A vacation today is nearly impossible without constantly checking your GPS, fiddling with your selfie stick, looking for an adapter for every kind of plug point, and of course, apps on your phone to ensure a perfect photograph. As millenials like to say, pictures or it didn’t happen. We take a look at essential technology and apps you ought to consider before you head out:
For tickets: Check out Cleartrip (available on Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone) for flights. Also, look at the section dedicated to weekend getaways. A close second and third are MakeMyTrip and Yatra.com. (MakeMyTrip is available on Android, iOS, Windows 8, Windows Phone, BB10; Yatra is available on Android, iOS, Windows).
For planning trips: If you’re a seasoned traveller and love to hit foreign shores, AirBnB (on Android and iOS) is your best bet. AirBnB has a number of smaller boutique hotels, apartments listed on its site; imagine having an apartment to yourself in Barcelona or Dublin for a few days at a reasonable cost. Customers can pay in advance via credit card. The best part: the money is only handed over to the hotel once your trip is done. Users can rate their stay as well.
Tripadvisor: One of the best and most-trusted apps, TripAdvisor (available on Android, iOS, Windows) provides links to reserve a room as well. There are detailed customer reviews for most hotels. It also has Offline city guide apps.
ON THE TRIP
Google Translate: Whether you’re hitting South-east Asia or even parts of India where you don’t speak the language, Google Translate (on Android and iOS) is a helpful app. The results might not always be accurate, but it is a good way to get the conversation going when you are out exploring or shopping in a new city.
Google Maps: With Google Maps’ (on Android and iOS) offline feature you can save the map for a place where you are headed without having to spend too much money on data and roaming charges.
Photos: Look beyond Instagram. Snapseed by Google lets you crop, edit, and add filters to your photos. There’s also VSCO Cam which lets you edit the photos by tinkering with the exposure, contrast, and then sync the the edited photos across devices. (Both are available on Android and iOS)
Other fun photo apps to consider: Bubbli lets you capture a 360-degree bubble video that you can share on Facebook and Twitter. There’s also Meerkat and Periscope, if you want to share a live-stream of your vacation.
Currency: For those travelling abroad, keeping a track of money is essential. Download All Currency Convertor and XE Currency. While the latter works on Google’s Android, the other is available for both Android and iOS.
Selfie stick: Want yourself and your friends in every frame? Invest in a selfie stick. You can try ProMaster selfie stick (approximately Rs 2,800 on Amazon India) or one of the cheaper Chinese selfie sticks which have inbuilt Bluetooth technology. These cost approximately Rs 500 .
Camera smartphones: If money is no object, go for the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the iPhone 6. These are the best smartphones cameras in the high-end range. There’s also Sony Xperia Z3 or Z3 Compact, which are both waterproof and have a 20.7 megapixel camera in the rear.
For the mid-budget range folks, the choice is limitless. OnePlus One and Xiaomi Mi 4 both come with a 13 megapixel rear camera. There’s also Moto G and Moto X (both 2nd generation) with an 8 mp and 13 mp camera in the rear respectively.
Bargain buys: Lenovo A6000, Xiaomi Redmi 2. Both have a pretty solid 8 megapixel camera and cost less than Rs 7,000.
Adapters: When travelling abroad, figure out the kind of adapters you will need to charge your devices. There is a variety of universal worldwide travel adaptors you can try, from Swiss Gear to Samsonite. If you are not keen to spend too much, Flipkart and Amazon also have options like Squirrel and Gm.
Underwater camera: If scuba-diving is on your list, you can now record your underwater activities. Nikon’s AW1 (pictured, top) can shoot underwater, and is freeze-proof and shockproof. It has an interchangeable lens and is available for Rs 39,950.