, finances, accommodation, news and entertainment and I will quickly discuss the ones I use the most. All the Apps discussed are available to download for free.
Travel Apps I use the most often:
Mapps.me, Google Maps, Google Translate, Booking.com, Currency XE
To see the potential of this app play a little game: see how to get from the town where you were born to your current location. The output is different options for this complete journey including time and price.
Discover how to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, ferry and automobile. Works out all transport options for a selected route with links to appropriate websites.
Uber is a convenient safe taxi service. You can hire a private driver to pick you up and take you to your destination with the tap of a button on your phone – and they’ll be there in minutes.
It is an on-demand car service and you can see exactly where the driver is when they’re coming to pick you up. The app works well anywhere in the world and in all cities that I have checked there is always an uber driver about 10 minutes away. Uber is not dirt cheap, more or less taxi prices and almost always more expensive than public transport.
- Finding the cheapest flights across most airlines between most destinations for any dates.
- Buy tickets online with your credit card.
Select to and from where you want to fly, if you need one way or return tickets and your dates. If you selected the month in blue, top right hand corner you can check flights for the whole month, if you do this you will get bar graphs for each day, click on the appropriate day to check for flight details, even if it does not show a flight.
- TIP – What I usually do is if I find an airline that flies a route that I am interested in for a good price, I search this airline’s website for cheap flights and often find the best deals this way. After selecting a flight Skyscanner reroutes you to the appropriate airline’s website where you can buy a ticket with your credit card. For a couple of months I had a banking problem and could not use my card online, I used Skyscanner to find cheap flights and then went to a travel agent to bargain for the same price. .
There are many flight search engines KAYAK and HOPPER are popular, I find SKYSCANNER to give me by far the best results.
FlightAware Flight Tracker allows you to track the real-time status and the tracking map of any commercial flight worldwide
This is an awesome navigation app, it works completely offline so no internet connection needed. Download the map for the appropriate country while connected to wifi. No internet connection needed for navigation again. The maps originate from Open Source Street Maps and are detailed from big cities to small villages, even dirt roads and trails on many hikes that we did in South America were included! I have used this app when we got a little lost in the bush more than once. You can search offline for many sights, hotels, restaurants, transport etc. There is always the option to switch to a normal compass, which can be handy on a boat or in the bush. The maps are between 20 and 150 meg in size. Large countries are covered by more than one map.
Other popular Offline Navigation Apps: NAVMII, SYGIC
Functions: Find any destination or address, online or offline navigation while driving or walking to your selected destination, step by step public transport navigation
There is a big difference between using this app while you are online and offline.
ONLINE it is the same as any Garmin/TomTom GPS that you use in your car, selecting a destination and getting turn by turn navigation being rerouted if you make a mistake.
OFFLINE there is no turn by turn navigation; there is a map to your destination with a dot representing you moving on a map as you move. While you are connected to the internet via wi fi search in the search bar, choose destination followed by mode of transport. The map of your route will appear, zoom in enough that you can identify streets, if you are covering a long distance and only need details surrounding your destination, zoom this part in for sufficient detail, then zoom out again to use the whole map. Now you can lose the internet connection following the blue dot representing yourself on the map.
Offline navigation is possible with Google maps, you can only download certain map areas, not a whole country.
Uses your GPS and google maps to show you bars, atm’s, coffee shops and more located around you. It also shows you the weather at your current location
Send free messages or make free calls to other users while online. I found call quality to be better with Whatsapp than Skype. Currently the app that I use the most while on the road. Since so many people have smart phones and whats app I can phone anybody while connected to wifi ‘for free’.
Functions: skype call to another skype user, normal phone calls, and video messages.
– talk for free to other users
– make a phone call whenever you have Wi-Fi. Loading skype credit from your credit card allows you to dial any phone nr anywhere in the world for the fraction of the cost of an international call; you thus don’t need roaming or even a sim card to make phone calls, only a Wi-Fi connection.
– Sending video messages from great locations can be very nice, the beach, mountains- use your imagination! You don’t need any connection, yet. When you are at cool location, send a video to a selected contact, if you do not have internet, the message will send when you are connected to wifi again.
Finding and booking accommodation anywhere,
- comparing different establishments and
- arranging accommodation according to price, rating or distance.
