Smartphones have revolutionised the way we interact with people and consume media, for good or bad we are constantly connected to streams of information and communication. We use them as Sat Navs, MP3 players and city guides, which makes them ideal for taking on holiday, just as long as work are unable to reach you by email.
However, with a bewildering array of apps and excessive roaming charges how do you get the most from your phone without it costing you the Earth? One solution is the holiday phone guide which compiles a list of apps generated from a survey of more than 2000 people. The suggestions presented by the guide should help you get the most from your phone, as well as providing tips on how to avoid excessive data usage.
Layout & Design
The interface is fairly clear with suggestions broken down by category and usage statistics for each category displayed below the app icon. You can browse the categories for suggested games, travel apps, weather apps etc. For proprietary apps such as the phone or web browser, usage tips are provided instead of app suggestions which for the phone is fair enough as there is no genuine alternative. However, there are numerous browsers available for all three major operating systems and I would have preferred a rundown of a selection of the alternatives. A glaring omission is the lack of social networking app suggestions, Facebook and Twitter are mentioned in the Web section but I would have preferred a dedicated section as social networking is surely the easiest way to keep in touch with friends while away.
The ability to highlight suggestions by holiday type is a nice feature, as it makes it easier to find the most relevant apps for a backpacking holiday or for a city break. There is also a ‘Have you Tried?’ section at the bottom of the guide that suggests apps that might be unfamiliar even to more experienced smartphone users.
Are the suggestions any good?
The hints and tips provided are aimed at the novice phone user or traveller, as they refer to costly data charges and how to avoid them by switching off data roaming, using Wi-Fi hotspots or by taking out a travel package with your phone provider. The majority of the suggestions will be familiar to most smartphone users however I have picked out three that I have not previously seen.
Tripline (iOS FREE)
The key features of this travel app are the ability to document your journey via maps, lists and photos. You are then able to share it with friends also registered to the service, an ideal tool for sharing while on a backpacking trip.
FlightTrack (iOS, Android & Windows £2.99-£3.99)
This is a great source of information for frequent flyers as it not only provides updated flight information, but also historical data of how often that particular flight has been late and by how much. It also includes a handy seating guide allowing you to better choose where you want to sit.
AccuWeather (iOS, Android & Windows FREE)
The weather is updated every five minutes so wherever you are the weather information will be up to date. You can also display multiple maps on one screen, ideal for selecting what to pack.
The holiday phone guide is a useful source of information for those less well versed in smartphone usage, as well as the more experienced smartphone user. The main criticism would be that the social network apps have been omitted and I find this odd given the amount of time dedicated to using social media on mobile devices. Are there any other apps that could have featured in the guide, please let us know in the comments section.