What’s ‘Appening is a series of lists by Microsoft Singapore detailing some must-have apps for your Windows 8 or Windows Phone device. Do check them out and discover some hot new apps!
The world is a book…
… and those who do not travel read only a page. This famous quote by St. Augustine has inspired wanderlust in many of us, and is all the more resonant in today’s age of affordable flights and accommodation.
Why should one travel? Just run a quick search on Bing for the answer and you’ll likely get the same well-known responses thrown back at you, all running along the same theme—travel is great for finding out more about yourself and your mates, not to mention the fun you can have, and you should absolutely do it sometime soon.
But planning a trip can be daunting. Other than the obvious preparations to make before the trip, there are still a thousand things that could go wrong during the trip itself.
Fortunately, apps on Windows and Windows Phone can make the entire process smooth and easy.
Charge up your devices, load up these apps, and let’s head out for an adventure!
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than in miles.” – Tim Cahill, travel writer.
Planning the trip of a lifetime
Humans have waxed lyrical about the benefits of travel since as far back as we can remember, and truly, nothing broadens our horizons like an immersive trip to another country and culture.
The adventurers will think it’s best to just plunge in without a plan and go where their feet take them, but a good itinerary has its benefits—you’ll save time and possibly even money with a well-planned route.
You’ll find plenty to get started with Bing Travel (Windows and Windows Phone), a full-featured travel app that pulls in information about flights, hotels, and more to get you started. The app is rich with photos, and features guides, articles, flight information and more.
For a heavy dose of user-generated reviews, check out TripAdvisor (Windows and Windows Phone), where you’ll find tonnes of reviews for hotels, flights, and restaurants. Written by real people, these reviews will be tremendously helpful in helping you pick the most popular places to eat, stay, and visit.
All this information could be a bit too much to handle, so to ensure you have a good grasp on them and don’t lose track of things, make sure to come up with a good system for noting them down.
OneNote (built-in on Windows and Windows Phone) is a full-features note-taking app that syncs all your plans and itineraries across all your devices, so you can access them wherever you go.
Make check-lists, insert pictures, and create multiple notebooks to really stay on top of your schedule.
Booking a quick getaway
Need to book a quick getaway? Get it done within minutes with these handy hotel and flight booking apps.
|Skyscanner (Windows and Windows Phone): Millions of routes on over 1,000 airlines, you’re sure to find lowest-priced flight to your getaway in just a few seconds.|
|Kayak (Windows and Windows Phone): Like Skyscanner, Kayak searches hundreds of travel sites at once, so you can compare and choose. Plus, Kayak also lets you search for car rentals and hotels.|
|Agoda (Windows Phone): Search between over 250,000 hotels worldwide to find one that fits your budget and style. Read what other guests have said about these hotels, and leave your own review once your stay is done.|
|Wego (Windows): Regular fees are for the lazy! Besides the usual booking features, Wego features special travel deals for that snap decision to get away.|
Staying in touch
It’s fun to travel, but what’s even more fun is getting loads of “likes” on your photos and earning envious comments from your friends!
Showcase your travels on Instagram (Windows Phone), with its many artistic filters sure to turn any common tourist photo into a shareable masterpiece. Or hop on to the six-second video bandwagon and produce snippets of videos on Vine (Windows Phone) to tease your friends and family with “wish you were here” messages.
Alternatively, you could kick it back a little old school and share details of your trip on Facebook (Windows and Windows Phone) and Twitter (Windows and Windows Phone), where most of your friends probably already hang out.
Getting around in a foreign land
Not all who wander are lost, but sometimes we do get lost when wandering around.
But there seems little reason to be lost in this day and age when GPS is ubiquitous in smartphones and tablets. With just a tap, a pinch, and a swipe, the world opens up beneath our fingertips.
Nokia’s HERE Maps on Windows Phone even lets you download select maps for offline access so you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges.
If you’re planning to drive, doing so in a foreign country could be an unpleasant experience, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the roads and driving culture. With Waze (Windows Phone), your drive can be a whole lot smoother and more fun! Simply launch the app and start driving, and you’ll be able to share and access real-time traffic information with each other local Waze users, such as accidents, hazards, police and other events you see on the road.
Now, you can have all the geography at your fingertips, but nothing beats a local touch when you’re in a foreign land. Foursquare (Windows and Windows Phone) prides itself on everything local no matter which city you go to. Check out where the locals are hanging out, from cool cafes to top restaurants and other interesting landmarks.
Find out what locals think of a particular establishment with Yelp (Windows Phone), which usually features comprehensive user reviews of everything local—from burrito joints to Irish pubs to petrol stations. Search for places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, then be sure to leave behind a review of your own for posterity.
Tired of looking at a list of places to go? Nokia’s HERE City Lens (Windows Phone) has a cool augmented reality feature that reveals everything around you through your Windows Phone’s camera. Simply hold up your phone as though taking a photo, and the app overlays the best shops, restaurants, and points of interest right on your display. It feels entirely natural! Tilt your phone downwards and the app brings up additional view options like list and map views.
Armed with these apps, you’ll never feel lost in a foreign city again. So get out there and bring back a souvenir or two!