Travel is not to be excluded from the catch-phrase there’s an app for that.
Beyond capturing meaningful moments in photos, smartphones aid with translations, dinner recommendations, and hotel bookings. But just as there’s always a new city making a name for itself, there are all sorts of new and exciting things going on in the app world, too. From scenic-route walking directions to crowdsourced maps featuring all the cities you didn’t know you wanted to visit, these six apps are doing big things to enhance your experiences on the road.
It's said that the best way to see a city is by foot, but not all meandering is created equal. Sidekix asks users to enter a specific destination, and then it creates a route based on personal interests. Coffee aficionado? A walk from your hotel to brunch can take you past three independent coffee shops. Art fiend? The app will find a handful of galleries along the walk to the art museum. It’s basically the ‘scenic route’ option of walking directions.
Exploring the local food scene in a new city is often a highlight for travelers. The idea of eating alone, though? Way more intimidating. Eat With created a social dining experience to combat this, connecting travelers with local hosts who offer supper clubs, cooking classes, and city food tours. The app connects you to relevant food experiences in any given city, plus menu details and reviews of the host (to determine if they're as handy with a pasta maker as they are at writing their bio for the app). Eat With is perfect for the solo traveler looking for long dinner conversations, or for the long-haul traveler who's sick of eating out.
If a standard Eiffel Tower postcard from your trip to Paris will no longer cut it, there's now a highly personalized alternative. My Postcard allows you to create a postcard using your own (excellent) photography. You can choose between single photo and collage options, select the font of your message, and even add borders and other stylistic elements if you feel so inclined. For $1.99, the app will print and send your postcard anywhere in the world, eliminating the need to Google-Translate the word for “stamp” in each country you visit.
The niche traveler faces several obstacles: How is one expected to find the most obscure street art or the quirkiest bar with a functioning ping-pong table and a Volkswagen minibus inside? Traditional search methods rarely yield productive or reliable results. The Here app provides a crowdsourced photo map built from the photos of people all around the world who want to share their favorite hidden gems, no search algorithm necessary. Images have to be taken in real time with a front-facing camera, keeping your map free of selfies, outdated photos, and over-edited images. Plus, you can build out your own aesthetically pleasing itinerary by saving photos as you go along.
The best parts of a road trip are the stops you make along the way—though it’s all too easy to speed past the gems waiting just off the interstate, like a totem pole park, a deep blue diving hole in the middle of the desert, or a hotel that once hosted Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, and FDR. Roadtrippers allows you to plot the route of your dream road trip and subsequently suggests scenic points, breweries, and funky streets to drive down in cities of your choosing.
Traditional city guides are often full of tourist hotspots and places you’ve either already heard of or have already been, and without someone doing the legwork for you, recommendations for new spots can be hard to come by. Problem-solving app Cool Cousin offers a supply of local “cousins”—i.e., like-minded folks—who share their personalized guides to a city. Every cousin profile include age, profession, and interests, surfacing locals whose recommendations you’re more likely to find agreeable. Think of it as your own personal concierge. Family first!