If you talk to me about most things web-based we can have a decent conversation. But ask me anything too techie that’s mobile-related and I am likely to sound – how should I put this delicately – planted firmly circa 2002. Other than my use of basic apps like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter, I am still one of the few people who primarily will use a phone to talk or send messages to family and friends, and to snap and edit pictures.
No, I am not a complete dinosaur. And in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I know there are many helpful and innovative apps that are only a few clicks away. I’m just extremely hesitant to turn over “complete access to my identity” in order to join the digital party.
Yet, I keep hearing about all the great travel tools that are available for free. I reckon I may have to break down my mental barriers soon to try a few. When I do, I feel these four apps are cool enough to entice me to hit download.
Findery is a user-generated guide that helps you gain insights from travelers who have been in a destination before you. Quite different from a mere restaurant recommendation or hotel rating tool, it is a compilation of tips made up of unexpected, spontaneous and personal notes that enhance your local knowledge beyond what the regular guidebook says. Anybody with the app can add his/her own notes.
Available on iOS, Android, and Windows.
Fundamentally a flight and hotel aggregation search tool, Hipmunk sets itself apart by including accommodation listings from non-traditional lodging platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway in its results. It also allows you to bookmark searches to return to them later. Its newest feature, “Discover”, gives users the option to research your trip according to vacation themes. So, if skiing, diving, or hiking is your objective it will help you narrow things down.
Available on: Android, iOS, Web
I was in NYC for a conference in September and I missed the free Global Citizen concert headlined by Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Beyonce and others because I had no clue it was happening. Perhaps if I’d had the Goby app such a royal travesty could have been avoided. Goby goes beyond listing attractions and eateries, and drills down to the minute detail of helping you find concerts, plays, and other events happening around you.
Available on Android, iPhone/iPad
The feature that appeals to me most about Maps.Me is that I’ve read you can download detailed maps ahead of time and use them at your destination- even without an internet connection. That’s great news for those of us who get annoyed with spotty Wi-Fi connections and who shy away from racking up huge roaming fees while overseas. I’ve also heard their maps are more reliable than Google Maps for places on the road less travelled.
Available on: Android, Amazon Fire, BlackBerry, iOS
I am a mood-driven eater so I rarely make dinner reservations well in advance of meal times. According to all reports, the OpenTable app seems perfect for persons like me because it would save us the hassle of walking and driving around a city in search of a decent restaurant to suit our then frame of mind. When I approach things that way, usually the lines spill out onto the sidewalk for the good places. With this app, I could use it to vet the hotel concierge’s recommendations before I leave the lobby and simply book my dining experience online.
Available on: Android, Amazon Fire, BlackBerry, iOS, Web, Windows Phone
Which ones would you recommend?
I have exciting news!! My Travel Stamps has partnered with GPSmyCity to offer 20 FREE promo codes of one of their FULL VERSION city walk apps to my readers. For a chance to win, all you have to do is go to the comments section below to tell me your predictions for the best travel apps for 2016 (one that is not already mentioned) AND if you have not already done so, also subscribe to my blog. Winners will be selected on November 30, 2015.
Please note that the promo codes are good for iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) only at this time. [And in case, you’re wondering, I am an Android girl so that’s the only reason they weren’t included in my list.]
The company makes popular apps that feature self-guided city walks in over 470 cities around the world. Each app contains anywhere from a few to over a dozen self-guided walking tours per city and each one enables you to explore the best sights and attractions on foot – at your own pace. Yes, minus timelines and without distracting group members! For a list of cities that are covered, click here.
The app has been featured in major publications like The New York Times, Marie Claire, Philly Voice, TimeOutDubai and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others.