Picture this: you are going on vacation, you just landed in a country you have never visited before and you need to get to your hotel. You don’t have a smart phone with you or even a phone for that matter, no GPS gadget or a normal paper map. What do you do? How do you get to a hotel? Do you find a cab by screaming ‘taxi’ on a street like in old TV series? Do you try to decipher the subway map showed on a wall in hope it will get you to your hotel? You ask people around if the hotel street is close to you? Well, that’s how things were happening just a few decades ago.
Fortunately, in this era when apple doesn’t mean just a fruit anymore, we can say that our travels are a lot easier than they were for our grandparents. The fun of getting lost doesn’t exist anymore because with just a click away, you immediately get your direction. Or your friends might even find you first if you have the right watch on your wrist.
We haven’t lived in an era where we must travel without a smartphone or gadget so we don’t know how those times must have been. All we can say is that especially as people working in IT, we love heaving this solutions that help us enjoy more a new place than getting lost in details.
Of course, some may say that those hustles from the past actually had their own appeal, being part of the memories made in the trip and full of lessons learnt. But, in my opinion, nowadays those memories and appeal transferred to other things. Because people spend less time on figuring out transportation, direction, airport check-in, or even food, they now spend more time exploring and trying out new things. If in the past people preferred more vacations for relaxing purposes, now they want more vacations with hiking into the woods or going on a roadtrip across the country.
So, let’s see what are these apps that change the culture of travelling. Or at least the ones we use the most in our journeys.
Apps we cannot live without
When we want to plan a trip and we don’t know really where yet, we take our top favourite countries and Skyscanner them for flight prices. This is a first step before finding a great price and then visit the flight company app for easy operations afterwords (like online check-in or reserving extras).
For accommodation this is our go to app. I know there are a lot of them and some might even have better prices, but Booking.com has never proven us wrong, even when hotels cancelled without reason and we needed an explanation.
Our go-to app to find public transportation connections and directions. Also our go-to app for finding the nearest supermarket. If has other features, of course, but we use other apps for them.
Apps we use quite often
AirBnb used to be our top app for finding accommodation, until we had a few bad experiences. Now we are using it only when the prices are better there than on Booking or the places look better than the hotels. Also, the experiences are also nice, we book one once in a while.
Uber has saved in a lot of situations when we needed to get fast to several places and is even greater when you need a bigger car and you can specify that.
Anytime we rent a car, Waze is the king. We tried Google Maps and Apple Maps but the failed more times than Waze. Also, who wouldn’t want to know about the hazards on the streets in advance?
Great for restaurant recommendations near us. This is the only feature we use it for. But if you want more, there are recommendations for any kind of places or activities. Kind of like Yelp.
We started to use this app recently and I think it is very helpful to track your expenses during your journey. It might not help you from the first time but it gives you an idea of how much you spend on what. On your next journey you will now how to split your budget.
This app is quite great to use for finding things to do in new cities. And by new things I mean: walking tours described by others, places with great views or awesome restaurants. It gave us a lot of ideas in every new place that we went so I highly recommend it. The downside would be that the app does not have experiences for all the cities in the world. But I know they have been launched recently so I think they will add more cities for sure.
Apps that we use from time to time
Travelling a lot means spending time in a plane, a train or a car. So, as software developers, Pluralsight is great for learning new stuff. It also has a feature of downloading videos for offline use, so you can use it on an airplane.
Pocket is an app that lets you save articles for offline reading. I usually use it for saving technical articles to read when on a flight.
Also for a flight when in no mood nor learning? Netflix! The download feature is in great use here also.
We travel, sure, but we also want to stay in shape. So we use fitness apps once in a while when we have access to a gym. I use Sweat by Kayla Itsines. It has 28 minutes resistance workouts that go for several weeks, but I don’t necessarily respect the week number. I just choose one randomly and then do the workout.
Zova is also a fitness app and is used by Victor. For him is great because the workouts are shorter and he can do multiple ones of different types.
Bonus: Apps that we want to use in the next trip that sound promising
This app gives you a list of nearby locations where you can join in and will also tell what type of establishment that is offering it. Seems promising, especially for us, remote workers.
Offline maps to use when you don’t have access to the internet. It seems it offers more than Google downloaded maps, because it also shows attractions.
Fitness app. Personalised workouts for you as an individual. The reviews I saw on the internet say it has really hard workouts, but I also have some friends say it is really good and they see great results.