Back in the day you had to navigate new cities based on a Lonely Planet guide, a paper map and asking locals for help. Now that we have smartphones there’s no need to waste paper on maps and books and even less need to make actual human contact with strangers. Before you head into the great unknown download these apps that will make travelling much, much smoother:
Why waste time figuring out routes when you could get an app to do it for you? Type your destination into CityMapper (which is much more thorough and user friendly than Google Maps) and it will give you a range of route options, the time each route will take you, and how much each journey would cost you. You can also state your preferred mode of transport (if you only feel like taking buses that day, or if you want to do as little walking as possible for example) plus it tells you how many calories you will burn on your trip. Currently CityMapper is only available in a few cities, including London, Rome, and Berlin, but the app is steadily growing and expanding.
Part of the fun of travelling is getting to meet new people, but approaching strangers in a foreign city can be awkward. Download Tinder (or a similar dating app) and make your bio include a not-so-subtle hint that you’re looking for someone to show you around. You’ll get a free tour guide and potentially some romance too. If you’re travelling with friends you can use the Tinder Social option. This allows your crew to meet up with other crews in the area, which is probably a safer option for a woman traveller.
It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to trying out local cuisine, and because of South Africa’s exchange rates you probably don’t want to take any gambles and waste your money. TripAdvisor is one of the most trusted restaurant rating sites around so before you head anywhere check their rating. Here you will also find tips and recommendations from visitors, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. You can also specify your search: if you have a craving for Chinese on a budget in a certain area just whittle down your search and you are guaranteed to find a spot.
Duh. Right now it’s just impossible you would find better deals for places to stay than on AirBnb. You’re able to see the ratings of apartments and their owners, but remember they also rate you so be on your best behaviour. It isn’t just regular apartments and homes; you can stay in caravans, tree houses, loft spaces or adorable granny flats. AirBnb Experiences are also an option, where you can get a local host to show you around, giving you the insider scoop on their city.
If you don’t have Uber already get it now because it’s going to make being in a foreign city much easier. It’s fine to rely on public transport usually but when you’re lost, hungry and grumpy in an unknown place sometimes you just want to fast track things and hop into a car.
We would all love to have a personal assistant, especially when it comes to the dreaded activity of packing bags for a holiday. Download PackPoint and enter your destination, length of stay, purpose of travel (leisure or business) and then select the activities you will be doing (including working, swimming, hiking or a fancy dinner). The app then makes a customised list of things you need to pack, taking into account the weather forecast for your trip when recommending clothes to pack. It reminds you of things you never think to pack but really should, like pain killers, hand sanitiser or bug spray.
This app is so up-to-date it’s scary. You select a language to be translated then can simply hold your phone in front of someone speaking and it translates what they are saying in live time. You can then respond to them almost immediately. It’s a life saver in any country where those three local language phrases you memorised just don’t cut it.
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