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...Embracing technology has levelled up my travels in many ways. From finding places to stay, locating the best trails and linking up with locals.
Here are my favourite websites and apps for overseas adventures.
Skyscanner: I prefer to use skyscanner.net to search for the best deals on flights but if I’m being honest, I usually always book with trip.com, they have their own app too. Sometimes it’s not the cheapest option, but I’m happy to pay extra as I know they’re going to have a human to answer the phone and help get me sorted if there are issues. I’ve had a few flight emergencies and this is a great company that has real humans manning the phones, and they’re super helpful too (*not sponsored in any way, I just like them!). Hot tip, flights are usually cheaper on Tuesdays and Thursdays but I’ll use the monthly view to find the best day.
Flight Radar 24: Turn your phone into a live plane tracker and see flights around the world move in real time on a detailed map. This app allows you to keep an eye on cancellations, delays and gate changes. It’s great for tracking a plane if you’re picking someone up from the airport or helping you gauge what level of panic you should be experiencing if you’re stuck in traffic on the way there.
Booking: I’m back on the hotel train and you can find some absolute bargains on Booking, especially if you leave it at last minute or visit somewhere during off off-season.
Airbnb: I try to use Airbnb less these days but when I do, I make sure it’s a local person, not a huge company that’s purchased a bunch of apartments (this is problematic and is resulting in sky-high rents and ruining the community vibe of some places). Plus, I really enjoy staying with locals, and learning about culture firsthand.
Hostelworld: Great for budget travellers looking to meet people on the road. Many places have private rooms too if you want the company but can’t face sharing a room with that guy that snores like a freight train… (there’s always one!)
If you’re looking for a way to travel longer and to have more of a cultural experience, these apps are also great:
Trusted House Sitters: Love dogs? Watch people’s furry friends in exchange for free accommodation (yes, FREE). You can save thousands and there are some serious luxury accommodations available.
Work Away: Trade your skills for accommodation and usually food. From helping build a house in the French Countryside to working at a Yoga retreat in Costa Rica for months at a time, this app has it all.
WOOFing: If you’re into farming you can travel the world volunteering at organic and permaculture farms while perfecting your green thumb.
Google Maps: A classic choice with offline options, ensuring you never truly get lost. I like to follow the audio directions in my headphones so I look and feel less like a tourist. Google is also a massively undervalued resource when it comes to planning any trip, you can ‘save’ sights you want to see, restaurants you want to visit and even search for cool hidden nature spots like lakes and mountains. (Maps.me: Free, fast, detailed, and entirely offline maps with turn-by-turn navigation - useful to have in case Google fails you.)
AllTrails: I use this app for hiking but it’s great for mountain biking, climbing and snow sports too and offers a range of different maps you can download.
Komoot: This seems to be the most popular with Bikepackers in Europe. It’s a route planning and navigation app that will generate routes based on riding type, surface and rider ability.
Google Maps: as mentioned earlier, Google works really well to find local foodie delights. Hot tip, Use Google Translate first and get the local words for food if you’re looking for restaurants. This will save you from getting served the tourist hotspots.
Michelin Guide app: I’m a foodie, so I want to try the best but that doesn’t have to mean the most expensive. The Michelin app can show you loads of local restaurants (depending on where you are) and actors to all budgets!
Airbnb: The Experiences section of the app is really great for local tours, the smaller and more niche the better. I’ve had some really unique experiences with locals who are proud to share their passion for their city.
Get Your Guide: An easy-to-use app to find tours, these are usually more commercial but still fun.
Pimsleur: If you want to get a little deeper, the Pimsleur method is a tried and tested language learning course. With a time investment of around 30 minutes a day you can pick up the basics in a matter of weeks and with over 50+ languages to choose from, they have you covered.
Drops: I love language Drops, it’s simple format makes learning a language fun and easy from just 5 minutes a day. It’s more pricey than Duo Lingo but for me it’s worth it. You have so many languages at your fingertips!
Duolingo: A classic free and fun language learning app.
Google Translate: Obviously, this is a must for overseas travel. From translating menus and signs to enabling you to converse with locals. The camera feature is fantastic for quick and easy menu translation. Download a language pack for offline use too so you don’t even need data.
Five Minute Journal: The Five Minute Journal uses proven principles of positive psychology to make you happier in 5 minutes a day with the guided gratitude journaling format. Travelling can be hard and sometimes you need to be reminded of the positives and how lucky you are to be on the road. It’s also a nice way to look back at your travels and see what you were thinking and feeling. You can upload images too.
Nike Training Club: With access to 200+ free workouts and targeted training programmes, the NTC App will support you without the need for a gym membership. Train your body from wherever and whenever through varied classes, ranging from 5–50 minutes.
Polarsteps: An automatic travel tracker/journal, Polarsteps does most of the work for you by tracking where you’ve been and adding photos from your travels, giving you a map and gallery of all your trips, simply by having the app running in the background on your phone.
Weatherbug: A super handy app that shares everything from rain forecasts to pollen count along with severe weather alerts.
Earthquake+: If you’re interested in tracking earthquakes, this app provides a ton of information and sends out notifications with recent earthquake details.
With endless amounts of apps available online, I could be here all day. I’ve shared ones that I personally have found helpful but I’d love to hear which apps you use too. As always, it’s worthwhile doing some research and finding specific ones that meet your needs.
If you're looking for Travel Gear, Wild Earth has got you covered from backpacks and roller bags, to hiking clothing and travel essentials. To keep your tech charged check check out Chris’ blog featuring his favourite power banks and solar chargers.
Planning an overseas adventure? Visit us in-store to chat with our experts or shoot us a message online if you have any questions! Don’t forget to share your adventures with us on Instagram by tagging @wildearthaustralia and #mywildearth in your next post.
About the contributor:
Lauren Clark is the social media manager for Wild Earth. An obsessive gram counter who's always on the hunt for the lightest and most compact gear for hiking and travel. You'll find her overseas in one country or another attempting digital nomad life. When she's not working she's taking in as much culture as she can, eating all of the foods, hiking all of the trails and trying to find people to belay for her. Follow her adventures on Instagram.