As some of you may be aware, Libby and I recently spent 2 months travelling around Europe. Below are a number of apps that we could not have lived without during that time.
When arriving a strange city for the first time, after hours of travelling, the first thing you want to do is get to your hotel. Navigating around a city can be difficult, especially when Uber is not an option. Moovit fills this gap by providing a comprehensive public transit guide.
Moovit allows you to select a destination, and it will provide all the information you need. All the transport options (buses, trains, metros etc), along with the timetables (in some cities, it provides real-time information), and most importantly "Get Off Alerts". These alerts will tell you when your stop is coming up, and when to get off. They are especially useful in countries that you do not speak the language, as it's very easy to misread bus stops etc.
One of the most expensive aspects of travelling is something that most people don't even know exists, and that is currency exchange rates. You either head to the exchange shop or use your bank card. Both of which may offer "no fee" exchange rates, but what they fail to mention is that they are adjusting the exchange rate so that they make a profit from that.
Monzo is a startup, whose goal is to build a better bank. As part of their service, they offer no fee, mid-market exchange rates. This means that you are getting the best possible exchange rate available at that time.
Using the app, we were able to top up our Monzo accounts as we travelled, and we could use our bank cards as we normally would back home (unless you are in Germany, but that is a rant for another day).
Having a real time balance is also super useful as you can easily lose track of how much you are spending when a coffee costs 1500 Hungarian Forint.
Everyone knows what Uber is, so there is no need for me to explain this one.
One thing I will note though is that Uber charges you in the local currency, so it's very important to pair it with something like Monzo, which will negate any exchange rate charges.
Kayak is known for its website that allows you to buy plane tickets, book hotels, and rent cars. However, they have another product called Kayak Trips.
Trips is essentially a travel assistant. It saves all of your bookings, flights, and activities. Having all of this in 1 place is very useful when you are moving from one city to another every 4 days!
Not only does it store all of this information, but you also get real-time alerts for events such as flight delays and gate information.
There are a few alternatives to Kayak Trips out there such as TripIt, which is also very good, but I found Kayak Trips to be perfect for us.
To be honest, there were very few times that we actually needed this app, as the vast majority of European countries speak very good English.
However, on the odd occasion that we did use the app, it was normally using the Camera Mode. This allows you to point your phone at some text, and it will instantly translate it. This is especially useful for menus, or directions (when Moovit is not available).
This is one of those apps that you are not thankful for until you really need it. While travelling, like me, I am sure you take hundreds of photos.
Google Photos allows you to backup all of these photos up, not only allowing you to keep them safe, but it means that you can clean up your phone/camera to allow you to take lots more!
You can either choose to store photos in their original format, or in Google's compressed format. The latter does not count towards your storage limits, and while I have found that the quality is still very good, I still prefer to store the original, especially when the photos are not from a phone.
Three (Feel at Home)
Although not an app, I thought I would mention Three's Feel at Home service.
Feel at Home allows you to use your phone as normal in multiple countries around the world, at no extra cost. Because I have unlimited data, this meant that I did not need to worry about using my phone when I needed it.
There are a few limitations in this service, but they generally don't get in the way. You are not able to tether, and while you can get 3G, all of the traffic is routed through the UK so it can feel a bit sluggish at points.
But as you can see, it saved me a lot of money and stress, so it's totally worth it.
If you have any suggested apps, then let me know.
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