By Bob Kocher
Today I am featuring a selection of terrific apps that can simplify your travel. Many of the apps are free, helpful, easy, and fun to use. I thank Team Fathom for this useful information and I also suggest looking at Tripit and The Huffington Post Travel Blogs. (Terms, conditions, and rates are subject to change.)
While on a group trip, use Whats-App. This free app works on all devices and provides real-time mobile messaging without paying for extra charges, it is particularly helpful when wanting to connect with old and new friends you meet on trips.
- Google Translate: Google Translate is a free instant language translation. Even without data connection you will find it incredibly simple, convenient, and reliable. When spelling gets tough, you can utilize the speech-to-text component. Android and iPhone users are fully supported; and Nokia, Windows and Blackberry users can use the basic functions.
- Photo Sphere Viewer: Imagine a 360 degree view of all the lovely scenery from your trip. This free app for iPhone and android users photographs wraparound panoramas.
- Travel List: Have you ever forgotten to pack items for a trip? I know I have. This simple $1.99 iPhone packing list app can help. You can also add reminders about items that need to be packed at the last minute.
- Currency-Simple Converter: This is a very useful app. Over my years of travel to foreign countries I’ve learned not to think in dollars, particularly when shopping. This free and simple-to-use currency converter app has both an offline and online mode.
- AccuWeather: One of the most frequently asked question is, “What will the weather be like where we’re going?” With this free app, you can instantly access all important weather details minute-by-minute.
- Wi-Fi Finder: this fantastic free iPhone and Android app enables the user to find internet hotspots around the world. The listings on the app cover more than 144 countries.
- TripLingo: This iPhone app is particularly helpful for independent, risk-taking travelers. It features 1,000 non-touristy phrases plus an on-call human translator. It helps you “talk like a local,” which may be important in some areas. This app focuses on colloquial speech to help you make a good impression – or at least get your point across. The basic app is free; however, it does offer add-on features that can cost up to $19.99.
- iExit: What about travel in the good ol’ US of A? this app gives you a heads-up on what’s happening down the road such as exits, p\rest stops, restaurants and gas stations. You can plan your next stop on the go, a great feature lets you pass on the fast food choices when there is a local diner nearby. (A friend of ours suggest not choosing restaurants with “family” in the name. He is a frequent traveler and has learned this the hard way.) This free app works on iPhones, Androids and Windows.
- Tripit: This free app is perfect for organizing trip information. Those of you who are creative people (#7s on the Enneagram) and without a personal assistant can get great mileage out of this app. It organizes trip details into one master online itinerary – including flights, hotels, car, maps, and directions. You can see all your trip details at a glance. It is for iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys and Windows.
- Chefs Feed: When I go to an area where I will be spending some time, I want to know where the locals go for great meals. This free iPhone app recommends restaurants with the country’s best chefs and allows you to sort by dish or by location, the app recommends a range of choices from high-end to hole-in-the-wall eateries.
- Emergency Call Anywhere: When you are traveling, particularly abroad, it is important to strongly consider trip insurance. This app can be very helpful in an emergency. Just one tap and the app calls the emergency services wherever you are. The app finds which country you are in (or you can select it) and puts you in touch with the correct emergency services, and is available for iPhones at $ 3.99.
- Skype and Whats-App: These two apps are great in combo. Our travel groups can get very large, and we go many places. Skype provides crystal clear voice or video calls wherever you are and doesn’t cost a thing, even when calling internationally. It is free and available on all devices.
Featured Dream Hotel
Suites of the Gods
Located on the magical island of Santorini, Suites of the Gods offers a reasonable price for one of the most beautiful settings in the world. Pictures of the Greek Islands with whitewashed buildings and blue-domed roofs are often filmed from the view you will see right outside your hotel room door. Suites of the Gods has been constructed to reflect the beauty of the island’s Cycladic architecture. The hotel is located on the crater top of the Caldera with a view towards the unforgettable landscape of the neighboring volcano across the bay. The views are breathtaking. Each suite has been decorated according to a theme dedicated to famous Greek Gods, such as the Aphrodite Suite. A massage is included after a minimum two-day stay, and the breakfast is healthy and delicious.