As the world comes to a standstill as we try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we encourage all of you to hunker down right now, too. In the meantime, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to get back out there.
Once upon a time, there were things called travel guidebooks. They were heavy and made out of paper—a material that came from dead trees. The information inside them always became out-of-date very quickly.
Today we have city guide apps that offer instant, and constantly updated, information on what to see and do in foreign lands, along with where the hottest restaurants are, and how to find the best budget hotels. These five are the handiest.
TripAdvisor City Guides
City Guides app, you can take advantage of the volumes of user-generated rankings and content from the TripAdvisor web site to create your own itinerary. Download the offline content for a specific city, and you get a detailed walking map and highlights of highly-rated hotels, restaurants, attractions, shopping, and nightlife. It also provides suggested tour ideas, and will point you to the nearest subway station. Its one drawback is scope: Only 80 cities around the world are available on the app.
Type a destination into Gogobot's search bar, and the impressively easy user interface will display pictures of restaurants, hotels, and attractions in that location. This app features thousands of locations—type in the word "Cape," for instance and you get 20 options, from Cape Cod to Cape Reinga, New Zealand. But the user-generated rankings and reviews aren't nearly as extensive as you'll find on TripAdvisor.
This app is included in the list as much for its cool factor as for its utility. Select "sights," and it lists Wikipedia entries for the nearby tourist attractions and provides a map of where they're located. Turn on the camera option, and as you pan across your field of view, icons will pop up highlighting the attractions in that specific direction. You can do the same pop-up camera search for hotels, bars, and restaurants.
Tripomatic is a must-have for anyone who likes to keep to a structured schedule. With it, you select the city and dates for your trip, and then choose activities, sites, restaurants and hotels to slide into each specific day on your itinerary. It's easiest to create your trip plan on your computer online at tripomatic.com, and then download it on your phone through the app later.
The home screen on the Minube app asks "Where'd you like to go?" Type your answer into the search bar, and you're off. It's part social platform and part city guide, offering pictures, videos and reviews, posted by hundreds of thousands of users, of the best local places to eat, sleep, and have fun. Because Minube is Spanish-based, its coverage of European destinations is broader than of North American ones.