Let’s face it. The digital age has dawned and has settled for some time now. Our smart phones and tablets are as essential as the wallet and keys we carry day-in and day-out. They’ve given us unlimited access to the unfamiliar and yet-to-be explored.
So much so that our screens can give us enough courage to go out the door and see for ourselves what the world does. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make things happen. Reality is just trying to keep you grounded so you can plan!
So instead of scrolling and wishing, use those portals to make choices and DO.
More importantly use the applications.
Just about every website, browser, and search engine has an app ready to download at your disposal. We use them everyday to keep track of our social lives, so why not for making things happen outside the snaps and text messages? To be on the other side of facetiming and those insta-stories? Be a Nike slogan!
But to actually do it, I’ll break it down for you.
FIRST: ask yourself what you have on your screen and what you know.
iPhone, Android, and other smartphone devices provide basic and everyday tools. But, obviously, you’ll need more than Google Maps & iPhone Weather.
SECOND: think what needs to be done and known.
What about flight plans and sleeping arrangements? How about what to bring? Food, entertainment? And the big question: WHERE to? The list goes on and on.
This is usually the part where most get overwhelmed figuring out all of these components. But apps can take the worrying down several notches. And if you’re the person who wants quick, easy, even cheap, I can help you with that.
During the last couple of years, I’ve managed to find great applications through friends and due to my incessantly nosy nature. I always want to learn and know more. I enjoy research. And because of various travel applications, my fellow Voyagers and I have struck gold with opportunities that we’d be stupid to pass up. I’ll explain further.
Here are three apps that have helped us achieve so much in just a year:
SKYSCANNER: This app is basically Google for flights.
But I want to make a huge shoutout to my friend, Lulu, for telling me about this app!
With Skyscanner and a little digging from Emylee, last summer we managed to find a flight for three each for $292 from JFK to Dublin, Ireland! And that’s not it; the flight was non-stop, round-trip for a time span of three weeks! How insane is that?! Keep in mind, we were in Scotland too so the flights were dirt cheap (considering it’s a neighboring country). Those flights round-trip were $34 a person! It’s all about the timing. I promise you, the odds will be in your favor if you just take a look.
Just last month, I browsed flight deals and ended up finding one to Boston for 5 days and each ticket $118 from Cleveland Hopkins! Emylee and I will be meeting up with Moriah (coming from Hartford) come October 12th!
HOSTELWORLD: This app helps you find room and board on a budget.
Let me tell you something: hostels are great because they give you more options and accommodate to your basic needs–how many beds, whether you’d prefer ensuite (adjoining bathroom), complimentary breakfast, free wifi, laundry facilities, lockers, etc. However, unlike hotels, they’re minimalist and provide the necessities without excess and the $$$ price tag attached. Plus, they’re a great place to meet new people, especially when you traveled over an ocean.
Thanks to this app (and Emylee for finding it), we found out that hostels charge little to none for a deposit. Like a hotel, they just put a name or credit card on file and you just pay when you check in. In Galway, we booked at the Savoy Hostel, and for 1 night it was $42.24 for three people–about $14.00 each! We chose a 6-bed Female Room Ensuite and came with personal outlets per bed, towels, free wifi and breakfast. You can’t make that stuff up! We enjoyed our stay there so much that we asked if it was possible to extend our booking–and they did for the same price per night!
This was just one of many deals we wouldn’t have found if it wasn’t for that app.
Also I want to throw out there, if you are interested in something more home-y, check out AirBnB! We just booked our first stay in the bucolic city of Randolph just 25 minutes outside of Boston.
DUOLINGO: In a nutshell, it’s an interactive language for dummies. Like me (just kidding, kinda).
Honestly, I retained more information and language grammar with this app than I did taking a college language retainer course. I took French for three years in high school and then had to take three more semesters at THE Ohio State University (sorry, we’re obnoxious like that). I’m a visual learner so I can read and comprehend sooooo much better than conversation.
But because of minor recollection and testing with Duolingo, I’m now 28% fluent! Hey, a more than quarter has to count for something, right?
And they have over twenty different languages to learn for English speakers! You can study as many as you like and then, depending how well you’re doing, you can use the app TinyCards for memorization. We, Voyagers, learned some Irish and a little Welsh before our ocean hop to Dublin! If you’re diving into different waters like Portugal or Japan, you could use Speak & Translate as well!
Studying is actually made to be fun with this application!
So, readers, I hope sharing these tidbits and apps with you brought some excitement for potential travels! Below are some other apps, we, Voyagers, have found useful or intend to use for Boston and more to come.
Navigating, Tech & Food:
Handling Money & Reservations:
Documenting & Travel Writing:
Study & Work Abroad:
Every adventure is a chance to live the way you dream.
~Katie, the Once & Future Voyager