I travel quite a lot. Not so much cross-border travel but all over the Philippines. For that, I’ve been using a few apps on my smartphone a lot to navigate around and find places to stay.
Here are some recommendations for apps and websites I use on a regular basis for a variety of things. I don’t use much apps or services – I’m a barebones kinda guy. But these are, I think, super useful most of the time.
These are the obvious apps that everyone who travels should have.
- Agoda – My first choice.
- Booking.com – If Agoda comes up empty.
- Tripadvisor – If both booking.com and agoda come up empty and I still need a place to stay in the area (I don’t make reservations via Tripadvisor though)
I prefer Agoda because they accept Paypal (Don’t risk your Creditcard if you don’t have to) and their site just navigates nicer. Booking.com looks so old-school, but sometimes they’re just cheaper. Tripadvisor is more so you can maybe find attractions nearby – Though in the Philippines it’s far from accurate, so ymmv…
These are a poor mans substitute for a proper GPS. Smartphones have GPS also. Most of the time it works ok. Sometimes it doesn’t though – Somehow the GPS signals are always weak here in the Philippines.
- Google Maps – Generally they have the most roads mapped via satelite imagery.
- Maps.me – Offline maps that are updated regularly. Though, not all roads are on there.
- Windytv – Not really for proper navigation, but it has very detailed wind and rain predictions. This helps me decide IF I should go on my travels or trips.
- Fuelio – If you’re driving yourself and care about fuel milage. But it also lists locations of gas stations on a map.
I use Google maps mainly if Maps.me fails or isn’t sufficient. In my current location many roads are not on the map. Also not on Google’s map. But looking at the Google Satellite images often shows there is something to drive on even though officially there is no road. The success of this hinges largely on the availability of internet – Which is often lacking in the Philippines. So most of the time I use Maps.me.
Windytv is a weather app. Based on its predictions I can guesstimate if a ferry goes or not (high waves means no) Also it has a accurate rain forecast which helps me make travel decisions. When and if to leave.
Fuelio is just great. It tracks and calculates fuel consumption, costs and keeps stats for all kinds of stuff. But it also has a map with fuel stations. Which is really neat for planning when and where to go to get fuel.
Making sure you’re somewhat safe is important too. Most modern countries have travel advisory apps and notification systems.
- 24/7 BZ Reis – Dutch travel advisories from the Dutch government.
- Gov.uk – British travel advisory from the British government. They usually follow the same advise as the USA, but it has a little bit more down-to-earth feel to it
For the Dutch app (anyone can use it I think) I selected a bunch of countries near the Philippines. If I have to make a hasty escape I can see if my destination is still save (ish). For the British advisory (Not technically a android thing) I’m subscribed to their email notifications (Which is available to anyone with an email address). Also here, I subscribed to a few countries so I sort of know what’s going on around me.
As always, these advisories are very generic and based on reports from other governments and select intelligence groups. They do not necessarily reflect the actual situation on the ground. Still, for the general idea of safety it’s useful to keep an eye on it.
If you know of more useful apps, let me know 🙂