Lifestyle

10 Awesome Tools Every Traveller Needs to Know About

If you’ve been looking forward to your year-end vacation with family, or you’re counting down towards that solo travel or your usual inner circle’s holiday season getaway: try fool-proofing your upcoming trip with digital tools! This time, for your holiday trip, leave more room to focus on creating travel memories without having to worry about the inevitable nitty-gritties that come about in the lead-up to and throughout your travelling.

According to a TripAdvisor study, it comes as nary an alarming fact that 90 percent of travellers report using their mobile phones on vacation. We’ve traversed the wide world to bring back to you in a tidy list: practical, thoughtful, yet not so usual online tools that will make travelling that much more awesome and most importantly, yes, hassle-free.

Pre-trip Planning

Must-Haves:

1. ConvertPad – All-Encompassing Converter App:

Convertpad mobile app

There are various all-in-one converter apps in the market and ConvertPad seems to be one of the more formidable and comprehensive options. It is both a currency and unit converter, and – as would any currency converter that’s worth its value – incudes real-time conversion rates. It is even integrated with the Wikipedia Search tool for other information that’s wanting for the user. This ‘mother app’ supports a whopping total of 25 languages and more than 160 currency types.

2. Google Maps:

Goggle Maps app

Google Maps is the go-to street map app globally. Comprehensive additions include information of various businesses and other buildings in the vicinity of your destination, live updates of traffic, as well as Google street views. This app can also facilitate the GPS feature without eating into your phone’s data usage. It currently has information of maps of 200 countries and their areas.

3. TripAdvisor:

Image Credit: javierdelsol.com
Image Credit: javierdelsol.com

This community reviews and ‘world’s largest travel website’ has been loved by netizens for the longest time. It is knee-deep in savvy travellers’ ratings, and mostly first-hand descriptions of international attractions, lodgings, dining places, etc.

Furthermore, TripAdvisor has just introduced an instant booking system of hotels just early this month (currently only for the US market but with plans for further expansions in others soon). You just know you gotta keep tabs on this heavyweight while travelling on the go. It also announced today its brand new feature that allows users to easily compare and book tours and tickets for attractions around the world. Through Viator, the tour feature covers more than 7,900 attractions worldwide and is available on desktop and mobile versions.

Good-to-Haves:

4. Offline Maps in the palm of your hand? Yes please!

City Maps 2Go:

City Maps 2Go Mobile App

With more than 13 million users, this app is a very handy tool for orienting one’s self around a foreign city even before reaching. It also includes detailed travel content of places worth hitting in the cities from a myriad of contributory write-ups by users.

Maps.me:

Maps.me

Having had the honour of holding the Number 1 position in the Top 100 Paid, and Number 2 position in the Top 100 Free among Amazon Best Sellers in Navigation Apps, the endgame of the team ensuring the upkeep of Maps.me is to provide the most epic maps in absolutely any place possible on earth. This app pulls the latest updated content from the open database mapping project – OpenStreetMap.

5. Wikitude – Back-up digital guide resource:

Wikitude mobile app

Up and running since 2008, this world’s first Augmented Reality app is still as relevant as it is powerfully useful today, given the attitude of online instant gratification of our kind. Get immediate information of picture-drooling places the moment your foot touches your foreign destination of choice! Through the lens of the camera on your smartphone, get pop-ups of collated descriptions of the places you’re checking out; as well as reviews and deals around the vicinity – from various sources of your preference – such as Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, Yelp etc.

 

While on the trip

Must-Haves:

6. Food-matching is the real deal!

A universal and relatively undisputed pastime of Asians is food exploring and indulgence and so we concur that these food-matching apps are a must to download.

Yelp:

Yelp mobile app

Operating as an online urban guide of sorts, the app presents you with a bevy of contact information and comprehensive reviews on local restaurants, shops, bars, and other establishments in your area. You can even narrow your results based on price, distance, and hours; or ‘check in’ at a new location and share your thoughts via the usual social networks.

The Entertainer:

the entertainer singapore

As the name of the app suggests, this addictive deals app will keep you occupied with hundreds of offers with its partner merchants. The whole deal of The Entertainer is its Buy 1 Get 1 Free concept for dining places, hotel stays and all kinds of additional activities from wellness to entertainment to leisure, in regions like Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa – 16 countries in total. This app even has the feature of pushing deals for places within a country via distance-matching.

7. TripLingo:

Image Credit: skift.com
Image Credit: skift.com

Learn and use foreign phrases on the road with this comprehensive language app for travellers. It contains a stockpile of over 2,000 phrases per language in currently 13 languages, as well as the novel ‘instant voice translator’ feature. In addition, it has an offline dictionary, tens of thousands of audio files, as well as mini international culture courses for the user. What we adore about this app is that it has bonus unrelated features as well like a tip calculator & currency converter! Definitely worth your dollar in maximising the multi-functionalities of this one app.

8. CamDictionary:

CamDictionary mobile app

This professional-geared translator app supports an impressive collection of 36 languages, and is able to recognise 16 text language forms. Functioning something like a code reader, the user merely needs to position their camera viewfinder on a physical text form (assuming on any sort of surface), and your preferred translation result will automatically be generated from the text image reading. This app also includes various audio clips of pronunciations of translated text by native speakers. Furthermore, make use of CamDictionary’s offline local dictionaries when you are faced with limited to no network access.

Good-to-Haves:

9. Entrain:

Entrain mobile app

Entrain screenshots

Monitoring our sleep cycles and being made aware of our optimised awake states while overseas? Heck yes! The team behind this app – professors and grad students from Yale and the University of Michigan – has created a system which looks minutely calculated for the precise purpose of helping any traveller adjust painlessly in their new time zones. The most reassuring part? The Entrain team is constantly reviewing data collected from users to improve the app for segments of people down the road. According to Bloomberg, the team confides, “We want to know, is jet lag different for men vs. women? Does it matter what time of the year it is? These are things we’re currently trying to find out.”

10. Expensify:

Expensify mobile app

This tracking and logging expense tool might just be something which you would want to integrate into your daily lifestyle, even after your trip is long over. Cut down significantly on keying in those irksome expense amounts throughout the day by simply uploading pictures of your receipts, while having the peace of knowing that there’s unlimited storage space provided. Get your bases covered and never miss an unaccounted transaction by syncing your user account with your various credit cards and bank accounts. Expense reports are easily converted to PDF form, and the app is even integrated with other programmes like Excel, Dropbox, Oracle, SAP, etc.

Special Mentions

Finally, because we are generous people who thrive on sharing awesome-cool yet sorta-essential apps, here are a couple more app tools to zoom in on.

Postagram:

Image Credit: fotograferenopreis.nl
Image Credit: fotograferenopreis.nl

Be unabashedly nostalgic and send an old-school personalised physical postcard to your loved ones and acquaintances around the world, or even to your own home address. Postagram photos are printed on postcards at 300dpi resolution and delivered anywhere for only 99 cents. Each postcard features a profile photo of the sender, a limited 140-character message space and even an Instagram pop-out photo! This 21st-century postcard delivery service certainly goes firmly onto our Kickass Apps list.

Onavo – Data tracking

Onavo mobile app

If you have not installed your phone with any important data tracking app yet, then travelling would be when you should finally do so. Avoid scary amounts of unplanned data roaming charges while overseas by checking into this app regularly, which, might we add, borders on obsessively breaking down data usage for you (but it’s all good!). Also, users attest that this app is able to intelli-tuitively cut down on the data amount needed for your phone to perform basic tasks like receiving emails and updating facebook feeds.

 

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