“When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it.” — Charles de Lint
When Socrates said, “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”, we bet he didn’t envision a world where you could pretty much do everything digitally…and we are talking everything. Did you know that you can use Virtual Reality Apps to travel the world now? Seriously, you don’t even have to leave your couch.
Here is a video showing you all that:
However, as much as digitization has made life simpler, faster and to some extent a little more boring, there simply is no substitute for the real thing. There is a surreal level of serenity and contentment that comes with setting foot in a foreign land; seeing an animal you have never seen before or learning how to say ‘where is the nearest bar’ in a foreign language from an actual native of the land.
Yes, Virtual Reality will make travel accessible and probably cheaper for some people, but it will always remain just that – virtual! You simply must get off the couch, get on a plane or car and fly/drive across country to experience the true nature of the thrill that comes with travelling and losing sight of the shore.
The good that digitization has done for travel
Forget about VR travel for a second; while it is strongly insinuated that digitization has done nothing but made it difficult for human beings to connect on a personal level, there is more to this technological advancement than just online dating sites.
The best apps for travellers
For those of us who still like hanging out with our friends, actually catching up and maybe going on a camping trip together, the digital era has made it so we can more easily plan all that and more. Here are some of the most useful travel apps every avid traveller should have on their phone:
Flapp: Travelstart’s Iconic Flight Booking App
Travelstart is by far one of the best flight booking platforms online. As such, it was only logical that an App be created to make it easier for our customers to enjoy our services. With Flapp, you can:
- Compare flights on all your favorite Airlines
- Book those flights
- Compare rental deals from the world’s leading car hire companies
- Get access to exclusive specials and offers online
All this can be found on one convenient, easy to download and even easier to use platform. Having Flapp on your phone gives you the ability to compare, book and manage your bookings on the go. Why go through the hassle of checking every website for the best Air prices while you can have them all in one place?
Uber: Taxi Hailing App
You probably do not need us to tell you about this but hey…we are here now so…! Uber has revolutionized how people use taxis around the world. It is available in most major cities. Even though there are some places that have issues with this cab hailing App for one reason or another:
- It riles up local taxi drivers
- It is taking over the taxi market worldwide
- Some of its drivers are not so…user friendly
The truth is that Uber is exceptionally convenient and offers highly affordable rates. It is available in Nairobi and most parts of Kenya. As a visitor, there is a good chance that you might get overcharged by local cab drivers on account of being, you know, foreign and not familiar with the typical going rates; that will not happen with Uber.
You could also download a local App called ‘Taxify‘. It works just like Uber does only it has more drivers in the city and the prices are somewhat cheaper, from time to time.
Airbnb: Bed & Breakfast App
Another market disruptor. Much like Uber, Airbnb has taken over the bed and breakfast section of the market. Now you do not have to stay in expensive hotels or hope that your long lost Pen-Pal will be okay with hosting you. Through Airbnb, you can get a host of highly exciting, well maintained and beautifully priced homes in almost every corner of the country.
Google Maps: Finding your way around
Remember how old folks used to drive around with paper maps on their front seat? Yeah…we don’t have to do that anymore. With Google Maps, you have the globe in the palm of your hands. All you have to do is key in the desired destination and it will calculate the most ideal route to it. Via the voice prompts from the App, you can easily drive to and from all sorts of exciting locations in the country.
If, however, you intend to go to locations that would qualify as being ‘off the grid’, as do most of the lesser beaten paths in the most remote National Parks in the country, then you should download Offline Maps & Navigation.
XE Currency: Keep an eye on those pesky exchange rates
We cannot effectively express how confusing the exchange rate can get when you visit a different country. Doing the math in your mind will often throw you way off, especially if it is late in the evening and you have had a long day of safaris plus a few drinks:
- Are you getting over charged?
- Are you tipping to little?
- Does it make sense to spend all that money on whatever it is you want to buy?
- What would it cost at home?
These are all questions and concerns that can be addressed with the XE Currency App. Now you do not have to guess just how much that bottle of water should realistically cost in your own currency.
Google Translate: Speak like the locals do
Seeing as we are not all linguistic savants with gifted tongues, there is a good chance that you will not learn the local language of your destination country. Thanks to ‘Machine Learning‘ Google Translate now supports 103 languages (at the time of writing) including Swahili. So now you don’t have to worry about not being able to ask for directions to the nearest watering hole when you visit Kenya.
However, if you want to brush up on the national language of your desired destination, then you can download Duolingo months before you fly out. It offer’s you beginner courses that could really come in handy in case you are not too hot about using Google Translate all the time. You could also go with Memrise which has more languages than Duolingo. However, both these Apps don’t feature Swahili so maybe you could use them when visiting other parts of the world. Stick to Google Translate for Kenya.
Sleepstream: Beat that jet lag
This one helps you avoid or better deal with all those jet lag issues. Sleepstream is particularly helpful if you are traveling across the globe where you go through several time zones. While it is true that your vacation should be one raging party through and through, the reality is that you will need to sleep at some point. In some cases, however, this might not be possible because other people will be up and about doing their business which would be typically noisy and disrupting to you. Sleepstream plays soothing music that drowns out all that background noise and help you sleep so you are fresh and ready to go and experience Nairobi’s happening nightlife.
There are tons of other Apps that could help make your travels more convenient including:
- iBooks and Kindle for reading
- Spotted by Locals to help you get off the beaten track and enjoy things only the locals know about
- Fancy Hands; a personal concierge App
- Hotel Tonight for those of us who don’t like staying in people’s houses
Technology might have disrupted a lot of things and completely ruined the ‘good old days’ but it has brought with it a flurry of benefits. These Apps make up some of the most useful tools that every traveller should have with them when on the road.