Monday, March 17, 2014

Websites and apps resource list


This is a very cool tool if you are starting to think about a trip to a major city - you put in your dates, energy level, hotel star rating, and it plans a visit for you!  Wouldn't follow it religiously, but very fun to play with if you're curious what kind of sights your destination has to offer.

360 Cities

This site is full of HD panoramas of some of the coolest places in the world - I use it when I'm homesick for London or really wish I were scuba diving. You can zoom in on destinations with less fuzziness that Google Earth, and yes, it's just a little creepy. But great for daydreaming!


My GPS of choice, Waze is generally very accurate, and is also able to help you route around traffic, accidents, and gives you warnings when a police officer may be up ahead.


A lifesaver when you need to quickly locate the nearest gas station, ATM, restaurant, or, you know... bar.


Download detailed maps onto your devices, so that you can have a functional digital map with you without needing internet access.


I've written about this amazing website before, and they've got an app, too. Input your starting and ending points, and it will figure out all the various methods to get you there, complete with times and approximate cost - bus, train, boat, plane, car, or any combination. Plus, you can put a whole lot of filters on your search results to help you get tailored results - so even if you don't know an area's travel choices, you can find all your options easily.


GoEuro is a similar premise as Rome2Rio - you put in your starting and ending destination, and it helps you figure out modes of transport you might otherwise not have thought of. GoEuro is still growing, but if you are traveling within Europe (particularly within the UK, Spain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, where they're fully operational), you'll find some solid planning help here.


A favorite for a few years now, TripIt takes the email confirmations from all your flights, hotels, train ticket purchases, and anything else you’ve bought for your trip, and combines them into one easily-scannable itinerary. Hopefully you’ll find that this stops you from, oh, I don’t know, assuming your train to Agra is at 7pm, finding out is was at 4pm, and that the next train isn’t until 2am? Theoretically?

Hotel Tonight

If you’re ever stranded, or in a much more fun universe, taking a spontaneous road trip, Hotel Tonight will help you find a place to stay, starting that day only. You can find stays up to four nights, but you’ll only get the very last-minute deals here—bookings open at 9am daily (don’t ask me how that works with time zones). You’ll reserve your hotel directly through the app, and nope – they don’t have an online interface. App only.


I’ve fallen in totally stupid love with Uber. Almost always cheaper than a taxi, and without half the fussing around—you don’t need to know your exact address, rather, the driver can find you based on your phone’s GPS (it’s an imperfect system, but usually it works fine). And you don’t tip – the cost of your ride is charged to the card you’ve left on file, so you can slide out of the car easily. If you leave something in the car, it’s easy to figure out who was driving you – you have their name and number given to you when you order the ride. Legal battles notwithstanding, Uber is in many major cities, generally being awesome.

Word Lens

Aim your phone’s camera at a foreign sign, and Word Lens will translate the text within the image—complete with the correct font and word placement. Definitely not perfect, but very cool.

"Hotel Killer" websites

Check out this list for hotel alternatives - some are known, like CouchSurfing and AirBnB, and some are newer. CampInMyGarden, anyone? But seriously, this is a good starting point to find less expensive, and often more interesting, alternatives to a generic hotel.

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