I do think it is nice to immerse yourself in a place without being run down by somebody in a rush to get the best shot, being whacked with an errant selfie stick or desperately trying to avoid being in the background of some dude’s vlog. On the other hand, my phone has been so handy, so so handy. I can take photos with it, without having to whip out my DSLR in downtown Bangkok. I can call my boyfriend and my family on it, which is nice. Lastly, I do have a few apps that have probably saved my life and I would like to share them with you.
I have heavily used all of these Apps, specifically on my Interrail journey around Europe.
In brief: book and browse hostels
Use this app to book hostels in advance of your stay, or on the day if you are living precariously! I used Hostelworld almost daily, to do the obvious. What I love about Hostelworld is that you can order the results by cost, once I have done this I have an idea about what I want to pay. I then order the results by distance, therefore I can book the hostel for the best price and in optimum location! Perfect.
In brief: offline maps
This particular app, I would perhaps go as far as to say that this is the most useful app I have found. Before you travel, or when you have wifi, you can download maps of the places you are going to. Once you are then out and about, you have access to the map offline. Offline maps are such a valuable asset to your handset, you can pinpoint places of interest: your hotel, a nice restaurant, the pub… and you don’t have to get lost.
App: Sky Scanner
In brief: find a flight
Be warned, this app is addictive. It can give you an awful case of itchy feet. It has a terribly irresistible search feature where one can search flights to “everywhere” and sort them from highest to lowest price. Awful! Once you have chosen a location, you can select the whole month for travel and view this as a chart, that way you can find the cheapest way to fly out and fly home – if you want to come home, of course. I recently found (and bought, obviously) a flight to Poland for £15!
In brief: find out how to get from A to B
I mainly used Rome2Rio before my trip to calculate the cost of a journey (e.g. Rome to Paris) in order to ascertain whether buying an Interrail Pass was worth it and I eventually decided that it was good value. Rome2Rio is also fantastic for working out how to get out of an awkward place. For example, when I was in Dubrovnik I knew that I needed to get to Venice and it was such an awkward journey. With the help of this app, I found the cheapest way to get where I needed to go.
App: Rail Planner
In brief: check train times and more
This app was recommended by the people at Interrail. The main use of this application is that you can check train routes and times. It actually works in a similar, yet more linear fashion to Rome2Rio as it can calculate a train route for you, as well as offer up the times. In addition to this, you can access practical information on each country, a rundown of the benefits of having a Pass and you can also access an FAQ packed with worthwhile details.
In brief: load with your currency to take out at ATMs
The free part is the service and application, those are free. The £5 part is for them to send a card out to you, which I opted for. I’m not too tech savvy and I like the physical card! So, you load this card up with your own currency from your bank account. When you are in a country with a different currency you can use ATMs and pay for items by card without the foreign transaction fees. This means you don’t have to carry as much cash around with you and you are not subject to the commission taken when you exchange cash as when you pay using Revolut you just pay at the current exchange rate.
In brief: learn languages
Loads of language lessons in a range of languages. Some lessons do require data/wifi to run, so this may be a chilling before sleep app. I mainly used this on buses and trains to pass the time and to give my brain some work! When I visit a new country, I always try to know the basics, at least. Duolingo has many European languages for you to choose from, so why not brush up on you Deutsch before ordering a Currywurst?
App: Trip Advisor
In brief: local restaurant, bar, hotel, experiences and attraction reviews
Personally, I love researching the best restaurant or cafe in the area and finding it and then leaving my own reviews. There are also many useful functionalities on Trip Advisor were you can sort results by type/cuisine, price and distance – these functions have all helped me previously. There have been times where if I had just checked Trip Advisor, I wouldn’t have been ripped off or made a bad decision. It is also good for finding tours and other activities and like Maps.me you are able to download the maps for certain cities, which is a great feature.
There you have it, my favourite Interrailing apps. I did use other apps, but these are the ones I feel are distinctly effective when travelling around Europe.
P.S. APParently not everybody thinks puns are APPropriate. WhatsApp with that?!