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Technology
August 24, 2017

12 Apps That Will Make Your Device Double Up As A Travel Agent

Text by Shubham Ladha

Zooming in on travel apps for your smartphone can be a journey in itself

You know what’s the best part about summer? Taking time out to head off for a solo adventure or maybe that trip with your friends which you’ve only been dreaming about. But you know what you don’t need? The stress of finding the most convenient modes of transportation, fumbling with a language you can hardly fathom, or being uncertain about what you’re eating.

Travel apps can save you effort and energy, which you’d much rather use to make the most of your time. They can book your flights and hotels, convert your currencies, plan your routes, and even help you interact with the locals. And your trusty smartphone can house all these apps, so all you need to do is sit back, relax, and tap away.

Certain apps have proved themselves to be experiential treats. Airbnb, for example, has made an empire based on what it calls ‘living’ rather than just ‘staying’. With its 6,40,000 hosts around the world, it lets travellers bond with their surroundings as well as with other people staying with them. AudioCompass too is a one-of-a-kind mobile tour guide that lets travellers immerse themselves in the locale, without having to constantly stay glued to guidebooks. One can even download the destinations on to one’s phone, and save data. Sadly, it’s only operational in India, Singapore, Istanbul, London, Oman and Bhutan.

Apps which help you make a packing list, such as PackPoint, and find food according to your preferences, such as Yelp, are also usually reliable. After looking at the weather forecast for the dates of your trip and asking you to select activities that pique your interest, PackPoint suggests a checklist of the items you would need to pack. To estimate how much you are likely to spend on your trip, download XE Currency where you can check live exchange rates on the go.

Time is of course of the essence while travelling. No map app can be foolproof, but Google Maps and CityMapper help you to navigate in a hassle-free manner. The most optimum routing and best travel modes are at your behest to help you survive. CityMapper also allows the traveller to share his ETA as well as the location of a common meet-up point with others.

The nitty-gritties of travel such as attractions to see and museums to visit can also be planned according to one’s predilections. Since 1968, TimeOut has walked the streets of about 108 cities, and enabled travellers to experience their best parts. Ranging from food, art, culture, nightlife and shopping, its app is an ideal real-time event catalogue.

Certain countries don’t allow the usage of some websites or apps. What Hotspot Shield does is that it offers a virtual private network (VPN) to help one securely access them. Then, there are apps such as TripAdvisor, Tripoto and Triposo, which help frequent fliers share their experiences — via trip summaries, in-depth articles, reviews, detailed itineraries and pictures. What makes these apps so convenient is that they aggregate user-generated content related to travel, which usually gets lost in social media newsfeeds.

But while we depend on all these apps to find our feet while travelling, let’s also remember to savour the joy of ‘real’ experiences — those that no device can give us.

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