Holidaying in 2019 is a completely different experience to what it was ten years ago and bears no resemblance whatsoever to that of pre-millennium vacations. Obviously, we still jet off to indulge in foreign cuisine, culture, and sunshine, but the way in which we organise our trips, and what we do when we are there has all been turned on its head thanks to the invention of the smartphone.
For this article we teamed up with the folks at Lookers, dealers of the all-new Audi A8, to give you a complete guide in which we assess all the brilliant new apps that will help you in the holiday process, right from the initial stage of planning, to sipping a cold cocktail by the pool in the Canaries!
So, it’s that time of the year again; the bank holidays have passed, and work is becoming that little bit too relentless. You’ve decided a holiday is a must to relieve just a small percentage of stress — your work request was accepted, but where do you go from there?
A matter of years ago this stage would have consisted of visiting your local travel agents, perusing through the telephone directory style brochures. Now, this can all be done on your mobile phone.
There are numerous flight comparison apps available to download and all have slightly differing selling points that give them that all important unique selling point. For the sake of keeping things simple however, we have whittled this down to our favourite three.
There is nothing worse than booking flights in a panic as you think they are going to sell-out, only to find out they have dropped in price the following week — at Hopper however, this is not a concern. The app monitors 15 billion flights every day to find you the right deal. When you’re on the app, things are aesthetically pleasing as well, with colour co-ordination used to help users distinguish between the expense of the flight and the time of year.
Maybe you haven’t decided where you want to go and just the thought of getting away, on a budget, is all that matters. If this sounds like you, then Kiwi will prove to be a valuable widget. Once you’ve selected your home destination, it provides you with a map and how much it will cost you to get to each destination on it. No more repetitive searching.
Have you ever considered that airlines maybe don’t show us the cheapest option? It should come as no surprise that the most economically viable flights are being hidden from us — realistically, why would they not let us pay more? Skiplagged focuses on finding the loopholes in flying — it might be that booking a longer flight, with a stop-over works out cheaper, or by getting off at certain destinations en route can save money.
Perhaps the biggest app invention in terms of holidaying is Airbnb. Hotels, as much as they offer a wide range of choice and variation, don’t quite match up to the quirkiness offered by property rental app Airbnb. The site, which operates in more than 190 countries in the world, offers users the potential to rent villas, single rooms, yachts, treehouses, and much more — often at a considerably cheaper rate than that of hotels. Similarly, the experience section now provides customers with the opportunity to immerse themselves in more than just the tourist board suggestions, alternatively getting involved in the activities suggested and often carried out by locals.
Unless we have a transfer waiting for us at the other side when we land, Hotelinfo could be an absolute lifesaver. So, while your GCSE language skills proved to be of little worth here, you’ve managed to navigate your way out of the airport thanks to your inherent knowledge and understanding of exit signs. This trusty app links straight to the hotel, where you can chat to staff, ultimately getting the best directions to the hotel, or suggestions for a taxi — just remember to check your roaming tariffs.
In a similar fashion to not having to visit the travel agents, we no longer have to go and pick up traveler’s cheques. In fact, we don’t require currency at all anymore. Using your debit card abroad was always somewhat of a cruel mistress, especially when you arrived home to discover a host of transaction and exchange fees had debited your account. Now however, with the invention of app-only banks like Starling and Revolut, you don’t need to incur fees for using your money abroad. All you have to do is sign up, get your card, and upload cash via your domestic account.
Why bother writing yourself a check-list when your phone can do it for you? Packpoint assesses the weather forecast for you on a daily basis, while also asking you the activities in which you will be partaking, so its impossible to leave your hiking boots or swimming shorts at home.
Have you ever wandered round a foreign city thinking to yourself, ‘I’d love to know what the story behind that is’? Well, if you have, you aren’t alone! Unlike having to devote your entire day to a guided tour, you can do now find out all those unanswered questions. Simply download Detour, plug in your headphones, and listen to a fully narrated tour of the city — from a local with considerable knowledge of the area.
Above we have provided you with just some of the apps that you can take advantage off when you are travelling to make your trip that little bit easier — however, the market is awash with numerous handy additions, so go have a browse!