July 2, 2015
TOP 10 TRAVEL APPS – 2015
Here at Telestial, we try to do everything we can to make your travels as convenient and hassle-free as possible. This is why we created the JT Travel App, giving you complete control over your spending and all the information about your SIM that you could need.
However, there’s only so far that we can go – after all, it’s not like we can come with you (no really, I keep asking and they keep telling me to get back to work and take off the board shorts). However, there are a host of apps available to download that can make your life easier and more convenient, and we’ve collated a list of some of the best for you here.
AMOUNT (iOS only)
Currency converters are incredibly useful in all sorts of travel situations. But when people go away, they often don’t realise that there are many other things that you may need to convert into something you can make sense of. Road signs, for example, can be displayed in miles or kilometres, weights can be imperial or metric, and the differences in how various countries quantify clothing or shoe sizes can cause even the most experienced shopper a headache. AMOUNT illustrates these differences quickly and clearly, displaying not only the unit of measurement you want, but all the others as well. So now you can see the distance from A to B in kilometres or miles… but also inches, fathoms, leagues, light years and every other option as well.
GAS BUDDY (iOS/Android)
We covered GAS BUDDY when it first launched a while ago, but it is worth revisiting now that the app is a little more established. Using crowd-sourced, real-time reporting, users report on their local gas station’s gasoline prices, collating the information and displaying the best deals in your locale. Users are encouraged to join in the reporting by earning points, achievements and by entering the daily draw to win $100 worth of free fuel. If you are driving in the US, this is an excellent resource you won’t want to be without.
This one is pretty simple, but incredibly useful nonetheless. There are plenty of map apps available, but the vast majority of them require an internet connection. MAPS.ME downloads your selected map to your phone, making it available without an internet connection. There’s no need to be concerned that you’re downloaded outdated information – the data comes from OpenStreetMap.org, a Wikipedia-style mapping resource that is updated by users) and their information updates every minute.
There have always been methods for giving your location based on something other than a map. Say for example that you’re meeting friends in London near the iconic Big Ben. Locals might know that it can be found at its given address of Elizabeth Tower, near Westminster Bridge. Former eagle scouts or experienced explorers could show off a bit and say that it’s at latitude 51.500912 and longitude -0.12440000 – but really, if that’s your method of giving directions, it’s not too likely that you’ve got any friends to meet. GPS coordinates are easy – you don’t need to understand the information you’re given, you just follow the pin on your map until you’re standing right on top of it, but again, this requires a data connection that is costing you money. WHAT3WORDS has done something incredibly clever. It has divided the entire world into 3m by 3m sections (a total of 57 trillion squares) and assigned each one a random three word code. This provides an easy, accurate and foolproof location that you can find, share and meet at without the need of a calculator, sextant or abacus.
The last of the three map apps in this section, CITYMAPPER collates and concentrates all the information you could possibly need for 23 major cities (with more added all the time). Look up how to get from one place to another and receive all the options at the same time, with route-planning for cars, bikes and pedestrians, disruption or traffic updates and prices for the various public transport choices available. An incredible wealth of useful tools are bundled into this app, including a calorie counter if you’re walking long distances, or an alarm to remind you which train station to get off at.
This app sits between two worlds: the old - where people on holiday seek out and send a picturesque postcard from that location to the folks back home – and the new – the online world, where a photo can be taken, uploaded and shared within seconds. When you upload a photo and message to POSTAGRAM, they print it out and send it to the desired recipient. The photo can then be popped out from the postcard and kept as a regular photo.
We move now to two apps for the business traveller, for whom life is very far from the glamour of postcards and beaches. People are often expected to leap on an overnight flight for 8 hours, find and arrive at a location able to intelligently hold a meeting and then return as soon as possible, ready to report on the meeting at 9am the next morning. This sort of thing can have a brutal effect on the body, with jetlag and stress taking an extreme toll. That’s why researchers came up with ENTRAIN, an app that helps you prepare for and adjust to different time zones by regulating the amount of light your body encounters. Controlling this before, during and after a business trip can help get you in and out of synch with different time zones a lot easier.
This is an app for anyone who has ever stared at a mound of crumpled, random receipts and wondered whether the effort of sorting through them all is worth the amount of personal money you’d claim back. EXPENSIFY takes control of your expenses reporting, managing your spending, logging your billable hours, automatically making currency adjustments and even scanning and logging your receipts for you. There’s even a cost-splitter, taking the pain out of figuring out who owes what from that business lunch.
Really simple and really brilliant – POCKET is an app that allows you to store articles, videos and whatever else you can find online and then access later, offline. Perfect for long journeys or situations where you want to browse online without actually being connected.
DARK SKY (iOS/Android)
Let’s face it, the standard weather tools on most smartphones really aren’t very good, especially if it gets boiled down to a single icon (the ‘sun/cloud’ icon is particularly frustrating). What if you had all the facilities of a professional weather station at your fingertips? DARK SKY basically does exactly that, giving you access to weather maps on a global scale, up to the minute notifications and information, and a wealth of other information such as wind speed, humidity and barometric pressure.