Traveling can be an exhilarating and exciting life event to tick off your bucket list. You can plan your trip any way you want: You may want to rely on a travel agent, or you can go through the whole booking process yourself. However, travel is not just hopping on a plane then going to your destination of choice. Especially if you’re traveling to another country, you may need a little help getting around.
Fortunately, the Internet has made things so much easier. No need to lug all those maps and guides-to-certain-countries books. All you need are your tablet, laptop, or even just your smartphone, and a few apps and bookmarks, and you’re all set.
Google Maps. This is probably the first thing you have to download on your Android device or iPhone. You’ll need a way to get around the unfamiliar city/ies you’re traveling to, and this is your best tool. Ditch the paper maps, and have Google Maps on your smartphone.
TripAdvisor. Unless you have friends in the area who can take you around and show you through the sights and sounds of your city or country of choice, you definitely need to know where you should be eating, where you should be hanging out, and other such details. TripAdvisor is THE best place for learning where to go, where to eat, and even where to stay.
Booking.com. If you’re planning your trip yourself, Booking.com will help you get the job done faster and easier. Great deals, reviews on hotels, are all available on Booking.com.
Google Translate. You need to know rudimentary phrases to get by, right? And if you don’t have the time to learn the language of your target country, this is the next best thing. And if you really want to take learning the language of your travel destination to a whole new level, you may want to explore FluentIn3Months.com. It’s a great travel resource, apart from the language-learning program it has.
XE.com. You will have to be able to convert currencies in a snap. XE.com helps you do just that.
Here are some websites and apps that aren’t a basic travel need, but may come in handy:
Hospitality Exchange Websites. This is social networking for people who want to share their homes with travelers, as well as travelers who want to find more affordable accommodation on the cheap. CouchSurfing.org made the practice popular, and many other websites have followed suit. Airbnb.com has a similar concept, and is highly recommended online. RoomORama.com is more commercial in nature, and they perform background checks on both the traveler and the host. In any case, always check the feedback of the accommodations you’re considering, in order to see if it’s a safe and great fit for you.
Proxy Websites. Some countries have nationwide firewalls, so it would be useful if you knew a few proxy websites. ClearlyDrunk.com is a good and secure free proxy website, but you may want to explore safer options like HotspotShield.com, or even a paid service like NinjasProxy.com. This would help you access blocked websites like Facebook.
Chat And Communication Apps. James Karl Buck, a UC Berkeley student who went to Egypt for a journalism project, got caught in one of the riots and strikes and was jailed. Thanks to Twitter, a one-word Tweet got him out of jail, and fast. While this is an extreme case of the need for communication, don’t forget to pack communication apps, including chat and microblogging apps, in your mobile device. You’ll never know when you’ll need it.
If you need a guide on how to go about your travel adventure, you may want to check out this list of travel articles:
And if you want more apps you should pack with you on your trip, check out this list as well:
Be a well-informed, ever-ready traveler. Arm yourself with these apps, websites and article resources, and you’ll have a great time seeing the sights and sounds of the places you’ve always wanted to go to.
Photo Credits: Pixabay, Flickr/Wilerson S Andrade, DeviantArt/WoronHeart, TripAdvisor.com, Google Maps