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Travel Brilliantly: my Favourite Travel Apps

Inspiration Oct 24, 2013

Back in the day, travelling was a seriously daunting business, on my parent’s early 1970’s overland trip from London to Thailand they were equipped with nothing but a few photocopied A4 pages (in fact it was the first lonely planet!). As with every other aspect of the world, technology has changed the way we travel. And although some of us prefer the unknown (and like to diconnect when roaming the globe), I much rather travelling with an abundance of technology at my fingertips. You can imagine, therefore, how happy I am to be working with Marriott Hotels on their new Travel Brilliantly Campaign, helping to shape the redesign of their hotels with a focus on a younger, more technology savvy traveller. A major part of this is about conceptualising how technology can continue to make our travel experiences bigger, more vibrant, and well, easier. You may remember from the video we produced together that my ultimate hotel room would have a digitalised mirror so I could see the back of my outfit. To me, this is an example of how technology can make travel easier, more comfortable, and give us the answer to the age old – ‘does my bum look big in this?’ question.

If you’ve not yet entered your idea in the Marriott’s Travel Brilliantly campaign you should hop to it, you could win some amazing travel prizes and have your idea integrated into the redesign. What technology would you love to see in a Marriott next time you stay?

Although it’s not ideal to have your iphone glued to your hand when travelling, one must admit that the humble smart phone has revolutionised travel. No more wandering the hot streets searching for a stinky internet cafe, just find yourself some wi-fi and get your travel on. As part of working with the Marriott to enable others to Travel Brilliantly, I thought I would share with you my favourite travel apps, essential for the perfect trip. I’m heading to Hanoi on the weekend and trust me, these apps are front and centre on my home screen – now I just have to remember to pack my charger!

OK so you’re probably thinking, tell us something we don’t already know, and yes instagram is a great way to document where you go and what you do on your trip, but did you know it’s also a great research tool? Hashtag and locations are the ultimate way to check somewhere you want to go in real time (what is the weather doing? Is it as nice as you think? etc etc). Just be wary of filters that make everything look amazing! While you’re at it check out my insta for travel adventures and ideas (ifidosaysomyself).

Free Wifi
Unless you get yourself a sim card in each new destination, you’re going to need wifi (iphone’s are just big calculators when deprived of wifi). This app uses the GPS on your phone (no internet required – duh) to find and map the closest wifi. Genius! Note to self, it’s usually Macdonalds…

Field Trip
I’m always on the lookout for recommendations from clued up travellers (I always annoy my friends for recommendations), as well as ways to learn about my surroundings. Which is why I really like Field Trip. It runs in the background on your phone and alerts you when you’re nearing something interesting – whether it’s a new exhibition, an up and coming neighbourhood or an underground bar. The best bit? Field trip only lets trusted (and, ok, cool) sources contribute so you know the recommendations will be bang on.

There’s nothing more I hate than feeling rubbish when I arrive. It’s such a downer when you should be out having that dinner (the one you tell all your friends about – ‘best food of the trip!’) but you’re asleep instead. I use the Jet Lag app to help plan my flights and work out the best strategy for getting into the zone of my destination.

Packing Pro
As most of you know I’m a sucker for a well packed bag. This app puts together a packing list for you, based on where you’re going, who with and for how long. It divides the list into categories (e.g. essentials, clothes and gadgets) and logs items in terms of weight and value. So OCD. But so Good.

Any seasoned traveller will know that not all travel routes were created equal. I for one often choose a flight based on price when what really matters if the hassel factor, ie the number of stops, the airline itself and all manner of other factors. Hipmunk works this out for you when you’re looking for your next flight.

Seat Guru
Ever been stumped while trying to select a seat and terrified that you’ll end up in the one seat on the plane that doesn’t recline? SeatGuru outlines over 700 seat maps from around global airlines and colour-codes the seats according to “good”, “not-so-good” and “avoid-at-all-costs.” Never be wedged in the worst seat again!

World Nomads
From experience, if you take a few moments to learn a few phrases of the local language, you’ll be rewarded 1000 times over. This app lets you download basic phrases in a whole range of languages – from German to Aussie slang – and play them out loud, so you can perfect your pronunciation.



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