We have been quiet for a while, and today we restart our transmissions with a special guest post.
I’m an old-fashioned traveller. I usually pack a good tour guide, a notebook and a novel set in the place I’m visiting. But these are the days of the smartphone, and as that guy said, there’s an app for everything.
So I asked my friend Alessandro Girola, writer, blogger, traveller and the man behind Quantum Marketing, to give me the list of the apps that he carries on his smartphone when he’s on the road. And he was so kind he said yes.
So, here’s a short list of app for your travels.
And because there’s an awful lot of apps out there, and we couldn’t list al, please suggest your faves in the comments.
The Traveller 2.0 is usually energetic, curious, organised… and technologically savvy.
Nobody doubts the usefulness of the good old paper guides, that are available in a quantity of prices, styles and formats, from those designed for a weekend to those massive volumes filled with everything, indispensable for long trips.
With those, it is a good idea to carry a small notebook for our personal notes, including the most practical ones (flight times and museum hours, hotel and embassy addresses, and all those things).
The widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets, on the other hand offers a wide variety of useful apps for the discerning travellers. While the list could go on forever and adapt to very different necessities, here’s an overview of the essentials.
Let’s start with the basics. Google Maps, often installed by default on recent smartphones, is the essential app if you don’t want to get lost, anywhere. In particular, even where a web connection is unavailable, we can access the offline maps, as long as we saved them beforehand.
Again from “Mother Google” here’s another precious traveller tool: Google Translate. There’s an ample choice of alternatives, but the Google-branded app remains the best free choice. The service keeps improving, offering an increasingly professional tool, free and functional. Once again, you can download an offline version to be on the safe side in case of wi-fi or line failure.
Everybody knows it, but not many use it correctly. And yet Tripadvisor is particularly useful to find restaurants and venues fitting the needs of any kind of traveller. With about seventy million reviews available, this is one of the most complete apps of its category.
The best hotel search and booking app, both in Italy and on much of the European territory. The Booking database is wide and can be consulted tweaking a variety of parameters, including price and services.
Runtastic Running and Fitness
If your trip, apart from the flight, includes long walks (such as crossing a vast metropolis), Runtastic is the app you need. It records values such as distance, time, speed, elevation, calories burned and much more. You can set the app on different modes for walking, running, cycling. All the data are recorded and saved in the app memory. The ideal tool to mix vacation, exploration and fitness.
A simple but useful currency converter, and one of the most intuitive, simple and immediate in this category. Convert is excellent to protect ourselves from sneaky shopkeepers and restaurant owners.
A curious but useful app that helps the traveller decide what to put in the ideal travel bag, based on the parameters the traveller sets himself. Reasoning on destination, weather, programmed activities, the availability in the area of laundry services, air company weight limits, the need for electric outlet adapters (and much more) Packpoint will suggest us the best items to bring along.
Of course, we hope to enjoy our trip without any health trouble, and yet being prepared is better than improvise. Here comes the Medmap app to the rescue when we need to know the foreign equivalent of a medicine we use at home, but also helping us discover the right medicine given the destination and the symptoms. Finally, the app includes a full database of hospitals, general practitioners and pharmacies, based on our destination.
Travelling by car? You might have trouble finding a parking space. Parkopedia is here to help. Playing on the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, this app lists and maps 38 million parking lots in a total of 75 countries. And it is constantly updated thanks to the work of those drivers that support the cause. Recently this app introduced more functions, such as the real-time information about the available spaces in a quantity of the mapped parking lots.
Need to book a visit to a museum, an exhibition or an event? Want to jump the queue and make sure you’ll be there on time? GetYourGuide is the app you need. Its database includes thousands of tours, of cities and of tourist spots (some well known, some obscure). It also offers a secure online payment option for many of these attractions. A real must.