I travel, a lot! I would say since the beginning of 2017 I have been on the road greater than 50% of the time. My travels have taken me to Florida, Jamaica, Cuba, Maui, Whistler, Quebec, California, Vancouver and the Yukon plus many cities throughout Ontario. It has been a busy year and it is not over yet. Trips to Chicago, Philadelphia, New Brunswick and a possible river cruise are all in the planning stages. Like I said I travel a lot. Solo travelling today is very different than 10 years ago when the iPhone and Apps changed how we live, work and travel. Over the past few years, I’ve relied on a few travel Apps that I consider must haves for travelling, especially road tripping and I want to share them with you. Of course, I’m always on the look out for more so chime in down in the comments if you have a favourite or two I’ve missed. Let’s begin.
Tripit – This App is where I keep all my travel details in one place. Planes, trains and automobiles… literally. As soon as I receive my travel confirmations I email forward them to Tripit which imports it and keeps all the info in an easy to find place. Car rentals, plane tickets (time adjusted to the local time), train times including car # and seat, plus my hotel reservations are all in one place and sorted by trip/city. If you upgrade to the premium version you will get the added bonus of gate and flight change notifications on your phone. I can relax in the airport lounge with a glass of wine and not have to check the gate info screen every five minutes for an update.
Airline Specific Apps – I fly Air Canada 90% of the time so use their App frequently. I use it to check in to my flights, access my boarding pass and check on my flight status. Usually all from the comfort of a lounge or bed if it is an early morning flight. It never hurts to have an extra notification set up for flights you can’t afford to miss.
Waze – The Waze App is a must for travellers that are driving. It is a real time navigation App that helps you avoid traffic jams, accidents, and police traps all in real time. It is a community of 85+ million users that update road conditions as they are happening. You can also use it to help find the cheapest gas on your route or to avoid toll roads if you have the time and don’t want to pay the toll road fines. Turn by turn voice commands are available in celebrity voices or you can even record your own if you like the sound of your own voice.
MyRogers – Whether you are road tripping through Canada, the USA or just about any place in the world it is important to monitor your cell phone and data usage. I use the MyRogers App to do just that. With the App, I utilize the data management tool to set usage alarms warning me when I get close to my data plan limit. Can you say worry free Facebook and Instagram posts? With Gamesplus, another feature in the App, I can redeem points that I earn towards sporting events near me. Just recently I redeemed points at the Rogers Cup event in Toronto for some Rogers Cup hats for me and my friend. They can also be redeemed for exclusive VIP experiences and free tickets to sporting events near you. Of course, I can also check and pay my bill no matter where I am and at any time.
Yelp – Don’t believe everything you read and I certainly don’t with Yelp reviews, but if I am in a new city and need to find a place to eat at that is close to where I am then Yelp is the best App out there. My trick is to find places that have a high number of reviews and a 4-star or greater rating. I find the greater number of reviews a restaurant has the better chance that the rating is accurate. It averages out the “fans” and the Yelp flakes who think they are the New York Times food critic when in fact they are just picky eaters.
Spotify – Singing in the shower as I get ready for a day of exploration and adventure or carpool karaoke as I drive from one city to the next I can’t live without my Spotify playlists. You don’t have to be a DJ to create a great playlist, although you are able to if you want to. I leave that magic to people that know music better than me. On my recent drives up in the Yukon I listened to 1980’s Hits by Filtr and All Out 70’s by Spotify. Upgrade to premium and you can download your favourite playlist so that on trips where no data or cell coverage is available you can still rock out to your favourite tunes. Fun Fact new Rogers customers that sign up on a Share Everything Plan get 6 months of Spotify Premium for free!
Untapped – Love craft beer? This App is the one and only one you will need to keep track of what you drank, where you drank it and what you thought of it. Earn badges the more you try and lead your friends in discovering more craft beers than anyone else. You can follow fellow beer lovers to see what they are drinking and enjoying. I use it as a means to record all the unique beers I try on my travels so that when I go to write about them I have all my notes from my real time tasting.
ViewRanger – Want to go on an epic hike into the back country and don’t want to get lost? ViewRanger allows you to download route maps that work even when you are off the grid. Great for cycling and hiking trips and for staying in touch with your friends’ adventures as well. It even allows you to photograph a mountain peak and have it identified using the Skyline feature. This is one tech tool you should always have if you plan on going out of cell service. It works on Apple Watch as well. Some maps are free while others are for purchase.
Receipt Bank – For those of us that travel for work or just like to keep track of where our money goes this is one of my favourite Apps for travelling in a foreign country. Take a picture of your receipt in the App, it will upload, convert into the relevant currency, and keep track of what expense line it belongs to. One minute after you pay your bill versus hours sifting through the shoebox at tax time. This App saves me money and time! Plus it gives me an extra record of the receipt should I lose the paper one by accident.
CAA – Road tripping around Canada and the USA? This App for travelling by car is essential. Roadside Assistance, gas prices, CAA/AAA approved lodging and repair services are all just a tap away. If you purchase insurance through CAA then all of this info can be saved within the App and you can speak to them with a touch of a button should the need arise. No one wants the car or motorhome to break down, but they do and this App has you covered.
How did we travel before smartphones and Apps came into our lives? Trust me we did, but I for one am thrilled with how easy it is as a solo traveller to find my way around new to me destinations while staying connected to friends and family. Have you got a good roaming plan in place so that when you travel it is seamless? I’m a huge fan of the Rogers Roam Like Home feature of their Share Everything Plan. For $5 a day in the US & $10 a day in 100 other destinations I can use my phone and plan just like I’m in Canada. This was really helpful when I had to call my bank from Scotland last Fall to fix a problem. Over 30 minutes on the phone and it cost me nothing except my time and aggravation dealing with my Banks screw up.
I am sure there are plenty more Apps for travelling that I may have missed so please share your favourites below. I’ll include them in a future update.