In the same way as online shopping for items such as clothing, food and appliances, has quickly become universally popular, so the rapid development of new apps for tablets and smartphones means that there are now more and more people who are using their devices for leisure and work. Most smartphones are cell phones with one or more good quality cameras and besides playing games and music there are apps for just about everything these days, including messaging services, accessing social media, streaming TV and movies, and reading books. Then there are those apps that help people navigate a particular journey, providing mapping services, directions and spoken instructions to help them find their way. Mapping in particular has become more sophisticated, with apps offering users opportunities to find specific stores or restaurants, not to mention private addresses. In fact the smartphone has become so central to daily life that most people wouldn’t dream of leaving home without one. This is true even when going on vacation or planning a day out; the versatility of smart devices makes them invaluable tools for making all the necessary arrangements for an enjoyable trip.
Most people are already familiar with Google Maps and many have used the software successfully to find a specific location, for example. However, increasingly this app has become more sophisticated, with a number of additional features available. It is possible to set up an itinerary and check on the distances between locations, a feature that is particularly useful if travelling to somewhere for the first time. With ‘Street View’ on Google Maps, going on a road trip or walking tour is easy. The app also delivers information on routes for cyclists, public transport and traffic conditions. There is an option to get a satellite view of specific locations and to download the Google Earth app, which provides panoramic photos, as well as geographical information.
The ‘My Places’ feature on Google Maps enables users to create and name a customized map for a specific day or activity. If taking a trip to a city, for instance, the app can search for attractions to visit when there and show photos of them via the ‘Explore’ button. Users can save and list the chosen items and their details on their custom map. The app can also map out a route between different locations, which can be edited and altered, according to personal preferences. During a trip, cell phone users can access all their details either via the ‘layers’ button inside the Google Maps app (Android smartphones) or the browser website for Google Maps (iPhones).
Train rides are also getting easier to arrange, with smartphone apps being readily available that allow travelers to purchase and display tickets without having to wait in line. This also overcomes the need to pay a surcharge if train tickets are bought on board instead of in advance.
Entertainment and events
Another fantastic feature of today’s smartphones is the range of transactions that can be carried out. As with purchasing railroad tickets, there are specific apps enabling smartphone users to obtain tickets for movies and concerts, for example. These apps allow users to make payments at any time and from any location by using their mobile handsets and similar devices. This is much more convenient for consumers who no longer have to use the traditional ticketing channels which tend to be time-consuming and paper-based. For major events, such as baseball, basketball, football and hockey games or performances of plays and concerts, a mobile ticket app can locate and allow users to purchase hard to find tickets for events that are most likely to sell out quickly. For example, someone planning to visit Pennsylvania can easily sign up to receive alerts from a . A search tool will allow users to find events in particular geographic locations, check out a map of the venue and even select their preferred seats before they buy.
Getting a good deal
Once the decision is made to take a day trip, whether for sporting events, entertainment or sightseeing, there are lots of GPS-enabled apps that can search for good deals in the area being visited on everything from activities to restaurants. Some of these will also volunteer information and suggestions for fun attractions that are nearby. Google’s Field Trip app can be programmed with personal interests such as art galleries and museums, good food, historic places or architecture. The app will even notify users when there is something interesting going on in the vicinity. The Travelzoo app also looks for events or activities that are easy on the wallet; from spas to restaurants and from cheap tours to local water sports.