For travellers both casual and avid, these apps will transform the way you explore new destinations
By Pamela Chow
So, you enjoy planning your own adventure through a foreign land and discovering places known to few travellers. Your best planning buds include the likes of review blogs, hotel apps and flight searches.
But what if your travel experience can be improved even more, and easily so? We reveal a number of under-used yet essential apps that can help you uncover a whole new world of travel.
Combining two needs while overseas – a car ride and a local buddy – this app connects drivers who have empty seats with travellers in need of a ride.
Here’s what makes it even better: it has a “Blabla Index”, where you can choose your desired level of chattiness and engagement with your ride buddy.
The cost of each ride covers the gas needed for your journey. This app currently operates in European countries like the UK, Germany and France.
2. Packing Pro
Packing for your trip is part of the travel experience, although it can be stressful to keep track of necessities – especially if you’re packing for your family too.
It’ll get easier with this app. Simply tell it where you’re going, how long for and with whom, and it’ll churn out a list of what you might need – split up into categories and separate lists for each family member.
The app also comes with customisation options, such as the colour of each packing list and more.
Have you found yourself wandering through a city and wishing you had a personal assistant by your side, not just to bring you to the best places in town, but also to secure a booking for you?
CityButler is a new app that lets you browse and book top picks in a city (from local SIM cards to excursions), bookmark interests and create a ‘Favourites’ list for future or repeated reference.
For now, the app features Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Singapore, London, Manchester, Melbourne and Sydney. More destinations in Asia, Europe and the USA will be added in the coming months.
4. Map WiFi & Wi-Fi Finder
Other than stunning sights and delicious finds, almost every modern traveller hunts for one other thing: free WiFi. This app is an essential for you to locate every single WiFi hotspot in town, even if you’re offline.
The offline functionality lets you pre-download places that you are travelling to, so you can find fast WiFi on the go. It even shows you WiFi rated by Hotspot Speed, because you deserve only the best.
5. Google Translate
This is an extremely useful app that, no doubt, many people are already aware of. However, what makes it even more useful than many realise is this godsend function: offline camera translation.
This function has saved many a traveller from tricky situations. Simply select your desired languages, tap the camera icon and aim the lens at the word you need to translate – viola, you can now read signs, menus and notices in a foreign language.
You no longer have to worry about ordering something wildly different from what you were expecting.
What’s even more immersive than munching on local food? You can’t get any more authentic than enjoying a home-cooked meal in a local’s own home.
EatWith features hosts all over the world – from New York to Barcelona – who make amazing meals and happen to be great hosts as well. All hosts and travellers must be signed in to even browse the listings, and every listing has a user-review and pricing section, so you can be sure what you’re getting into.
Is visiting a stranger’s home for dinner too close for your comfort? Don’t sweat it – here’s another app that is almost the same thing, but with more diverse choices for discovering a foreign country like a local.
Withlocals can pair you with someone from the city, who can show you to the best spots around town, teach you a traditional hobby, take you on a tour, and if you’ve warmed up to them, they can also cook for you in their home.
The app also features suggestions, host verification and reviews by other travellers, and if you choose a guided experience, it will only cost you a small fee for your host.