My top 10 apps for solo travelling (Part II)

Venice, Italy

In my last blog post, I talked about the 5 useful apps I use for my solo travelling. As promised, here are the other 5 apps. Enjoy!

Beautiful Swiss Alps from the top
  • Weather app

I trust that most of you have one of the weather apps in your phone. It is so helpful to know the weather condition of the destination you are going to in advance. Some places in Europe, you get 3 different weathers in one day! So I usually check the weather in the morning before I head out. In doing so, I know if I need a water proof jacket, an umbrella or whether I should put the thermal wear. It help you to plan your outfit for the day and know what to pack.

I was at a small osteria in Siena, Italy but the owner is well prepared with foreign tourists. They have an English menu. So no translating app needed 🙂
  • Google Translate

I use this app a lot even when I am not travelling. This app comes in handy when you travel to a country where you don’t know the language and would like to communicate with the local or understand the sign.

In addition, you can also use this app to translate signage or labels, by turning on the camera. I love this when I go to supermarket and want to make sure I get the washing detergent, not the floor cleaning soap 😊 I also use this when I go to restaurant to help me translate the menu.

A view from the top, at Duomo of Siena. I took like hundreds of photos and VDOs, all is saved and safe.
  • Google Photos

Ok, I do not have a camera but instead, use my phone to take all the photos and VDOs. The major problem is that you run out of space and have to start deleting some. So the Google Photo app come in handy, as when you are connected to Wifi, it will automatically upload your photos and VDOs to your account on cloud.

You can get access to the images and VDOs later and it is super easy to use and search for something. There are some other apps like OneDrive from Microsoft or DropBox that you can use to save all the files as well.

Venice, the home of Bank of Venice which is the first national bank to have been established within the boundaries of Europe.
  • Mobile banking apps

When you travel for a long time, you will need to take care of some financial stuff back home or even some cash when you are overseas. With the mobile banking apps, I can manage things easily including paying for bills or transferring money.

Like I mentioned in my previous blog, many banks (in Thailand) now offer Travel Card which is a debit card that you can exchange the foreign currency at a very good rate using the money in your saving account.

You can use this card paying in your preferred currency overseas, without transaction fee. Furthermore you can withdraw cash from ATMs overseas at a low fee. If you live in Thailand, there are many banks start offering this service including SCB, KTB, Citibank and KBANK. I am using SCB Travel Planet card.

Highspeed trains in Europe are very good and fast. If you book the ticket well in advance, you can get an incredible cheap ride.
  • PayPal

I recommend you open PayPal account (free) and link it to your credit or debit account. It gives you conveniences when making online payment such as buying flights, train ticket or pay for hotel.

Why? You do not need to pick up your credit card and enter the 16 digits, which is the last thing I want to do when I am in a public place. It has other benefits such as transferring and receiving money. If you are online shopper, you know that there is a buyer protection as well.

Beautiful and cold day in La Rioja, northern Spain
  • Weather app

I trust that most of you have one of the weather apps already installed in your phone. It is so helpful to know the weather condition of the destination you are going in advance.

In some places in Europe, you get 3 different weathers in one day! I usually check the weather before heading out so that I know what kind of outfit you need or if I should bring an umbrella.

Seville Cathedral in Seville, Andalucia, South of Spain
I hope that this is useful and can help you with the start of travelling solo! Buon Viaggio!

My top 10 apps for solo travelling (Part I)

Apps play an important role in our modern life, especially for travelling. It makes things easier!

Hello everyone! Sorry that I haven’t updated my blog for a while. I have been busy travelling!

Ok as promised, I have listed the 10 apps I use prior and during my travels which I decide to separate into two blog posts. I will not include the social media apps as those are personal preference.

15 Years ago, I would have to travel with this kind of map. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it!
  • Google Maps

I don’t know how I will survive the solo travelling without Google Maps. The app is a real-life saver. I remember more than ten years ago I did a roadtrip with a friend and we still used the printed guidebook, printed map and relying on the road sign! Now you just enter your destination and the app will tell you your transportation options, the distance and the time it will take.

If you want to take public transportation, it tells you which mode of public transportation, bus number, metro direction, the departure time and the next one. If you decide to go on foot, it works just fine too.

Pro: Easy to use, smart, reliable, accurate

Con: You need a decent Internet in your mobile phone, it consumes a lot of battery if you use it all the time.

Paperless ticket
  • Omio – Formerly Go Euro (For travelling in Europe)

I love this app and told some of my European to use it. It is a meta search app dedicated to travelling in Europe.  You simply enter your origin, destination and travelling dates, the it will show you options of transportation which include trains, buses and planes as well as estimated price. You can easily book the ticket on the app.

A local train from Siena to Florence

I use this app a lot to search for trains and book the ticket. You can use e-ticket which it is in the app to present it to the train staff.

Sipping coffee on the balcony of my AirBnb in Rome, really feel like home
  • AirBnb

I love AirBnb! I use it a lot especially if my stay lasts more than few days. When you travel around, pack, unpack, sometimes it feels nice to have a homey feels staying in a home or even sharing the apartment with a local. You can cook, prepare a meal, do laundry and just have your own privacy and feel like home.

The view from my AirBnb in Madrid
  • Hotel Booking apps –

If you prefer to stay in hotel, guest house or hostel, these two OTAs (online travel agents) are my top two. Sometimes you get special discount or privilege like free breakfast or free upgrade from your member status.

I usually use these two apps when I look for a hotel to stay for few days or arrive late or have a flight late. Why? Because most hotels allow check in 24 hours or late without extra charge, and you can also leave your luggage for free there while exploring the city waiting for your flight or train.

For this reason, AirBnb may not be ideal if you have such travel conditions.

Flying over the Swiss Alps
  • Skyscanner

I use this app to find the beast deal for flights. It is a meta search app for flights. Alternatively, you can use Google Flights as well. However I find this app super easy to use.

They also have an option called Explore, for those who have the dates but do not know where to go yet. I love it! You just pick the cheapest destination at that specific time and voila, fly!

Venice in Winter, cold but still pretty 🙂
Ok, the next 5 apps will follow in the next blog post, until then! Ciao!