People are often shocked to hear that I do very little research on a destination before I get there. These five apps help me figure out what to do and where I should go.
Foursquare is my go-to tool for finding restaurants and bars in a new city. Unlike Yelp, Foursquare has fantastic coverage worldwide. If you are just getting started, try entering ‘Top Picks’ into the top search bar.
I often will build a list in Foursquare of places I want to visit while in a new city. This is handy as Foursquare has a map view that shows all of your picks on a map.
One other note: I find that the data and reviews on Foursquare are much more authentic than those on TripAdvisor. Everyone’s thoughts/tastes and options are different, so I recommend giving it a try and seeing what you think.
Swarm is a location tracking app that allows you to check-in at places around the world.
Some people use this to keep tabs on what their friends are up to, but my use case is entirely different.
I use Swarm to keep a travel log of the restaurants, bars, and sights that I visit while in a new place. This makes it easy for me to remember the name of places I loved and helps me quickly compile suggestions for friends and family that ask for recommendations.
Forget paper maps and guidebooks. Google Maps has nearly perfect coverage worldwide. It has worked for me even in some of most remote parts of the world. Looking for an obscure monument/restaurant/building? Type the name into the search bar and I bet you’ll quickly find where it is located.
If you are worried about using data while traveling, you can download specific maps on your phone for offline usage.
Airbnb is a great tool for finding and booking a local’s home or apartment while traveling. It can often save you money vs staying in a regular hotel room.
The other cool element about Airbnb is that they are rolling out a new experiences feature in cities around the world. Airbnb Experiences are essentially tours or activities led by local experts. Airbnb Experiences currently range from wine tastings to surf lessons and differ from city-to-city. While they are not available everywhere just yet, it is worth taking a look to see if your next destination has any featured experiences. You might just pick up a new hobby or make a friend!
Packing for a trip can be stressful. Will it be warm? Or will it rain? Weatherline has a handy feature that shows you the average high and low temperature for any city on a month-by-month basis, in addition to showing daily weather forecasts. I love that the app design is simple, clean and intuitive.