An Insider’s Guide to Travel: Travel Apps

An insider’s guide to travel #3

Amy, from our Ideas & Imagination team, is spending most of her Summer travelling and will be sharing regular insight along the way in her insider’s guide to travel. This week Amy talks travel apps…

Smartphones have become a core part of our daily routine, with many people choosing to use apps to service different aspects of their lives. Here are three travel apps which I think are essential for travelling.

 

Maps Me

The most used app on my phone, whenever I travel, is undoubtedly Maps Me. Maps Me is an offline maps service that allows users to download detailed maps of any given country and city worldwide, including remote islands. The app has proven itself to be very useful – it lets users save points of interest, so whenever I go to a new place I can save everything I would like to see in relation to my accommodation, then plan my days. Maps Me uses open source code, meaning travellers and businesses can add attractions to the map, increasing the level of detail of the maps, and allowing the app to compete with the likes of Google Maps. The impact of open source coding could be seen when I was on Gili Air – despite it being a remote island, Maps Me was listing all the attractions, services and accommodation on the island in vivid detail. I use this app every day as my guide, as, despite being offline, the map offers real time navigation and search for any listed points of interest which means I can find anything I need at any time. Unsurprisingly, the app is extremely popular with 40 million users. It is available on all modern devices and, in my opinion, is a must-have for anyone travelling.

 

02 TU Go

During my trip, I have not seen one consistent method used by travellers to communicate with friends and family as preferences of apps seem to be wide spread. As expected, popular apps such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype appear to dominate the field, however I have enjoyed using O2’s TU Go to communicate with home. TU Go is a service offered by O2, allowing their customers to stay connected to their mobile device while avoiding roaming charges through Wi-Fi. I prefer TU Go to other apps as it allows me access to my voicemail and texts, meaning I don’t have to rely on other people * read as my technology illiterate family * also using apps to stay in contact with me. The interface is straightforward to use, and the app can be downloaded across several devices, meaning I can reply to messages from my laptop too.

 

Push Doctor

Push Doctor describes itself as the ‘online doctor consultation service’ and offers users the opportunity to communicate with UK GP’s through live video calls. The app boasts of its instant connection as users can claim an ‘appointment’ within 6 minutes, 365 days a year. Travellers praise the app for its cost effectiveness as a basic one off appointment is priced at £20. This one off fee is much cheaper than the cost of seeing someone abroad, even with insurance, due to the excess charge. The app also features prescriptions that can be sent same day to a local pharmacy, referrals and sick notes meaning they can process a broad range of issues. Furthermore, the app is CQC regulated, meaning video consultations are fully encrypted and secure to ensure privacy. This has lead to some travel insurance providers offering the apps services as part of their insurance package, STA included. For me, Push Doctor provides a sense of security (last year I had three separate trips in South East Asia to various hospitals). Now, with this app, I can receive qualified medical advice at the touch of a button. Push Doctor is revolutionary, and a stark contrast to the eight-hour journey I endured last year to reach the nearest ‘safe’ clinic for a consultation.