Going it alone is a rite of passage for many young travellers, with how long you stay and where, what you see (or don’t) and how you get around all totally up to you.
But even the most independent travellers need a little help now and then. Fortunately, there are a bunch of great apps that contain a wealth of information – without adding any weight to your carry-on.[related_articles]55242,54325,13482[/related_articles]
For Safety: TripWhistle Global SOS
Look, sometimes things don’t go exactly as you’d planned and, when you’re travelling solo, safety should be your number one priority.
TripWhistle Global SOS is an iOS app that saves you the trouble of having to learn the emergency call number for a given location – rather, it automatically dials the triple-0 equivalent for 196 countries and shares your location if need be. It’s also available in dozens of languages.
With any luck, you’ll never need to use it, but – if nothing else – it’ll give your mum peace of mind knowing you have fast and effective access to emergency services if you need them.[related_articles],58745,32389[/related_articles]
For Translation: Google Translate
The go-to for most travellers – and with good reason – Google Translate can translate text between 103 languages online and 59 languages with no internet connection.
But arguably the best thing about it is its ability to translate text in images instantly. The little-known function works for 38 languages – all you have to do is point your phone’s camera at a road sign, shop name or room-service menu and voila! Google Translate will show you what it means.
It also lets users and native-speakers to suggest improvements for existing translations, meaning you’re getting some of the most up-to-date translations available.
Download for Android.[related_articles],26330,57440[/related_articles]
For New Friends: Meetup
Sure, you’re travelling alone, but that doesn’t mean you have to be lonely while you travel. That’s where Meetup comes in.
Want to try Gaelic football? Learn coding on the road? Hang out with someone else’s dog? Meetup allows users to create get-togethers for like-minded folks in their area (or the area they’re currently in). Simply log in, choose your location and what you’re interested in, and off you go!
For Directions: CityMaps2Go
One of the biggest frustrations of travelling by yourself – especially for the geographically challenged among us – is being able to use your phone’s awesome mapping features without burning through your data (or receiving a nasty roaming bill when you’re back on home soil).
CityMaps2Go allows users to save full maps for whole cities and map routes to certain attractions ahead of time for offline use. You can also save the maps you’ve created in case you want to return later (Lord knows you’ll need a good few days at the Met to see it all, for example).
There’s also a built-in concierge that recommends activities and interesting nearby places based on your location and the time of day. Winner.
For Audio Tours: Detour
Group and free walking tours are a great way to meet other travellers and get your bearings in a new city, but sometimes – especially if you’re pressed for time – you just want to do your own thing.
Detour offers audio tours of 150 trails and attractions in 17 cities across the USA and internationally. Tours include a nature walk in San Francisco‘s Golden Gate Park, a guide to the eccentricities of Harajuku in Tokyo and history of the Suffragettes in London‘s West End. There are also attraction-specific tours for iconic places like The Vatican in Rome, Coney Island in New York, and Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.[related_articles]29262,46712[/related_articles]
Oh, and if your narrator sounds familiar, there’s a good chance they are – notable folks like Erin Brockovich‘s Peter Coyote and poet Eileen Myles have lent their voices to tours of their neighbourhoods and favourite destinations.
(Lead image: Linkedin Sales Navigator / Unsplash)
Kristen Amiet is a previous AWOL editor, bona fide travel addict, sometimes whisky drinker and full-time breakfast food enthusiast.