The benefits of travel are often talked about by those that enjoy experiencing new places in the world, encountering different cultures other than their own and generally as a way to get away from the stresses of ordinary life. The fact that travel makes us happier isn’t just common hear-say though, but also has a scientific basis which has come to light in a recent study by two scientists, Dr. Thomas Gilovich and Amit Kumar which was published in Experimental Social Psychology. For all of us travel lovers, there is something satisfying about science now backing up what we’ve always known in our hearts, that experiences really are better than things.
The interesting thing that was found in the study was that although the act of travel is impermanent, it has a lasting positive benefit, whereas it is the permanence of physical possessions that leads to us eventually becoming bored and unsatisfied with them. While travel can be a wonderful, life affirming experience that you will recount with fond memories long after the trip has ended, there are certain physical possessions that when used effectively can enhance this experience such as your smart phone. Of course we don’t suggest relying completely on your phone, or forgetting to focus on the moment, but instead here are 5 apps suggestions to easily improve your travel experience:
You’re on holiday in another country and trying to order some food from the menu but it’s all in a different language. You expected the waiter to be able to understand you, but in fact they don’t. Or alternatively you’re trying to buy train tickets while abroad but everything appears to be written in gibberish.Situations like these have probably happened to anyone who has travelled abroad at least a few times in their life, but with the Google Translate app, available for either Android or iPhone devices this will be a problem of the past. The newly updated app features 103 languages and has some amazing new features to ensure you can easily overcome those lost in translation moments.
This includes the ability to talk with someone who doesn’t speak your language by speaking directly into the app, which then translates into the language you’ve selected, playing it out aloud. You can also scan different things that need translating such as signs or menus for an instant translation displayed on your phone screen. Characters not supported by your phone keyboard can be written on the screen for translation and of course you can type out words and sentences that you need to understand. Your phone doesn’t even need to be connected to the internet as the app works in offline mode. This is one phone companion you don’t want to be without!
Whether you are taking a trip around the world through many different countries or are simply heading to just one, converting currencies on the go is a necessary part of travel. Perhaps you are deciding on a spur of the moment excursion, or you are out shopping in your chosen destination and you want to know whether you are getting good value. Or you might be searching for a good rate when you are changing currencies abroad and don’t want to be ripped off.
With the XE Currency App, the world’s most downloaded foreign exchange app, you can quickly and easily find out the exchange rate of over 180 currencies. On XE Currency you will find up-to-the-minute exchange rates, historical charts, and it even stores the last updated rates, so it works offline. This free app has been downloaded over 40 million times and is available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry.
One of the best things about exploring another country is the unique experiences you can have while there such as trying out a local food delicacy, visiting an amazing attraction in a hidden part of the city you are staying, that isn’t necessarily on the typical tourist trail, or going on an exciting excursion that you will be talking about with friends and family after you return home. Often when you are abroad you will happen upon many of these things by chance which adds to the fun. What TripAdvisor does though is offers you a helping hand when you are undecided which restaurant to choose, what excursion to take or what attraction to visit.
You can download an app version of the hugely popular website which you will be able to access everywhere on your travels. One of the best things about TripAdvisor is that it allows users to submit reviews so you can see what other people thought about an experience or place before you decide to pay money or use up your valuable travel time. The app is available for iphone, ipad, Android, Windows Mobile or Windows tablet devices and now allows offline access to reviews, maps and photos for over 300 cities.
While most of us love to travel, none of us like missing out on a great deal and this includes with our flights. Flight prices seem to depend on so many different variables such as which airline you fly with, which day, what time, or which airport you are flying from. Most of the time all you want to do is to be able to do is find a flight to your chosen destination for the best possible price so you have more money to spend enjoying yourself during your holiday. On the other hand it can seem a daunting task trawling through the websites of different airlines comparing them all to find out which offers the best price at the time of year you want to travel. Then even after you’ve booked your flight you might still worry that you could have got a better deal but by then it’s too late. All of this was a big problem until the Skyscanner website was launched and now even better there is a mobile app for when you are on the go!
The Skyscanner app allows you to input a variety of details such as when you want to fly, where to, only show direct flights or include indirect as well and a host of other options. It will then quickly compare prices across a variety of different websites and airlines to find you the best possible price. You can also either specify an exact date or whole month if you are just trying to decide when is the best time to take your next trip. There is a colour coding system on the app so you easily see when the most economical times of year to are to help get your holiday off to a flying start.
While many of us love to get away from the stresses of our busy lives and experience new cultures and meet new people, we also love to keep in contact with friends and family back home. Communication after all is what phones were originally intended for and despite becoming like computers in our pockets, they still allow us to communicate in so many great ways. Of course you can phone or text message, but it’s much more fun for friends and family to receive photos and video messages from you while you are abroad. With Snapchat you can do all of this and more!
While the people you care about may not be with you on your holiday that doesn’t mean you can’t still feel connected to them and also let them join in the experience. With Snapchat you can share your experiences by sending photos and videos to specific people or instead to your public story. While many apps have since copied its features, Snapchat was the original to pioneer the idea of disappearing messages. This adds an immediacy to your stories because after 24 hours they are gone which will encourage your friends and family to check them out. With Snapchat you can instant message and video call, plus you can also create groups of people to chat to. Another great feature of Snapchat is the geo filters that can be added to your photos and videos which act almost like passport stamps. While your Snaps and stories disappear after 24 hours from public view, luckily you can now save them to look back on later with the Memories feature. Snapchat may even encourage you to explore more to make your Story more interesting. What are you waiting for, get out there and get snapping!
We hope that these five very different apps will help to improve your travel experience. Of course there are many other different apps that can be used while you are travelling, but you also want to leave room on your phone for all the photos and videos you’re going to be taking!
If you found this list of apps useful then please don’t forget to hit one of the share buttons below to share on social media and with any of your friends and family who will soon be taking a trip. Let us know with a comment on here or via social media which other apps you would suggest for improving the travel experience.