As any devoted traveller will tell you, once the travel bug bites, there’s no remedy. From the hardened backpacker to the casual sunshine seeker, we all have one eye on our next adventure. There’s usually a fair amount of planning and research needed in advance; time that could be more productively spent shopping for your new swimming trunks. With new travel apps appearing every week, there’s never been a better time to grab your passport, and head to the airport with minimal fuss.
Before you go…
With 100 million downloads on Android alone, The TripAdvisor app has been universally accepted as the globe’s go-to travel guide. Search by location, accommodation type, and price to choose the perfect destination, before browsing the millions of user reviews to receive invaluable advice. With search and navigation functions for local transport, restaurants, and attractions, it’s like having your very own tour-guide in your pocket.
Getting you there…
Airports can be stressful places, but Flight Track 5 can help with the hassle of boarding your flight. Now in its fifth generation, this app will set you back about three quid, but really does set itself apart from the free alternatives. Not just functional, but visually arresting too, you can check for flight times, delays, cancelations, gate updates and alternative departures, all across stunning live wallpaper that may just inspire your next booking.
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Once you’ve arrived…
Communicating with the local population can prove to be an issue. As British travellers, we’re hard-wired to assume that anywhere we go, folks are likely to speak English. Think again. If you don’t have time to immerse yourself in a phrase book, then Google Translate is the next best thing. Covering 80 different languages from Afrikaans to Zulu, just converse naturally through the app, and let Google Translate do the rest.
Learning your way around a new town or city can take a while, and hunting out what you fancy can be time consuming. Trip Advisor is great for bars and restaurants, but what if your search is a little more refined? Perhaps you want to find the nearest used bookshop, or to debut those new trunks at the closest water park? Help is at hand, in the form of Foursquare. Just tell Foursquare your tastes, then let it point you in the right direction. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, rate your discovery to receive future recommendations. With reviews and insider tips from previous visitors, you’re sure of local knowledge even in the most far-flung location.
With** Foursquare** installed, you’re ready to go on the hunt for whatever you need. But what about those local gems that you’ve happened upon by chance? Half the fun of exploring a new place is your own personal discoveries, and with Pin Drop you can push virtual pins into a GPS map to mark your findings. Record locations for future visits, or create a course to share with friends, this app lets you retrace your steps like a 21st century Hansel and Gretel.
At the end of a long day’s exploring, with achy legs kicking in, you’ll probably be on the look-out for a taxi. It can be hard enough to get a taxi in your home town, so what chances do you have on location? With Easy Taxi on your handset, the problem is solved. Covering 120 cities across 31 countries, this app locates your closest Easy Taxi approved driver, then lets your track their progress. Once you’re safely in the taxi, fire up Google Translate once again for the obligatory taxi driver small-talk. “¿Hasta qué hora está usted aquí?” – “How late are you on ‘til?”
Once you’re home…
The worst thing about travelling, undoubtedly, is returning home. If the depression of the daily grind is too much to bear, give in to nostalgia and take a virtual tour of your most recent destination using Google Earth. Become the ultimate armchair traveller as you zoom around the globe, enjoying 3D recreations and virtual tours. As the travel bug causes an itch that never subsides, Google Earth might also be the perfect way for choosing the next location with which to scratch it.
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