Since June 2017, EU roaming charges have been abolished, meaning us Brits can now use our phone abroad without getting charged heavy fees 🙂 My recent trip to Italy was the first time I was able to take full advantage and I wanted to share with you the apps that helped make my holiday. There’s so much planning that can be done from home, but having apps on hand to help make the most of your trip whilst your there can maximise your enjoyment.
Food: the ForkMy husband was advised before we left that, as we were visiting Rome, we should download and try the Fork app. From the people behind tripadvisor, the Fork lets users discover highly rated restaurants nearby based on their location. The user can see reviews and customer pictures in the app, and even book in-app to receive discounts. Listings can be filtered by distance from current location, by best offers or highest rated. Its currently available in most European-mainland cities and Brazil.
We used this app almost every day on our holiday – sometimes for lunch and dinner! And as a result, we were rewarded with tasty food in restaurants we otherwise wouldn’t have found. The bonus was we even got offers – 50% off our bill in one evening restaurant! The app has some bugs (for example crashing in the middle of writing a review) but the location of the restaurants it recommended was always accurate (no mean feat when theres Rome’s ancient narrow streets to contend with) and we didn’t have a bad meal on holiday thanks to this app!
Check it out at: thefork.com
Finance: Starling BankA few weeks before our trip I heard about Starling bank – a UK mobile-based challenger bank. I signed up and was impressed before I even went away – their app gives full control of your debit card and allows you to analyse your spending by category and merchant – great.
But what impressed me most is there are NO NON-STERLING FEES! With my other bank, cash withdrawals and spending overseas incur a terrible exchange rate and then a non-sterling fee on top. This results in me trying to reduce the number of withdrawals I make, so taking more out at once and ending up with lots of cash – not ideal! With the starling card, the exchange rate was better than we could find anywhere else, so I was able to spend just like I do in the UK – little and often. And using contactless. Get a no-fee card at: starlingbank.com **EDIT: the lovely folks at Starling bank have given me the code WANDERER to share with you! Use this code to skip the queue and get your account faster**
Language: Duolingo before you go (Google translate when you’re there!)I always think its best to make the effort and know a little of the local language when travelling. Even its just being able to say hello and thank you, it can go a long way in making friends! Therefore before I go I brush up my language skills on Duolingo. Currently, there are 24 languages available to learn for English speakers.
The first module of each language course gives you some basics to get by on holiday. Or you can continue the modules to learn more. The app is super easy to use and Duolingo makes learning the language fun by turning it into a game where you can challenge your friends. And if you don’t know enough when you’re overseas and are struggling to get by in English theres always the Google translate app! Great for translating English to other languages to make yourself clear and vice versa. Get Duolingo: iPhone / Android or visit duolingo.com
Getting around yourself: Google maps
If, like me, you try to maximise your holiday by fitting in as much as possible, then you perhaps don’t have the luxury of being able to take wrong turns! After arriving in Rome at 11pm, I had cleverly booked an 8.30am tour of the colosseum, with no idea how to get there from the hotel :/ Google maps made it no problem. We even had time to stop off en-route to have breakfast – lifesaver! Being able to self-navigate means you’re still firmly in control of your holiday and can enjoy the sights along the way, without having to worry that you’re going to be late (…or lost). Google maps is also useful roadtrips, such as our trip in on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Getting around generally: Uber
Available in more places than ever before, I always find the Uber app helpful. Whether its to get a car from the airport or to a bar in the evening. It makes an un-familiar place so easy to navigate when the app and driver are doing it for you!
Rome is the first place I’ve been that Uber actually worked out more expensive than that local taxi’s. As a result we didn’t use it as often as we usually do. Having said that, it’s great for peace of mind, knowing you can just open the app, order a car and get back to your hotel without the need for cash! Download uber (use code victoriac1017 to get your first ride free): iPhone / Android
What are the apps you can’t go on holiday without? Let me know in the comments.