10 New Must-Have Apps for Travellers
Digital devices have supplanted guidebooks on travellers’ packing lists nowadays, and what makes them indispensable are the useful tricks they can do to streamline and enhance a traveller’s experience. Here’s a selection of new apps that could revolutionize your next trip.
Hailing a taxi in unfamiliar territory can be daunting and difficult. If you’re not a local you probably don’t know where the best streets are to hail one, or what number to call to order a cab. Sometimes you may not even know exactly where you are! All of these challenges are compounded if one has been out partying.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that Hailo has proven an incredibly popular solution. The app matches nearby cabs with waiting passengers and uses the geolocation functionality of the passenger’s smartphone to dispatch a taxi to their location. Hailo is available in 15 cities with more destinations coming onstream soon.
Many travellers have come to swear by Trip-It for its ability to keep travel details organized. By simply forwarding confirmation emails to a designated address, flight times and other pertinent information are populated into the app, and can also be viewed online. This is augmented with maps and directions, notes and recommendations, plus useful features like itinerary sharing and automatic refund notifications.
A lot of lip service is given to the idea of unplugging from the digital world while on vacation, but it’s seldom practical or feasible to be completely unreachable. How does one disconnect from the unimportant while still leaving a lifeline open for truly urgent communications? Since setting up your own personal network of Bat-signals is extremely impractical, AwayFind devised a system that will notify you when a pre-defined set of conditions are met, allowing important messages to reach you while preventing you from being sucked into the miasma of your inbox while your mind is meant to be elsewhere.
It’s often cheaper, especially when travelling as a family or with a group of friends, to get a holiday rental property. In the past that wasn’t always easy to do, and often depended on who you knew. The internet has made finding rental properties much easier and the Dwellable app has been described as the Kayak of vacation rentals. It’s a listing service for vacation rentals, but what has made Dwellable popular is the strength of its app, which is available across multiple platforms.
As someone with an extraordinary knack for getting lost, I can attest that airports are not always easy to navigate. Unless you are road warrior or in a serious travel rut, you’ll often find yourself in an unfamiliar airport with no idea how to find what you need. GateGuru provides guides to airports, such as helping you to find where to pick up a rental car, or locating the amenities you need. It also provides schedule and flight status information, and includes personal travel stats that may not be altogether useful, but who doesn’t love useless statistics now and again?
If you’re prone to being transformed into a lobster by the sun’s diabolical UV rays, you will appreciate the Sunscreen app. It doesn’t perform rocket surgery. It does a very simple, but essential job—telling you when to apply sunblock to prevent lobsterfication, not to mention melanoma and skin damage. Its timer automatically tells you when to reapply sunscreen, which is easy to forget to do when you’re carried away by the awesomeness of your vacation. The app also provides localized UV forecasts to help you plan ahead.
Airport lounges can be so discreet, you don’t even know they are there unless you look for them. You can gain entry into the secret society of lounge-aware individuals without knowing the secret handshake or undergoing any initiation rites by downloading the LoungeBuddy app that’s like a dowsing rod that locates airport lounges around the world.
Having a friend in a city that you can rely upon for advice is hugely reassuring, but what if you’re not so incredibly popular that you have friends in every place that you visit? UrbanBuddy can pretend to be your friend. The app lets you ask questions about your destination and have them answered by a local. This intriguing concept is currently only available in a handful of major cities in Europe and North America, but it could prove very useful if you’re visiting one of those locales and need information that’s not covered by the tourist brochures.
Tapping into local knowledge is great, but for times when you want that local intel while experiencing things on your own, there’s VadoVia. It’s an iPad app that provides sightseeing itineraries created by people who know the destination well and have devised daily plans that maximize both your time and excitement at your destination and get you off the beaten tourist track.
Procrastinators rejoice! If you need a hotel room at the very last minute there’s an app for that. HotelTonight is also suitable for spur-of-the-moment getaways or those instances when you can’t endure your in-laws for one second longer. As the incredibly self-explanatory name implies, the app is for booking same-day hotel stays. Hotels can only be booked after noon on the day of arrival, but rooms are often sold at deep discounts.
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