Whenever I book a trip to somewhere new, I always end up downloading a bunch of apps of that country and/or city. I usually download around 6-7 that are free. I get a good buzz out of seeing a full folder for travel apps for iPhone 5. It just makes me all warm, fuzzy with a feeling of that gosh-darn-it-I’m-so-awesome-that-I’m-prepared on the side.
Here are some of the things you may want to consider when looking for apps to crowd your already crowded iPhone.
With international roaming out of the question (because if you match Globe Telecom’s track record and my willingness to compromise with their idiocy, things will just end up in a bloody, screaming and crying match) and WiFi isn’t always available when you’re out and about, a great tip is to always get maps that work offline.
It’s easy to find map apps but the trick is to find one you can navigate while you’re not connected to anything. The non-offline maps are easily spotted within its initial use – when they start asking for Location Services, wink, wink.
One of the best things the app world has ever produced, next to Candy Crush and Minion Rush, is walking audio guides. Strap on your headphones and start-a-walking. Get to a spot, have a listen, move on. It’s like having your very own tour guide and in some cases it is because these apps are usually paid. Not by a lot, most of them average $5 and below to have their audio content. And I think, if you want to do some heavy duty audio-guided-walks in some mega city, by all means – spend the money. Somebody took their time to narrate a damn guide book for your pleasure, the least you could do is give him a tiny tip for his efforts.
It’s awesome because it gives much more depth to just aimless walking around. Or you may choose to bring that heavy guide book. Personally, the audio guide would work for me since having The Happy Meal already in one hand, I can’t keep the other one occupied with anything more than a sheet of paper.
This is the one app that is almost invaluable to me when traveling. It saved my butt when I was in Japan. It’s better to choose the language apps that have audio equivalents of them so that you can just, for emergency purposes, fish out the app, tap on a phrase and deliver your message without massacring their language.
For everything else, there’s Mastercard – and practice. With all the practice we had in Japan uttering the words, “Sumimasen” and “Gonmenasai,” those are now permanently inked into my cranium – and the Happy Meal’s. The audio guides will help you from turning into those Americans in the Philippines who point at merchandise and go, “Mah-kha-NOH POW?”
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION GUIDE
Train schedule and station maps, bus schedules, call-a-cab, ferry time tables and a bunch of other apps are all out there to make your local commute as peaceful and hassle-free as possible. I appreciate that. Big cities like Seoul and Tokyo have awesome offline maps available, some of the better ones are paid, of course.
If anything, it’s a great way to map out future routes and to keep track of lines and stations.
Go for an interactive map that can be used offline. Plus points if you can pre-mark your upcoming routes
TRAVEL APP FOR IPHONE TIP: Usually, the official Tourism Board apps of said country or territory is awesome (and in some cases, awesome beyond awesome)
Korea Tourism Board’s official app. Pretty awesome. Discover Hong Kong’s is also just as awesome.
Then there are the apps that are actually more useful to click around in prior to departure. These are the guide book apps that give you advice on what to wear, what to be wary of and what activities you should be doing in the area.
These are the apps that you download and read insistently prior to departure but don’t end up clicking through at all as soon as you land.
Usually, if I end up downloading these, I would just go through and read them and then delete them prior to departure. If I don’t they are left in my app folder and I would constantly be confused as to which app to click on – so I minimize that by getting rid of these pre-trip apps.
FOR THE LOVE OF STEVE JOBS
Then there are apps like this: the kind of app that opens up with either a lousy but in fairness, resizable, image or just a PDF file with no means of bookmarking, selection or photos. Why? Why??? Why???!?!?
Seriously. THIS qualifies as an app???
There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of travel apps for iPhone 5 out there in the store and it does take some time to find out which ones are actually good and which ones you should chuck. After vigilantly minding my app downloads from traveling, I’ve gotten a few of these down pat – so semi-trust me.
Semi-trust. It’s like, jumping into the water without a life vest but still having that pool noodle ready to be tossed out to you. Yea sounds just about right.