So you surely already know about the loads of smartphone apps available for booking plane tickets or lodging for your vacation. But lots of times you probably forget to cover your bases in terms of your possible needs in an unknown city. Luckily, there are lots of apps out there for getting your bearings in unknown territory, in terms of both your physical location and discovering interesting places nearby.
One of the main terrors when traveling in a new country is usually figuring out if you’ll be able to get around large cities using public transport. Citymapper focuses solely on that challenge: it offers precise info on routes, stops, and schedules for train, metro, and bus lines as well as taxis and bikes. It can plan your routes based on your origin and destination, estimate the duration of the trip, and – to give you an idea of the tool’s depth and all-round brilliance – even tell you how many calories you’d burn if you walked it. That said, its database only covers 32 of the most important cities worldwide.
If what you happen to be looking for is a place where you can find lots of opinions in Spanish, Minube takes the cake. This successful travel planning app offers a huge platform where you can pick where you want to go and plan where you want to stay – it even integrates a comprehensive hotel reservation system right into the app. Among its tools it also includes the possibility to discover trips based on a series of search patterns. An ideal app for use at street-level.
Both its website and its app offer a much friendlier and more ‘human’ point of view compared to similar travel recommendation tools. On TouristEye instead of searching for specific places you look for experiences in areas that interest you. Members of its enormous user community upload their own ‘experience packs’ with specific things to do, and you can view all the place information either sequentially or on a map of the area.
Last month Google released the APK for one of its new tools: Google Trips. This app auto-detects your flight, hotel, and event reservations using the info found in your Gmail account (and various other daily interactions with your device) and recommends places to visit and info related to your upcoming destinations. You can think of it as an evolution of the service now provided by Google Now, but much more organized and packaged within an independent app.
Google Translate (Word Lens)
Word Lens Translator, from the studio Quest Visual, was an interesting augmented reality app that could translate text detected by your phone’s camera in real time. It even superimposed the translation over the original text in the same font and layout. Google thought this was so brilliant that it bought the company in 2014 to include the feature in its own translation tools. And so as of a few months ago you can now use this functionality inside the Google Translate app. Don’t understand that street sign? This app might well get you out of a tight spot.