Smartphone holidays: these apps make traveling better!

MyPostcard: Multimedia greetings from the holidays

IIs it already extinct or just critically endangered? In any case, it’s become very quiet about a cultural technique that lets us drop our “holiday wishes” into our mailboxes in inscribed, sometimes calligraphic fashion: postcard writing.

With the My Postcard app, there is now a digital replacement that has its own individual qualities. Because there you can design your own postcards – for example, adding holiday photos to them in addition to text. Thousands of customizable layouts are available.

Holiday videos can also be embedded: these are uploaded and used to generate a QR code that is printed on the card along with the recipient’s address and text. The application operator takes care of this and sending the card. The application itself is free, printing and sending individual postcards costs from 2.69 euros.

MyPostcard for iOS and Android. Alternatively: Cewe Postcard

Bikemap: Lots of suggestions for bike tours

Starting out without a plan and ending up in dead ends or missing out on the best sights and insider tips all together – that doesn’t have to be the case if there are apps you can use to find and ride tried-and-tested bike tours to your holiday destination. Bikemap now offers an incredible 9.7 million entries. According to the app provider, this is the largest collection of cycling routes in the world.

Once they arrive at their vacation destination, registered users can view multiple trips in the area here (as they can from any location). You can also find tours before arrival using a search field. The user can set filters – for example, to select the length or a circuit. The condition of the surface can also be specified, for example gravel or asphalt, or the type of bike to be used (mountain bike, city bike or racing bike).

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The app has a navigation feature, but the free version requires an internet connection. And journeys can be recorded. Besides, the app thrives on cyclists sharing their rides with others. Otherwise the record offering would hardly be possible and would not be constantly increasing.

Bikemap for iOS and Android. Alternative: Komoot

iTranslate: Interpretation – even without Internet

If you don’t speak the language spoken at the holiday destination, then you often have no choice but to make yourself understood with your hands and feet.

Interpreter apps can reduce the chance of misunderstandings. Among language-enabled programs for smartphones, iTranslate stands out with one feature: it also works offline without an internet connection. However, this requires a paid subscription, which resets the data savings to mobile data.

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The way it works is simple: you tap a microphone symbol on the app, which interprets the spoken word ad hoc and also displays it as text. “For simple and short dialogues, the translation quality is usually quite good,” says the Stiftung Warentest book.

Everyone has to decide for themselves whether the offline function – almost 50 of the more than 100 languages ​​can be used offline – is more important than the better translation quality of alternative apps according to Stiftung Warentest. However, iTranslate is enough for holiday chat.

iTranslate for iOS and Android. Alternatives: Pons translator, Google translator, Microsoft translator

Secret Escapes: Spontaneously spend the night in a luxury hotel

The name is misleading because “secret” isn’t really all that important when it comes to escape locations that the Secret Escapes app shows. And whether these are indeed resorts, it is up to the booking traveler to decide for himself. What matters to the portal: win customers who are or depend on opportunities and strive for a certain level of comfort when traveling. “To avoid spending a fortune on luxury travel, we have negotiated special offers with hotel partners,” the operator’s website states.

According to the Stiftung Warentest book, you can get luxury hostels up to 70 percent cheaper, the bargain portal and its accompanying app show vacant rooms in hotels and resorts from the four-star category and above at short notice, but the organized tours can also be booked in the last minute offers Book often with great discounts.

There are several ways and categories to search for the gateway to your dream trip – for example “Pure Luxury” or “Beach Vacation”. Results can be limited by destination and travel dates. After free registration, the application can be used without restrictions. There are no in-app purchases, except of course for the trips and accommodations themselves, which travel enthusiasts can pay for by credit card, Paypal, direct debit, direct debit, or on account.

Secret Escapes for iOS and Android. Alternatives: vacation pirates, vacation gurus

Treeexpense Pro: control expenses while you travel

Is it good for the holiday spirit if you always watch your money? It’s a matter of type. If you want to keep track of your travel budget, you can install the paid application Treeexpense Pro for only ten euros (the free version is very thin and not recommended).

With the app, vacation expenses can also be recorded and rated for people traveling with you according to categories such as food or overnight stays. Budgets can be set on a daily basis, for the entire travel period, or for individual categories that you can create yourself.

They are processed into statistics and charts. In this way, Treeexpense automatically includes the exchange rate for the entered target country’s currency, in which the results can be displayed as an alternative to the Euro. The application also records the means of payment used.

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The program works both online and offline – but you only need an internet connection to access external cloud storage if you want to create a backup. Exported to a laptop or desktop computer, the data can later be processed with Excel, for example.

Treeexpense Pro for iOS and Android. Alternatives: Travel expenses

Omio: International rail connections with prices

Train passengers are often annoyed. Whether it’s the many delays or the DB Navigator train app, which isn’t always great, especially with international rail connections. Often, for example, price information is not provided when several railway companies are involved.

The free Omio app is different: a price is given for each connection you search and the program can always be used to book immediately – even if, for example, it takes 34 hours from Berlin to Madrid and three individual tickets with Deutsche Bahn, French SNCF and Spanish Renfe. Tickets usually do not need to be printed, they can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.

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The train

The hit list of search queries can be limited, for example depending on the number of transfers. You can sort by lowest price. You can also book and discounts are taken into account, like with the BahnCard. The program is not only a search engine for train travelers, but also shows flight, bus and ferry connections. According to Omio, it works with 1000 transport companies and finds travel connections in more than 35 countries, including Canada and the US.

Omio for iOS and Android. Alternative for Europe: Trainline

EatWith: Eat with the locals

A seat on the restaurant’s terrace overlooking the sea? It sounds tempting, but in tourist hotspots it can happen that the food there is overpriced. Even worse: the quality is only mediocre or worse.

But how about eating in a private apartment while on vacation? Perhaps on the fifth floor of a block of flats where a local serves delicacies he has made with love? For example, modern Peruvian or traditional Sicilian cuisine? Such dining opportunities, where you are often thrown into a table with other guests who are complete strangers, can be booked after registering through the EatWith app.

Why not learn how to ferment sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi with Thore in Berlin or practice creating sweet macarons with Jean-Yves in Paris? You can also book cooking classes, gourmet tours or market visits through EatWith – the app provider promises more than 130 countries. However, the number of offers varies significantly by city and country.

EatWith for iOS and Android. Alternative: The Fork (restaurant reservations in over 20 countries)

The book: “Ingenious Apps for Travel” by Markus Schelhorn was published by Stiftung Warentest in the “Digital World Simply Explained” series (176 pages, €16.90).

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