All set for your summer holiday? Don't board that plane until you've downloaded our resident travel guru's favourite trip-planning apps...
Jon Buckthorp is Vodafone UK’s resident holiday and travel buff. This summer he’s been exploring the delights that France has to offer as part of a trip to the 2016 Euros, but what are the essential apps that helped enhance his journey? Over to Jon to find out…
The right app in the right moment
I’ve spent the last few weeks traversing Europe and merging some of my lifelong passions: sport, food and travel. And with all three things, mobile tech proved not just useful, but invaluable. But how exactly did my use of mobile technology shape my experience? And what apps can you use to turn your next trip into the journey of a lifetime?
The main focus of my trip was the chance to travel and witness the European Championships first-hand in Nice. It’s always been a personal dream to attend the event, so when tickets became available I was first in the queue. Having managed to bag some tickets (and become very popular in the process), my friends and I soon had an apartment booked via AirBnB, British Airways boarding passes loaded up on our smartphones, and we were ready to go.
But those apps were just the tip of the digital iceberg when it came to my tech-fuelled travelling. And, England crashing out of the tournament notwithstanding, I can honestly say this was one of my favourite travel experiences ever. Why? Simple: thanks in part to our choice not to stay in a hotel, and partly due to the ubiquitous use of data on my mobile, it really felt like we lived in Nice, rather than being one of the 300,000 that travelled there for the championships.
To show the difference the right app in the right moment can make, I’ve collated the best of the bunch that we all took advantage of through the trip – before, during, and even after our sojourn through western Europe…
Before the trip
Sullivan’s List | iOS
Having been struck by lightning seven times and lived to tell the tale, Roy Sullivan is simultaneously one of the luckiest and unluckiest men I have have read about. His gift to the world, though, was ‘Sullivan’s List’ – the idea that we all create wish list of unmissable life experiences. And this app lets you do just that, by adding and compiling experiences from every possible aspect of human culture from across the globe.
Tourist Eye | iOS | Google Play
Curated by users and fellow travellers, this app allows you to plan experiences, find things to do, explore restaurants and create ‘must-see’ wish-lists. It was really useful in France when it came to planning the first trips out of the apartment, and to get our bearings. The reasons I really like this app, though, is that is helps build some direction – it shows you the things you’ll regret not seeing if you rely on the “stumble upon” method.
Uber | Google Play | iOS
Ok, so Uber is well worn, but the usefulness of having it work across a myriad countries was very apparent when we arrived at the airport in Nice. And the best bit? You can book an Ubercopter from the comfort of the airport lounge, if you so choose. Unfortunately, since Nice airport is right on the sea front and only about 20 minutes from our rented pad, we chose to not to take the chopper option.
During the trip
Moovit | Google Play | iOS
Moovit will be an essential app for any city break I go on in the future. It charts city transport links for countless destinations – from train, bus and to tram – and this was a godsend on our impromptu trips to Monaco and Cannes. A definite must-download for any would-be urban explorers
Vivino | iOS | Google Play
There’s no better place than France to have a glass of wine with your meal. But how do you choose which bottle to go for? Vivino makes it simple. Just take a snap of a bottle or type in its name, and you’ll find an expert review. And this was handy in the local mini-markets, where I perused and found some brilliant tipples for the apartment.
VS. Racing 2 | iOS | Google Play
As a cultured, educated and refined travelling party, one of our major activities was… Staying in the apartment and playing this brilliant little multiplayer racing game over and over and over again. This was mainly to compete for tasks (going to the fridge, getting water, putting the football on the TV, etc.). VS. Racing 2 is the perfect way to settle scores, nurture team competition, and have some fun during the downtime.
After the trip
Woodpost | iOS
This wonderful looking app allows you to capture and relive your break in an unusual way. It allows you to transpose a holiday snap onto a wooden poster, postcard, and more besides. This is neat, subtle and lets you really personalise the trinkets in your home. Remember: beauty is in the eye of the wood-based beholder.
Epicurious | iOS
I’m a big fan of sizzling up a feast at home, so I love Epicurious, a recipe app that’ll help you recreate the local dishes you found when you were out and about when you get back home. It’s bursting with recipes, and even sports shopping list and timer. It’s a perfect way to keep the trip going on your return.
Steller | Google Play | iOS
I’ve been loving Steller as a top way to collate and curate the story of your trip. Whereas Instagram will grab a moment, Twitter will grab a thought and Facebook will grab your attention, Stellar exists to allow you to build out and share the whole experience of your trip – with pictures, videos and text working together. It’s a personal way to create that storyboard of your trip, all with filters and stylistic tweaks. Lovely stuff.
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