Of course, Citymapper, Uber, AirBnB, Google Translate, Time Out and Skyscanner are already your in-phone travel companions, but for those looking for a little bit different, we’ve picked out the newest and best new apps out there to ensure planning and enjoying your trips away and stress free.
For a travelling companion // TourBar
Finally an app that keeps all your travelling planning needs in one simple place at the touch of a finder. Launched in spring 2014, TourBar is a social networking website and mobile app that is designed to help people find a travel companion. Members have the option to register as local guides or as a solo traveller going to a new destination, or both. This not only offers the best of local knowledge but offers those residing in sun-traps to show off what they love about where they live while travellers can see the “real” side of a city. The TourBar app can also be downloaded for free and accessed on your smart phone by visiting the iTunes Store, Google Play or the Windows Phone Store.
For LGBT safe travel // OutOfOffice.com
Often described as entirely reductive, LGBT travel is facing a wall of difficulty when it comes to attracting travellers that don’t just want to go to Gran Canaria. This wall is something the guys at outofoffice.com are getting over pretty well. Tailor made luxury travel booker designed for LGBT travellers in need of adventure without facing restrictions for their sexuality, OutOfOffice offer trips to everywhere from Iceland to Thailand in packages worth investing time researching into. Out Of Office prides itself in working only with suppliers who welcome everyone, regardless of who you love.
For the health kicks // iamYiam.com
Dubbed the wellbeing sister of Airbnb, iamYiam.com brings together quality practitioners in London of natural health (e.g. meditation, yoga, acupuncture, nutrition etc) with consumers and makes it easy to book the best experience for exactly their needs and goals – saving you time and stress. Still in its infancy, the website is already hinting at an international presence. Built on an algorithm formulated from over 110,000 academic papers (woah), the website pinpoints which therapies and therapists are best suited to an individual depending on their requirements, be it sleeping better, reducing anxiety, lowering stress, recovering from injury or enhancing overall wellbeing.
For authentic accommodation // Homestay
For those not about overpriced hotels, grubby hostels or dodgy sofa hopping, Homestay offers unique and authentic global travel in touch with locals who really care. Focused as much on people as it is on places, Homestay.com puts hosts at the heart of travel experiences as every single booked stay is hosted – this allows guests a huge variety of authentic experiences that they would not get elsewhere and the chance to get all the best tips on their destination. The hosts offer travellers the chance to really get under the skin of their destination in a way that is impossible through an impersonal hotel or B&B. There are hosts who offer yoga, cooking and language classes and so many hosts have really interesting backgrounds – there’s Samart, a former Buddhist monk in Thailand, Juanma, a film maker in Madrid and Sally who’s 4th generation tea planter to name but a few.
For real city recommendations // CityButler
Yet another planning app but one with a slick design (we can’t stop finding ourselves planning dream holidays on it), slick branding and easy usage, CityButler truly caters for everything you need. By featuring only handpicked, top quality businesses, retailers and attractions, CityButler offers a unique guide for travellers looking to get the best possible experience from their city exploration. From a cruise tour of Ayutthaya in Bangkok (a magical place filled with abandoned old Kingdoms and religious dwellings, in which the modern world has crafted itself round headless Buddha saturated ruins) to a chocolate ecstasy tour in London, all content is carefully selected city by city. The app is designed with the traveller in mind, allowing users to easily navigate and book activities or services in the chosen city. On selecting a category, the user can view ratings of each business as well as reviews of their services. From local SIM cards to transport and excursions, the app also allows users to seamlessly order or book anything they might need during their city stay in clear and simple steps.
For tour planning // Viator
We feel you: you want to see the best of a city/country without wading through annoying tourists wielding selfie sticks, queuing hours to view overrated “wonders of the world” and spending a fortune on a shady tour guide. Viator is a global tours and activities provider for travellers, delivering online and mobile access to thousands of curated trip activities including tours, attractions, shore excursions and private guides, in more than 1,500 destinations worldwide. Viator has thousands of tours of all different kinds from the mainstream to the hidden treasures in most of the cities and countries in the world and there is a Viator app that makes it incredible easy to book a tour in the city or country you’re in at the click of a button. Many of the tours are actually run by family owned operators and so the product is always authentic and personalised.
For local expertise // Insight Guides
From the brand that has consistently brought you some of the most reliable travel guides in book form, Insight Guides‘ website has recently began offering a new service that puts travellers in touch with local travel experts to advise and book their travel trip, while taking away any risk (Insight Guides offers travellers a money-back guarantee). With regularly updated advice of what to see and where to stay, Insight Guides offers a real-time version of their aforementioned printed guides, with 250 trips across 30 destinations. Cutting away hours of stressful research, the site offers everything from rail transfers to car hires with the help of local experts and guides.
Words – Dean Eastmond