Spontaneous getaways, be they with friends, family, or even business, can be hard to get right. Because let’s face it, the very nature of dashing off at the last moment means you won’t have planned what to pack, researched the destination, mastered some basic phrases, booked a hotel, or finished that report for your boss. But with a humble smartphone, anything and anywhere is possible.
So if you like to live life on the edge, take a look at this round up of must-have apps from hotel bookers LateRooms.com, conveniently put in order of when you might need to use them next time you embark on a spur-of-the-moment trip.
First things first, pick a destination and get those flights booked. Skyscanner does the hard work so you don’t have to, pulling together up-to-date rates from hundreds of airlines in seconds. Its ingenious drop-pin feature means it can calculate routes to literally anywhere (on earth). And if you haven’t even thought of where you want to go, it’s got the modern day equivalent of sticking a pin in a map down to a tee. Just select ‘Everywhere’ in the destination field – it’ll show you how far your money will take you.
Packing Pro (£2.29 – iOS)
One of the hardest things about preparing for any trip is deciding what to pack. Well, if you use Packing Pro it’ll become one of the easiest, even if you’re short on time. Just pop in where you’re going and how long for and it will tell you exactly what you take with you – kind of like a digitalised Gok Wan.
Air Sharing (£2.99 – iOS)
If your off-the-cuff trip means you’ve got some work to finish en-route, then it’s definitely worth investing in Air Sharing. It allows you to preload your phone with important documents at the airport so you can check them while in the air, meaning your phone needn’t be a blunt instrument for the duration of your journey.
So you’ve touched down and finally switched off airplane mode, but the first call you receive is from nature and you don’t know how to ask where the toilets are, or indeed say anything in the vernacular. But no bother, Google Translate is on hand (or in hand) to help you navigate the local dialect. It even has a ‘visual recognition’ function in some languages, which lets you simply point your smartphone camera at some text and it will translate. Nifty.
Once you’ve mastered the lingo it’s time to make sure you’ve got a place to sleep. LateRooms.com’s App gives you access to over 150,000 properties globally and allows you to book a room in under 60 seconds. Its geo location functionality plots a map around your current location to show you every hotel with availability (and their room rates) within your surrounding area for that very night – so you can book your stay and check in within minutes. What’s more, hoteliers looking to sell remaining rooms on-the-day often show Mobile Exclusive Rates that could save you up to 40%, on top of what you might find elsewhere. Handy and thrifty, what’s not to love?
Of course, there’s only so much we can plan for and, if you never got around to looking up international emergency contact details before you left, it’s okay: Travel Safe is on hand. It’s the ultimate emergency contact app, and has details for nearly every country on planet earth. In just one tap you can call for help, and it even provides embassy details should you lose your passport.
No prizes for guessing what this one does. Wi-Fi Finder stands out thanks to its offline mode that lets you download Wi-Fi maps before you arrive, keeping those roaming bills as low as possible and letting you get the most out of your awesome new Apps.
So there you have it – tool up your smartphone before you next nip away, you’d be app-solutely mental not to.
This feature is brought you by www.laterooms.com