Technology has made many aspects of everyday living easier and planning a trip is no exception. Satellite navigation systems allow us to find our exact location on a map and plot a route to our desired destination. We can check out nearby gas stations, shops and restaurants and even book into a hotel using an app designed for our smartphones. There are plenty of online advice guides too that give us suggestions about things to do and see – travel tech helps us to have a great trip.
Time was when we had to pore over maps and calculate distances in order to plot a journey of any significant length, nowadays we can literally set out and let the satnav tell us how to get to where we want to go. If we want to stay clear of the major highways then alternative routes can be identified.
The leading travel site Hotels.com has a free app for iPhone and Android users that features ‘sign in once’ technology – so there is no having to remember login and password details. It allows users to gain access to around 135,000 hotels across the globe, offers in excess of 20,000 accommodation deals and features 30 different languages. As the app is an extension of the original website, travelers can check out hotel reviews, see current deals and book accommodations without the need to drag their laptop along on the trip.
Augmented reality apps
Hi-tech wizard apps can provide navigation around unfamiliar cities, which is perfect when visiting somewhere for the first time. For example, Wikitude uses the images viewed by a cell phone camera and overlays them with a variety of labels, including if there are any Starbucks cafés in a specific direction, via Starbucks World, or whether a historic monument is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Smartphone users can also devise and upload their own preferred ‘worlds.’
Football fans lucky enough to have bought tickets for a Philadelphia Eagles game during their trip, for instance, but new to the city, can easily locate the correct stadium using the free app on their smartphone. Concertgoers or theatre lovers can do likewise. Augmented reality apps help find specific places quickly and easily, even when in an unfamiliar state or city. This makes them ideal for travelers, especially those going somewhere new.
Another great app for people who adore finding out all there is to know about new places and have an Android smartphone is the Lonely Planet Compass City Guides containing GPS enabled maps, augmented reality camera views and guides to 25 cities across the globe. Lonely Planet also has a phrases app, Fast Talk, which contains foreign phrases to help world travelers who might otherwise struggle to communicate.
Hungry folks in a new place can use a number of apps to help them find local restaurants – one of the more sophisticated originated in Russia and is called Gvidi. It has a massive directory of places to eat and some clever algorithms that can be tailored to fit an individual’s personal tastes.
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