Top tips to change the way you travel using technology

Man using his phone. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Man using his phone. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Flights to book, accommodation to organise, a strange new place to navigate and about a million things to pack.  .  . You’re going to need a holiday when you’ve got through all this.

Arranging a getaway can be stressful but these days there are lots of nifty tools to help you manage all your holiday planning so you can focus on what really matters – making memories with your loved ones.

As the countdown to the holiday season has started in earnest, we went looking for the best digital tools to help you tootle through your travels.


This is one service that lives up to the hype. Whether you’re looking to travel on the cheap or splash out, Airbnb has something for you – and it’s a great way to book something nearby on the fly.

There’s accommodation of every kind on offer in most cities and many towns around the world, from quaint B&Bs to lavish 10-bedroom mansions. You can even rent a dinky room in some one’s flat if all you’re looking for is a crash pad.

The app and website have a relatively new Experience feature too, which allows users to book one-of-a-kind adventures with a local – think city walks, scuba-diving or cooking classes, all rated by users who’ve been there, done that and got the T-shirt, as is the case with accommodation.

Certain cities also have a Restaurant function now, which includes reviews of local hotspots by Airbnb hosts.

App free to download from the Apple App and Google Play stores. Also accessible via


If you haven’t had the time to brush up on the language of the country you’re visiting, Google Translate could be your saving grace. You can input words or phrases into the app to help you with conversational basics, and a little sound clip even teaches you how to pronounce the words.

The app allows you to download language packs ahead of time, so you don’t need an internet connection on your phone to use the translation services. Easily the best part though is the in-camera translation function – perfect for reading signs, menus and the like.

Just hold your phone over the text and it translates it into your language of choice right on your screen.

App free to download from the Apple App and Google Play stores. Also accessible via


This restaurant-booking app is great for making reservations in most major cities.

After inputting which city you’re in, you’ll receive restaurant options via the app with reviews and the entire menu.

It also pulls up the dress code, prices, re-views, a map showing you how to get there and any specials on offer. When you’re ready to book you select how many seats you need, what time you’ll be there and you’re in.

Booking through OpenTable also earns you points – called Dining Rewards – which you can spend on meals once you’ve earned enough.

App free to download from the Apple App and Google Play stores. Also accessible via


There are plenty of flight-booking apps and sites, but if you’re looking for a good deal, this is your best bet. Flight prices tend to fluctuate daily so tracking down a reasonable price usually involves trawling the internet – but Hopper can do that for you.

Input your home city and desired destination, and the user-friendly app highlights the days likely to be the cheapest to travel. Once you’ve picked your dates, you’ll be “watching” the trip and Hopper will send you notifications when prices have decreased or are about to spike. You can book your tickets on the app.

App free to download from the Apple App and Google Play stores.


This currency-converter app lets you add and delete various exchange rates. Sure, you could just google it – but if you don’t want to fork out for roaming, you can’t bank on there always being Wi-Fi wherever you are. The app’s biggest draw card is that it stores the most recent exchange rates you’ve checked so you can access them offline.

App free to download from the Apple App and Google Play stores. Also accessible via


With this app you’ll hopefully never get lost again. Through the use of geolocation it shows you how far you are from where you want to be once you’ve entered your desired destination, whether you’re travelling by car or taking public transport.

The app can also guide you to the nearest restaurant, garage or hospital. The public transport option is useful if you don’t want to fork out all your forex on a taxi. Even if you need to use multiple services, such as transferring from subway to bus, or walking a few blocks, Google maps out every step for you.

It even shows you train and bus arrival times. Another useful feature if you’re travelling without roaming data is that after you enter your destination the app can operate in offline mode and still show you where to go. But you’ll have to download the area map to be able to use it offline later.

App free to download from the Apple App and Google Play stores. Also accessible via


What to pack? What to wear? Will it be hot this time of year? PackPoint has the answers to these questions and more.

It helps you organise your packing for wherever you’ll be spending your holiday. Select your gender, destination, how many days you’ll be there and which activities you’ve planned. And – hey presto! –your packing list is generated. And it’s not just clothes.

PackPoint thinks of everything, including those obvious but easy-to-forget-in-a-rush essentials such as passports, boarding passes and cellphone chargers. Another nifty feature allows you to share the list with fellow travellers via WhatsApp or social media.

App free to download from the Apple App and Google Play stores.


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