15 year's ago doing my job you would have had a atlas in the car - and probably an AA book of hotels. Now I'm usually in a destination and just program the car or my phone to my next meeting and can in the worst case book my hotel sat outside it on my phone via Apps. Now of course I always try and plan better than that - but just sometimes those events come together meaning that's needed!! These are some of my favourite app's that I use for my daily life in business. I'm missing the obvious one's like What's App and things like Air BnB, Google Maps, Uber, Trip Advisor etc that everyone uses. It's more perhaps the slightly less used one's that I hope people might find useful? Read below to find my Top 10 Travel Apps.
I'm not one to stick to checking every exchange rate going - but this is a must for any seasoned traveller to at least have a feel for the market before you go. XE is the go-to site for currency conversions on the web, so it’s no surprise that its app is my choice. You can watch how much your pound is to the Euro (or not in the real world) and it's best selling point ahead of other app converters is that it will give you the "going" rate for every world currency (even those really obscure one's no one really ever need's - see right!) It also saves the last updated rates when it talked to the servers, which is great if you’re trying to save on data in far flung parts of the world!
I love Kayak as an App. To be honest I first came across it some year's ago when trying to sort flights out between some far flung places, but since then I've used it solidly for booking both hotels and more looking at what flights I can get where. It sometimes has exclusive deals that won't be found elsewhere on the web and it does have the option to set up price alerts if you're waiting for that flight to drop by a tenner! Kayak also let's you organise all your travel information in one place, keeping you up to date on things like Gate or flight changes along with booking confirmation numbers. All in all a very useful tool to have on your phone or tablet!
AroundMe is just one of those useful apps when you get into a town at 8pm. Hungry and want some food but honestly can't be bothered to walk for miles on the hotel recommendation you just want to quickly look and go with a name you know. Of course food isn't the only thing you can source - but that's what I use it for the most and also looking for the nearest petrol stations when I play Russian Roulette with the fuel tank! Clicking on any link will take you to things like opening times, website etc... You can look at it on a map and work out if you really can be bothered to walk or in fact if the room service is actually a better bet in the first place...
So Glympse is a bit stalkery - but you do have to let your stalker have your information! Yes things like Facebook's messenger allows you to "share" your location with your friends but just sometimes on work trips you are with people you don't want as your friend on social media or you are meeting people for the first time. Glympse solves this - it allows you to share your location to anyone for a specific time frame. They can track your movements and get an estimated arrival time, allowing for traffic etc.. You can limit your "sharing" time, so when you share with your boss your location - he doesn't need to know you went to that nightclub...
I've had a Sat Nav in my car's now for about 5 years. It's really a feature that I can't do without with the amount of miles that I do yearly. However Waze offer's you something different. Yes of course it get's you from A to B but it offers from the crowd sourced data a much more realistic information than the "traffic updates" that most in built car sat nav's offer. Things like Police at the side of the road, accidents, blockages etc.. It also offer's integration with other app's such as your diary - advising you when you need to leave a place to get to your next meeting on time. You can also (in the same way as Glympse) share your route and see how your buddy is doing on their journey. Given the fact that Google bought Waze in 2013 you can expect more integration to follow as Goole takes over our lives!
Ok so City Mapper isn't an everyday App for me. Yes it's growing on a daily basis and it's information database is getting better - but it doesn't replace the likes of Google Maps or other similar map apps. However what it does do is if you are heading to one of the worlds larger cities it allows you so much information on how, where, cheapest, simplest routes for A to B. Although I don't live in London I would say I know it quite well and how to get where I need to - but with City Mapper it takes that knowledge to another level and offers real time information, delays and issues (have you tried London in rush hour?!) so when in my head it's probably easier for the underground and 3 changes, City Mapper actually sometimes says take a bus which is direct. Very useful.
Yes I know. I said that I wouldn't do any of those "standard" type apps. But I think this one is probably one of the less "known" google products. I always if travelling abroad try and learn a few words that I might find useful. Given that I didn't even pass GCSE French - my ability in this is usually somewhat questionable... However Google Translate helps with that. Added features of being able to download up to about 50 languages so that you can use them off line as well as take photos and the app will translate make it a must have for any traveller!
TripIt is basically like a Filofax (who remembers them) for all your holiday and travel plans. It pulls together all your data and travel information in one place. Things like the flight plans, car bookings etc can all be emailed to them and it will collate that information. You can share this information with work colleagues, or family and it will sync up with your diary to put in the bookings along side any appointments that you might have in there already.
So we all have used Last Min.com, or Expedia, or Booking.com or you name it. However I love this little app for all those times when I get asked by work to go somewhere "tonight" or I've got to stay somewhere local as work has over run. You don't need the hassle of the main "players" searching for everything in 2 weeks time. You just need tonight and local. It brings you offers of local hotels, discounted rates, reviews of what's on offer and a 3 step simple process to booking. Yes you can't perhaps use your points from the hotel chains - but when it's just a bed for the night - who actually cares?
I use the Met office app when in the UK for the most accurate weather information - but outside the UK I've always struggled to get the data needed for that 10 day trip abroad that I can rely on. However a recent download on this App helped no end in this. They pride themselves with the most up to date information and the most accurate information. It offers information on both the long term and short term plus also radar images (if you like that level of detail!) Not much more to say about a weather app - but it's very very good!
I hope you find some of my Top 10 Travel Apps suggestions useful? Which app's do you use all the time?
If you have enjoyed reading this post why don't you have a look at my guide to New York on a budget?