In true Adventure Geek Style, I thought I would share with you my top iPhone applications that I currently use for hiking and travelling. I know we are meant to be getting away from technology and enjoying the peace of the outdoors, but the smartphone is a very good safety tool. (That's my excuse anyway!).
In this blog, I will showcase the applications that currently reside in my “Travel folder” on the home screen of my iPhone. In no particular order of priority…
#1 – Train Apps
Tube Map Pro uses the official Tube map from Transport for London (TfL) with live travel information and a journey planner – all free from adverts. I love this app as it is so easy to use. You do not need to have an internet connection to use the app, which is handy, and there is even an Apple Watch version to keep things simple. Note: There is a light version, but if you are a regular traveller on the London underground then I would certainly recommend upgrading to the Pro version so that you can store regular routes, have live updates etc.
Available for iOS only. Price for the Pro Version is £6.99
I am sure everyone uses this application for booking and paying for their trains, but it's an application that is extremely valuable to me. I always book my train journey through Trainline because of the following features:-
- The app is not just for the UK, it covers the whole of Europe
- It delivers you the best deal as it searches all train providers for the route chosen.
- It is very fast and a painless process to search, book and pay for your tickets.
- There are no annoying adverts in this app
Available on iOS and Android and it's free.
Note: Did you know that if you upgrade your ticket to 1st class (which is often inexpensive), you can use the 1st class lounges at many stations. Free snacks, a comfy seat, free internet, nice toilets, free drinks which may include wine or beer.
#2 – Flight Apps
Most airlines have an application for flights. Life is so much easier with boarding passes and quick check-ins if you are using the applications. My biggest tip that I can give you is to make sure you add your boarding pass to your Apple Wallet. I use the Apple wallet facility all the time when I am on a hike. It's not just great for boarding passes, but also fabulous for contactless payments, hotel reservations and much more. One double tap, or swipe right and the information is at your fingertips. The flight apps that I have used in the last few years are:
If you are looking for an application to search for the best deal on flights, then I suggest looking at these apps.
- Skyscanner – this app is an all-in-one travel app. Check for flights, hotels and car hire all in one place.
- Kayak is a great app that can search hundreds of travel sites at once, and deliver you a really good deal. I have watched this site grow over the last 12 months and the deals that you can get are amazing. (A bit like money supermarket, but for the travel industry).
#3 – Navigation Apps
If you know me, then you know that I do not have a brilliant sense of direction. I often need to use technology to find out where I am and try to navigate to where I need to be. Here are the top apps that I use on a regular basis to help:-
I use Waze on a daily basis in my regular job, however, it is also incredibly useful when going on an adventure into the unknown. Waze is a free Sat Nav app that is owned by Google and is so much better than Google Maps if you are driving. I have used this app for about four years now and I totally trust it's judgement. For example, last night I was travelling back from Luton down the M1. Waze directed me off the M1, across Milton Keynes and onto the A5. It then took me off the A5 and through a whole bunch of small villages before I ended up in my hometown. As I walked through the door my husband looked at me and said “Gotta love Waze eh?, there was a horrific accident on the M1 tonight which saw the closure of the motorway from Junction 14 (I came off at Junction 13), and then there was a fault with some traffic lights on the A5 which meant that there was a delay on that route as well”. How did my husband know that I was using Waze? When I set my route there is a little button that says “ETA”, and I just click my husband's name. He can then track where I am and see what approximate time I am due home.
The features with Waze are endless, so I urge you to check it out.
Available for Android and IOS – free app.
I know that I have already mentioned that Waze is so much better than Google Maps, but I do use this application when I am on foot in a busy city. I personally find it much better than Apple maps.
I am a keen geocacher, but I often use the application even if I am not out on a geocaching hunt. The maps are amazing (especially if you are a premium member) as they showcase all the footpaths and you can even see a satellite map version. I also like that it has an inbuilt compass. Just click on the location that you are heading for, then click the compass and it will point you in the right direction. My sense of direction is not brilliant, and I have often walked a distance in the wrong way. The geocaching app keeps me on track, and I get to find a few hidden boxes on the way!
Available for Android and iOS – free light version and a paid version. (here)
Did you know that you can purchase an OS Map and then scan the code that is located on the back of the map, which will then give you access to everything you need on the App? Gone are the days when you need to carry big bulky maps with you on the trail. I used this application for The Peak Pilgrimage that we completed in 2017. There is also a neat little function that records your trip (a bit like Strava). So if you are keen on making a note of your mileage etc then this app can help.
Available for Android and iOS – click here
If you are a keen walker, runner, cyclist then you have probably already heard of Strava. It is a great way to track your route, giving you an idea of the pace that you are walking, the elevation and much more. I enjoy the social elements of this app where you can join clubs and connect with friends. Below is the walk that I completed earlier today as I was trying out my new trekking umbrella.
#4 – Accommodation Apps
I have no idea why, but I have only just discovered Air B&B! I know, most people have been using this service for a long time, but it was only when I was booking accommodation for The Cotswold Way that I tried the service. I loved the process that much that with exception to three nights, the rest is all little air b&b bookings.
Air B&B is an American Company that was established in 2009 but has since spread all over the world. Get cheap rooms with real people, not posh hotels! (Well, some of them are posh, but most are regular people like me and you). Watch the video below to find out more.
I love the app because:-
- It integrates with Apple Wallet
- You can call or email the host directly from the app
- I love the way you know the hosts first name – it feels very personal
- You can read the house manual from the app – again another little quirky feature that makes the experience seem more personal.
Booking.com is another app that I have used all over the world. Often the bookings are reduced in price and if you have registered an account then the whole process is so easy. Features that I like about this application are:
- The search is excellent and so are the filters
- I like the email confirmation and the additional “add to calendar” function. (yes, it even works with iCal).
- There are always plenty of reviews which helps the decision process.
- I like the prices
- A neat feature is to view your own personal journey via a map. Go to your profile, click “check out your journey with booking.com” and you will be rewarded with a map that has pins of all the places where you have previously stayed.
#5 – Random Apps that I always use when travelling
- Touchnote – Send your photos in the form of postcards in the mail to your loved ones.
- Google Translate – so easy to use and very handy!
- 1Password – a safe place to keep all your passwords, passport and driving licence details.
- Wise Pilgrim App – if you are completing the Camino in Spain then I would certainly recommend downloading this app. It never gets out of date and gives you all the latest details about Albergues, restaurants and also a map guide with GPS built in.
- Amazon Prime – for watching The Walking Dead and keep me entertained on the plane.
- Magisto – is the app that I use to create little videos of my day.
Once I started this blog I realised that I could have perhaps broken it down into five different blogs! There is a lot of information to take in, but if you have any questions then please do not hesitate to comment below.