Travelling faster and smarter has never been easier, with these essential apps! By Sharifah Nursyafiqah
Even on holidays, we are never too far away from our smart devices. Smartphones have added a whole new dimension to travel – from seamlessly checking in to your flights online, to uploading travel pictures on Instagram, and staying in touch via Skype. Smartphone apps have also made travelling cheaper and faster than ever before. The next time you travel, pack this list of useful travel apps along with you! They won’t add to your baggage limit, and all these apps are available free for download on Apple and Android devices.
Kayak is a great travel search engine that lets you look for hotels, flights, car rentals, and helps with itinerary management. One of the best features of the app is the price trend forecast feature, which helps you figure out when is the best time to bag that flight deal. You can even check into your hotel straight from the app, or use the app to book an Uber to your hotel!
If you’re looking for another way to organise your travel itinerary – from flights, to accommodations or car rental services, Tripit is the app to download. With a free Tripit account, you can simply forward all the vendor emails from the various bookings you make prior to your trip to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the app will compile everything you need into a simply travel itinerary! Save yourself the hassle of printing out travel information as you can have everything you need, such as your airline flight numbers, hotel confirmation numbers, the address and phone number of the hotel, and even maps that show you where the hotel is located, all in one place.
When you are in a new place, the one thing you cannot do without is a good map. The best part about this navigation app? You can access maps offline without needing to use data or Wifi. Simply download the map to the city you are headed to, and you are equipped with a detailed and handy navigational tool, complete with GPS locator and a Wikipedia guide. The maps do take up quite a bit of space in your phone, though, so you might want to delete them once you’re done with the trip.
If you are heading to a country where English is not the dominant language, or where you do not understand the local tongue, language barriers might create a damper on your trip. We all know that Google Translate is a nifty tool for translating on your laptop or desktop computer, but did you know the app has many useful tricks as well? For instance, you can visually translate printed text, simply by opening up the camera in the app and pointing it to the text you need to translate. You will see the translated text live on your screen – definitely useful when translating street signs or menus in a foreign country! You can even use the voice conversation mode to chat to a local, with real-time translation appearing on your phone.
5. Wi-Fi Finder
Can’t live without Wi-Fi? You’ll want to download this right now. Wi-Fi Finder works in over 320,000 locations in 140 countries worldwide, helping users scan their surroundings for nearby Wi-Fi locations. (And yes, this app works in Singapore too!) There is also an offline Wi-Fi database that you can download, so you can scan for public wifi when you’re not online. The app filters different free and paid Wi-Fi providers and location types (such as restaurants, hotels, or cafes), and even points you to the direction of your chosen location.
Foursquare is not just limited to checking in to various places and becoming its Mayor (in fact, the checking-in feature is now under the purview of spin-off app Swarm). This works much like having a local guide you through a new city. You can run a search for “Best Nearby” to find out cool recommendations of must-visit places around your vicinity, or read the comments on the places, left by other users. Save your preferences ahead of time, and the app alerts you when you are near the destinations you are looking for.
Visiting a famous restaurant but not sure what dish you should try? Foodspotting is a unique app and visual guide that focuses on the specific dishes of a restaurant, and not just the restaurant itself. With over 2.5 million dishes listed in the app, you can simply look up the location of the restaurant you want to try, or scan for it in the app’s map, and see what other foodspotters have enjoyed there. You can also run a search for a specific dish or type of food, and the app would draw up places with the dish available in eateries around you. Recommendations are made by other users, as well as experts like Travel Channel or Chow.
When doing research on a travel destination, it is useful reading up on feedback from other travellers, who have gone through the journey that you will soon embark on. TripAdvisor is immensely helpful with this – and their Offline City Guide feature makes travelling even more smooth. Download the information for the cities that you need, and you can access maps and reviews (limited to 10 reviews per place of interest in the offline version) on the go. The best part? This app has a “Point me there” feature that works like a compass, pointing you in the direction you need to go, without wasting time identifying your location on a map!
Travelling solo, but want to make new friends to share your experiences with? Wander brings single travellers together for a holiday experience like no other. Enter your destination into the app, and it will show you other singles heading to the same place. You can then match up with a person of your choice (by swiping left or right on the app) based on your travel interests, and begin planning your adventure! Founder Krystal Choo specifies, however, that this is not a dating app, but rather caters to singles with similar travel interests, and creates a safe solo traveller community.
Capture images of your adventure in more than just Instagram photos, with this app. Cameo is an app owned by video hosting site Vimeo, that allows you to easily create and edit videos on your phone. You can import high-quality clips from your camera roll, put them in order, add text and filters, and even use free in-app music to complete the video. Once you’re done, you can easily upload the completed video on social media, or have it published on Vimeo. If you are looking for a good video editing app, this is one to download.
28 Oct 2016