- Rating and commenting on accommodation after your stay,
- in short a peer review system for finding and ranking accommodation.
- This is another indispensable app, it can be used to find anything from camping to 5 star luxury accommodations. After your stay you can rate your place and write comments that can be seen by other users. Since travellers select hostels based on ratings, owners are very serious about good ratings resulting in better service and accommodation.
- Select your destination and dates, if you are looking for a dormitory I usually search for 1 guest. We arrange according to price and choose the cheapest place with a good rating, never below 7.
- This site usually asks for credit card details, saying 10% deposit will be charged, to my experience your card is very seldom charged, they keep details and in case you don’t show up they charge you for a night’s accommodation. I try to avoid hotels that require credit card details, many places say in green font ‘no credit card required’, if there is some problem with your card e.g. no money in a debit card, according to Booking.com rules the hostel must give you 24 hours’ notice before they are allowed to cancel your booking. Once you make a booking you receive a confirmation email with a Googlemaps link to the establishment. I prefer to find the address and search for it in Googlemaps.
This app is similar to Booking.com, but only for Hostels, thus places with a dormitory and a kitchen. A big difference is Hostelworld always charges a 10% deposit and your credit card details is thus required, the full rate will be charged if you do not show up.
I often use Booking or Hostelworld to find accommodation without making a booking, since you can see on the app how many beds are available you can just show up without a booking.
Airbnb is a room letting application. Airbnb users include hosts and travelers: hosts list and rent out their unused spaces, and travelers search for and book accommodations in 192 countries worldwide. You can find very interesting accommodation and at a wide budget range.
This app can be used to get free accommodation from other couchsurfers anywhere in the world. The app is user friendly; you need a profile to use this site, it is easy to create one. The idea behind couchsurfing is not only free accommodation, but to meet some local people, share stories and experience different cultures. We have had some amazing experiences couchsurfing in many different countries and I can highly recommend it.
Amazing phrase app, can pronounce your phrase of choice in 13 languages. Intuitive categories with menus. This app can be used to learn a language.
The other cool application is avoiding all hand signals, charades and guessing how to pronounce words in a strange foreign language. Go through the easy navigation, intuitive picture menu and let the app clearly pronounce in your language of choice that you are vegetarian or that you will require an extra bed in your room.
Translate between 103 languages by typing, taking a photo of text or speaking.
Amazing app, the voice recognition is excellent. This really makes it possible to speak to anyone!
• Offline: Translate 52 languages when you have no Internet
• Take a photo and translate text instantly in 29 languages
A very handy app for finding ratings of accommodation, restaurants and things to do by other travellers. If you want to see if a sight, hotel or place is interesting, fun, beautiful or what other travellers thought you can find it on tripadvisor. You can search for things closest to you or for something specific. You can also add your own ratings.
I use Youtube a lot while traveling to look at videos of beaches, dive sites, surf spots, just about any site you can imagine. Since so many people travel with a Go Pro there are non-professional videos of anything you can imagine online, giving you a good idea of what it really looks like.
A currency exchange app that allows you to choose 10 currencies at a time, enter an amount in one currency, see the appropriate exchange in the other 9 currencies, change currencies as needed. You can use the app when offline, but exchange rate is updated to the current rate whenever you use it online.
See the time in 10 countries at a time.
Tide table, surf prediction (swell size, wind etc) for many beaches arounded the world
very handy app turning your phone into a torch instantaneously.
Uses your selfie camera to turn your phone into a mirror, handy for shaving and I am sure for checking make-up.
I often need to sign documents and email a copy somewhere; this is a great app for using the camera in your phone as a scanner. Save the pages as a PDF and save or mail it.
Can watch GoPro videos directly from your GoPro (connects via wi fi)
South African news app, I usually open and update the app while I have wi fi and then read my “newspaper” when I take public transport.
Nice for learning any foreign language on the go.
ALL RUGBY SA
Obviously a good app to follow all national and international rugby scores and stats is very important.
Built by instagram this video app makes short, action-packed video loops – cool and fun.
Select photos and instantly get an awesome video slideshow.
Many options to customize and make it personal.
Multi-function photo application – Edit, Beauty, Special Effects, Stickers
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