You’ve booked your London holiday package and are armed with an array of guidebooks and maps, in addition to piles of printouts from hours of Internet research. That’s a lot to lug along, don’t you think!? As well as quickly eliminating the need for hard-copy resources, apps can serve a range of purposes when travelling. They make for quick, easy, inexpensive and portable reference materials. Here are some of the best reasons to explore the world of travel apps.
Currency Conversion on the Spot
The Aussie dollar is dropping and the best way to avoid coming home to a nasty credit card bill is to keep on top of the exchange rate throughout the course of your U.K. holiday. Many of the Aussie banks now offer their own apps for these purposes, so it pays to ask. Knowing currency rates means that when you are sitting down for that pub session in London, you know exactly what your pints are costing you in Aussie prices. Outside of the bank apps, another great option is “XE Currency”, an app that converts over 180 currencies around the world. It consists of real-time, up-to-the-minute information and even works offline. You can’t contest the quality — 15 million downloads don’t lie.
Get a Personal Tour Guide
There is an abundance of apps which serve as audio/virtual tour guides for all of the top London attractions. Why pay 20 pounds for a private guide, when you can pay two? “London Audio” is a guide and map app that provides 18 different audio tours for key London attractions including Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and Westminster Abbey. You can create your own itinerary and use the tracks offline.
Navigate the Terrain Successfully
One of the best ways to travel around London is by taxi, and one of the best ways to book your ride is by app. “Hailo” lets you order a London taxi from wherever you may be and gives an accurate reading around how long you will have to wait before it arrives. If the subway is more your scene, it just became a lot easier with “London Tube”, an app by Presselite. This app tells you how to get to where you want to go, and by the power of GPS, it then identifies your closest station. All of the info is real-time and incredibly accurate. It also seamlessly switches to another app, “London Bus”, when the time calls for it, providing you download this app as well. This makes multi-medium transport trips easy.
Get Amongst It
Guidebooks serve a purpose and have an objective, but the world of apps has changed the power structure and made everyone a critic. One of the best independent apps is “View London”, which “refuse[s] to be tied to a publishing house or tourist board”. “View London” provides objective information on London entertainment, free of charge.
If you don’t even know what you are looking for, there are an abundance of apps that can help you with that too! “Time Out London” is one of the best apps for information on where to eat, drink, shop and play. It also has details about events, film releases and new theatre productions. Perfect!
Record and Share Special Moments
Want to share your experiences with your loved ones at home? Social media apps are a fun and easy way to record holiday moments. Instead of bothering with Internet cafes and websites, it is now easy to connect with friends and family on the run, via the use of the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook apps. These apps are compatible with Android, iPad, iPhone and iPod. Flick out your iPad, take a snap and pass it around with Instagram. Or if you see something cool, quickly share it with the Twitter universe or your dedicated Facebook family. It’s too easy!
About the Author: Guest writer Cynthia Smith is a regular Aussie chick with a passion for travelling. Out of all of the places she’s been, London is her favourite.