Spontaneous travel can be so much fun. Throwing an overnighter in the car has found us in some amazing places and can be so romantic. To travel well doesn’t always mean lots of preparation – but having the right tools with you while you travel is essential. Here are our top 3 apps we use when we’re travelling off the cuff.
There’s definitely something in researching a new destination and planning your journey carefully. That feeling of expectation watching the calendar roll ever closer to that departure date – that excruciating pleasure of anticipation.
But sometimes it’s just the best when we stick a pin a map and start the car. We also use a similar technique when we’re on road trips. Our last journey in California was a driving holiday from San Francisco to LA, and we employed the same tricks there.
Of course there is some preparation needed before you head out yonder (I’ve always wanted to use that word!). More than making sure you’ve got enough clean undies to see you through, these are the apps you’ll need to download and become familiar with before you go.
3 must-have apps for spontaneous travel
Where to stay: Hotel Tonight
If you’re looking for a hotel for a great price on the night, this app is a stroke of genius. Not only are the places listed here only available for really short notice, if you’re within a certain distance to the hotel, you get a further discount.
Unlike a lot of the other last-minute hotel sites, bookings on Hotel Tonight can only be made via the app, not a desktop. This means people can’t bookmark deals and that means hotels are happier working with this company.
Happy hotel = better room… or at least not a room stuck next to a service elevator that clunks and rattles your wall all night long. Or a room next to the hotel bins.
It’s also got a very cool way to complete the booking.
Our gift to you: use the promo code CBUTCHER15 for a $30 discount for your first booking.
Where to eat: Zomato
The only thing more important than finding a comfy bed for the night: food.
When you’re in a new town, there’s nothing more daunting than trying to hunt out a good feed. Zomato – which has taken over from Urban Spoon – is our go-to for finding a good place for dinner in a new place.
You can search for types of cuisine, pricing and best of all you can be really specific with where you’re searching. There’s a function where you can draw on the map the parameters of where you want to search even down to a specific street.
The way Zomato have designed the app, regular reviewers’ comments and ratings show up first. And the more recent it is the higher the review will be in the search results too.
Where to go: WunderWalk
Perfect for a city break, WunderWalk gives you a spur-of-the-moment itinerary depending on what you want to look for.
You either find the area you’re going to be in or use location services, then fill in the search boxes. Food, drink, sights and attractions, and shopping are the search terms and you can add or remove as many as you want to your search.
The app then plans out a walking route within a 2km area for you to follow taking you to places that fulfill your search criteria. Clever, huh?
And if you log in with Facebook or your email, you can create a catalogue of walks you enjoy and share them with others on the app.
I have to say I also like this app. It tells you where pubs have happy hours all over Australia and New Zealand and which venues have specials on food and different drinks.
We’ve had some great success with this app if we’re looking for an apartment or house to stay in rather than a hotel. We’ve found places to stay where there are no hotels and the owners get back to you really quickly or their rating is effected.
Good ol’ Google will get you out of so many fixes. More specifically its translate app is excellent and can even read signs and text for you. It’s not infallible but it gets pretty close if the writing’s clear.
There’s nothing quite like unplanned travel. If you haven’t done it before, keep it local – the next town a different part of your city – then go on from there. It’s such a romantic, fun thing to do.
What apps do you use when you’re travelling? Have you ever gone away without any plans? Tell us in the comments.
Caveat: as far as we know, these apps are available on iOS and Android platforms. If they’re not, we’re really sorry, Android users. We didn’t mean to get your hopes up!
Kat - The Organised Housewife
What a fantastic app! I so need to get this for when i travel next!
Glad to be of assistance, Kat! 🙂
Sonia from Sonia Styling
You guys are all over this travel business! Love those 3 apps you’ve suggested and Happiest Hour? Hello!
How good’s that Happiest Hour app, Sonia? Love it! And the other three are awesome too. Zomato is such a handy resource and the way Hotel Tonight gives you deals depending on where you are… Such clever folks out there, ay?
Paula Morgan (@sydneyexpert)
I love Views on Top for finding great bars and other places up high. Also really like Tripomatic for getting organised.
Not a big fan of the new Zomato but so many of the rating and their lists seem a bit off the mark but I still use it.
Cool! Thanks Paula. Will check it out. Love Tripomatic. Great one to include in this list.
It took me a bit of time to get used to the new format Zomato have introduced. The way the lists are ordered now is supposed to give a more reliable, realistic and current review of places. Wonder if – as the more people use it, the more accurate those ratings will become.
Bart van Poll - Spotted by Locals
Nice list of apps Mr & Mrs R. 🙂 Perhaps you’d like to try out Spotted by Locals some time – we have blogs & apps with tips by city loving locals in 60+ cities around the world. For people who want to see something else than the regular highlights… Think you might like it!
Thanks for the recommendation, Bart. Will check it out. Sounds like the sort of thing we’d love!