The mobile devices we carry everywhere with us have opened up a wealth of information at our fingertips. Travelling is a time when we often have a real need for these app-based resources and Tep are leaders in bringing you the connectivity required to make use of them.
The sheer number and variety of travel-related apps is growing exponentially at the moment. So, we thought it would be useful to do a roundup of some of the apps that you can use to make your travel experiences richer and less stressful! Some you may know, some are new innovations that show how we might be using technology to travel in the future.
1. Planning an itinerary – Google Trips
Most of us use some sort of Google service every day. In 2016 Google launched Google Trips as a travel companion to help you collate travel information efficiently. It hooks into Gmail so it can add information you’ve been sent without having to add everything manually, but you can make your own amends and additions. As you’d expect from Google, the app is comprehensive and feature-rich with new functionality being added regularly.
2. Booking accommodation – TripAdvisor / Airbnb
There are enormous numbers of comparison/booking apps and websites related to travel, but two stand out as the app-based game-changers of the last few years.
TripAdvisor doesn’t require much introduction, with over 100 million app installs worldwide. It has given us access to the reviews and tips of our fellow travelers to peer behind glossy travel brochures and understand real experiences to benchmark our choices. No traveler should be without it and no hotel can afford to ignore it!
Airbnb went even further to expand our options, opening up rooms or homes to rent from anyone with space to offer. This creates an escape from the cookie-cutter world of mainstream hotels and instead offers the chance to enjoy unique local host experiences. It’s also always useful to have a backup option if you arrive in town to find hotel rooms are scarce.
3. Packing – Packpoint / Dufl
Who wouldn’t appreciate an app to make the chore of packing a bit easier?
Packpoint is an app that uses web services to recommend what you need to take with you. It judges your destination, length of stay, likely weather conditions and planned activities to suggest an optimum packing list. The only problem with that approach is that you still have to actually pack and unpack, do laundry and take your luggage with you. What if you could avoid all of that as well?
The ultimate solution for ease of travel is Dufl. This app-based personal valet service lets you pack a suitcase once, which they store, deliver and pick up from your hotel and launder the contents for you after every trip. You can amend your inventory for each trip and add or remove individual items from storage straight from the app.
4. Airports and Flights – App in the air
App in the air is a personal flight assistant that keeps you updated with real-time information about your flights and maps/tips for navigating around airports. It also helps you with reminders about check-in and simplifies that process.
It’s got pretty good coverage of major airlines and airports around the world and even ties in with the TripIt planning tool to pull in itinerary information. A pretty handy tool for when you want to find a charging point or some free WiFi without spending hours wandering the airport and missing your flight.
5. Coping with time zone changes – Circa
So you’ve made it onto your flight stress-free but now comes the confusion of dealing with time zones amidst the fog of jetlag. Circa is a nicely-designed app that allows you to see time zones mapped in a way that’s easy to understand.
Business travelers may appreciate this one in particular, for when you’re away but need to organize that all-important conference call with colleagues in their hours of business, even when your own body isn’t sure what time it is.
6. Getting around – Uber / Rome2rio
You’ve made it to your destination, but after a long flight, we all appreciate being able to get to our accommodation as quickly and stress-free as possible.
Like TripAdvisor, Uber needs little introduction, being one of the biggest technology success stories of recent years. Part of the beauty of Uber is in its consistency, it works just the same whether you’re in Moscow or Mexico City and it saves all that hassle of price haggling when all you want to do is get where you’re going without any fuss.
If you’re happy to explore your travel options then Rome2rio is a great tool to have on your phone. Simply tap in where you are and a destination and the app will give you time and price information on the variety of ways to achieve the journey by plane, train, bus, ferry or automobile. Plus, it’ll link you through to a choice of providers under each category so you can make a booking.
7. Staying safe – Kitestring
Now you’re on the move in a new country it’s important to stay safe. Kitestring is a personal safety service. Ask Kitestring to check up on you at some future time and it will text you to make sure you’re safe. Reply to the message or check in on the website and all is well. If you don’t check in, Kitestring alerts emergency contacts that you set up ahead of time.
To make it available to almost anyone, Kitestring is designed to be a SMS-based service. If you can send text messages, you can use Kitestring. It can also be accessed via the Tep+ app (more on that in a bit).
8. Being understood – iTranslate
Perhaps the holy grail of travel apps would be a universal translator that let us converse with anyone in any language instantaneously. We already have the technology to achieve this to a certain extent, although it’s still in its infancy. But iTranslate does as good as job as any app right now and the ability to carry an app that understands your voice in your language and can produce the same phrase spoken in a different language can certainly be a huge help on the odd occasion.
9. Currency conversion and spending – XE Currency / TrabeePocket
Maintaining exchange rates in your head is never easy, especially when if you’re travelling through several different countries in rapid succession. Before you get down to any serious bartering make sure you’ve got an app like XE Currency on hand. How much is that cup of coffee?
Once you’ve decided to spend, spend, spend you can keep a track on just how much budget you have left using a specialist travel expenses app like TrabeePocket. It’s simple to keep up to date, categorize your spending and you can even export your own expense report like a pro!
10. Calling and messaging – Tep+
Being able to contact people locally or internationally without incurring big costs is a huge bonus when travelling. The Tep+ app gives you free App2App calls and texts to stay in touch with home for AND allows you to rent a local number so you can call local landline numbers and receive calls whilst abroad at no extra cost. This gives you a big saving over the per min and connection fee costs of other VOIP services which make the bulk of their money from you in this way.
Tep+ is built upon a truly unique VoIP platform which uses 9x less data (and 8x less battery) than other mobile VoIP technologies available today.
Ensure you stay connected with home by using a Tep portable wifi device. The device is only $8.95 per day for unlimited data usage, plus, you and your friends or family can all share one device (up to 5 gadgets can connect at a time). Tep’s portable device is amazingly travel-friendly too, it will slip into a handbag, pocket or rucksack. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.