As I drove myself home from the office last evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I am on holiday in just 2.5 weeks. The worst part of this realization is that I am completely unprepared for it. (I am also 2 weeks behind schedule in my training for the upcoming Army 10-Miler for a number of reasons, but that’s another story altogether… yet still looming over my head.) I feel like my home is in disarray (i.e., I need to do laundry and clean before my nephew visits next weekend), I haven’t even began to really think about my travel itinerary and details (All I know is that I am flying into Geneva and meeting my friend at her hotel, where she will be for work before we train it to Paris.), AND there are a few other minor tasks that I need to look into (like maybe getting a new digital camera before my travels… thinking about what to pack… thinking of what else I might need to buy prior to my trip…).
While all of this seems quite daunting, it definitely is a “song and dance” routine that I am quite familiar with. I was faced with similar scenarios prior to my trip to Manila earlier this year, and again last Fall prior to my 3-city get-away to Paris, Budapest and Prague. Somehow, somewhere in the back of my mind I am comforted that I will figure it all out. And thankfully, I can honestly say that for all these worries dangling before me –there’s an app for that.
Ok, so maybe there isn’t an app that will actually take care of my laundry, and as much as I would like –there isn’t an app that will actually do the training for the 10-Miler for me. BUT for all the travel stuff, yes – there are definitely apps for those things. And for the seasoned travelers, there are a plethora of apps to help with the planning and organization process, provide packing strategies, offer up city maps and even list the best of the best of city attractions, restaurants and landmarks.
Aside from my usual litany of travel “must” apps (Google Maps, Fly Delta, HHonors, Concur and TripAdvisor), these are some of my other “GO TOs” which have helped to ease my travel worries a great deal:
City Maps 2Go Offline Maps
This one was introduced to me just prior to my trip back to Paris last year, and while I had some familiarity with the City of Lights, the app came in extremely handy for my visit to Prague. There’s nothing better than pre-downloaded city maps. They don’t require WiFi or roaming data once you’re there (So long, pricey data-roaming fees… and “Hello” offline GPS services!). It’s a great help, too, for locating shops, bars or restaurants.
The translation app is specifically designed for travelers who have basic to no command of any linguistic skills other than their own. Currently, the app records and translates into 12 languages, and offers more than 300 useful phrases. Another app that requires no WiFi, it also features native pronunciation.
Looking for accurate currency conversion? This is the app for you. Monitor various currencies at the same time, and you can also look into the historic rates for each. Xe Currency is helpful both before and during your trip.
This app serves as an e-library of user-generated mini-guides, most of which are available for free (or for a minimal cost). The app will provide recommendations on places or things by other users worldwide. You can also interact with friends using the app.
What are your favorite travel apps?