Travel Tools to help you plan and get oriented when on vacation
Going on vacation gives you to experience the wonders of the world, but requires some serious planning. So, to help you out we have complied a list of travel resources to help you get oriented when on vacation. So before going on vacation to a country, use the following tools so that through your phone, you can have a full grip on your orientation to save time, money and your ego. The tools are places on after the other to do them in this order to help you plan your dream vacation. First start by finding the things you want to do, then you need to pin the places you want to visit in the orientation and then get yourself an accommodation.
Things to do
Perhaps the most important part of a vacation (and perhaps the area that we give least attention to) is the what-are-you-going-to-when-there saga. If you are a passionate mountain biker, you can go to specific destinations to practice your hobby. In this case, we are referring to a vacation. You go to different countries around the world to experience their culture, and see landmarks that make them proud, or to taste prestigious dishes or drinks they serve. The following is a list of online tools that can help you know what’s hot about a place.
Lonely planet – is a great guide book or e-book, which gives information about the places, average budget, places to stay and eat, things to do as well as getting there and away. Loney Planet is a good resources for those travelling on a budget. You can buy the book or e-book for each country or for a whole area for example south East Asia or South America which would compromise all countries together in one book.
Trip advisor – is a great application which gives you all the information of a country or region in that country you are visiting. You can look up places to stay, best attractions, things and tours to do, accommodations to stay as well as flights. The best part of this application is that you can check the reviews from tried and tested clients which would give you a great overview of what to expect. Make sure you leave your own review to help fellow travellers.
Google search location where going – before going on vacation to a particular country if you write things to do in (where ever you are going) on Google it will give you a list of sights and best attractions of that country or place you are going. This will give you an idea of where to go and what not to miss! Another great tool to use is 'Images' from Google, so that you an see pictures of places you;d like to visit.
When on vacation, you are in a new place, all the streets are new and it (the feeling of being 'lost' is part of what makes travelling exciting. But knowing where you are is generally seen as an important factor in life. This is perhaps more important to us right now, because we are on a road trip. However having a good grip of your orientation is also useful if you are backpacking. Knowing where you are can help you know how long will the bus take to arrive at the next destination, make sure that taxis are following the shortest path if they are using the meter, and sometimes you’ll just need it to roam around the place you are staying.
My Maps – after you find the hottest places in the location of your vacation , map them out on My Maps – a product by Google. When you download the app, you can see the locations of your pins even when offline. You have the option of colouring the pins depending on your linking (for example we highlighted the ports for international ferries in blue, and places of interest in red). What makes this tool particularly great is that you can share it with your travel buddies to facilitate planning.
Google maps – an alternative way of achieving the same result above (except for the sharing of information with travel buddies) is by using the ‘save’ feature on Google Maps. When you ‘save’ a location it will show as a start on your map, and you can even label it to know what the start is referring to (for example you can name it ‘hotel’ – to know your way back after a night of drinking).
Google maps (offline) – yes, Google maps can be used offline. You download an area on your phone by finding ‘offline areas’ from the drop down (in same list as ‘your places’), you hit the + to add a new area, and you simply drag in, or out to see the size of the map that you selecting. I just downloaded North Albania, and South Montenegro for 36MB – which isn’t much considering all the information I’m getting on my phone. When you do this, Google Maps works perfectly even without internet and on airplane mode (to save battery – especially useful for long drives). If you miss a turn, it will automatically re-route your journey to make sure that you arrive to your selected location. Naturally, sometimes road works, or new/closed roads show the imperfections in updates (especially here in Albania), but it generally works well.
Find a place to sleep – the least thing you’d want when you arrive to a new place is having to look for a place to sleep that suits your linking and that is a reasonable price. So it is ideal to look online and book accommodation for 1 night. It’s not ideal to book for more than 1 night because booking.com take a commission depending on the length of your stay – this would reduce your chances of getting a discount if staying more than 1 night. We usually use:
Booking.com - you can choose the type of accommodation you are looking for and the price range. The best feature is that most time you do not have to pay in advance.
Hostelworld - provide a list of hotels, guest houses, dorms, etc.
AirBnB - has lists of people who are renting out rooms inside their own home, against a fee. Click here to get your first free 18 euro to travel.
Couchsurfer is a community of people sharing homes (or parts of) for free. It is ethically logical to take the host out for dinner / lunch to show gratitude. It's a great way to hang out with the locals.
Make sure you:
Pin the location of your bed – right after you know where you are going to stay, pin this location on Google Maps. This will help you get there easily!
Make sure you read the following blog to help you save time and money when heading on vacation.
We have created a resource page where you can get all the essential tools needed to plan your perfect vacation.