There are over a million apps out there now, but only a few are really helpful for travellers. I’ve come across a few apps - like one that strips down your smartphone to make it better to use while driving - that the world would probably be better off without.
Yet another app is for lonely travellers to get regular messages from a digital girlfriend named Mina.
There’s an app for sharing travel plans with others using social media. Another hmm, at least in my book. Travel is what I do to get away from all that - in fact, there should be an app for picking the perfect travel destinations without cellular coverage...
As far as travel apps that have real value, here are my top five:
They call this an augemented reality app. Wikitude lets you point your smart phone at things and it tells you what you’re seeing. Point it at a cityscape and Wikitude can tell you what restaurants and hotels are surrounding you. Switch to the language phrasebook in a bakery and you are presented with the words for choosing baked goods in your language of choice. Point it at your sofa and it tells you to go for a walk instead (just joking - kinda).
Point your smartphone at a sign written in any of 16 different foreign languages, take a picture, and this app translates it into English. It also reads the words aloud so you can learn the language as well as understand the sign.
It appears there is not yet a version to translate London's signs into California English, Texan signs for travellers from Sidney, or any other of the many diverse English speaking regions...
While most smart phones have easy access to Googlemaps and other map tools, this app allows you to access the maps without a mobile data connection. Visit CMH Summer Adventures, where there is no cellular coverage, and this will tell you where you are - not that you’ll need it with an experienced guide to share more mountain secrets with you than any app will ever have.
Wine Pics and Pairings
This one allows you to scan a bar code on a bottle of wine and receive tasting notes, prices, recipes and food pairings. Probably a better app for impressing a date than responding to a text from your digital girlfriend named Mina.
I don’t think the luxury hotel industry wants us to share this one, but this app gives you last minute deals on hotels, with discounts up to 70%. This sort of app is leading the trend towards more last minute travel planning. Why plan something expensive ahead of time when you could get the best for less at the last minute?
Anyone out there know of any other great ones? In a world with over a million apps, and counting, help out your fellow travellers and let us know your favourites...