As part of my parkrun challenge, I’m going to be doing some European travel this year.
I’m not a regular European traveller, and even when I am It’s usually part of a package tour, so all travel and hotels are booked and managed for me.
But I’m going A la carte this year. I’ve booked hotels and flights to Denmark and the Netherlands already. I’m hoping to get at least another trip in later in the year (probably in Germany)
On the basis that I’m Pseudo European, i.e. I live in Europe, but we’re no longer part of the EU. So internet connectivity/carrier isn’t a major concern Does anyone have any recommendations for apps that might be useful while I’m travelling in Europe please? I’ll only be travelling with an iPhone.
I’d bring my Logitech K380 or K380s and a thin folding phone stand. If I have those with me can do a lot of laptop-like stuff on my iPhone, especially writing. (The screen on a Freewrite Traveler is small, too.) It’s best with a max, but it’s fine on a standard-size iPhone, too.
Install Google Maps if you don’t have it already. Download off-line maps for areas you will be traveling where there might not be good cell coverage. Then create a custom List for each section of your trip (e.g., each city or region).
Before and during your trip, use Google Maps to find restaurants, museums, shops, and other places you might go. The reviews on that app are very helpful. Read them as a whole, because there are some dissatisfied customers of every place (“Place,” in Google Maps parlance). Also, save each of your hotels and AirBnbs.
Then, when you go to one of your custom, saved Lists, it will display all the Places you’ve saved by order of distance from your current location. When you find yourself ready for your next activity, look at that list and it will show you the restaurants, snack and dessert places, shops, museums, whatever you have saved, and how far away each is. For each Place you save, you can also enter notes, such as the dishes you want to try at a certain restaurant. When you are ready to return to your hotel, that’s another Place you can click on and get immediate directions. I find the saved Places feature of Google Maps extremely handy.
It will also provide driving, public transit, bicycle, and walking directions to each Place. Although, depending on the city, I often prefer Apple Maps for that.
I should have thought of that. I always carry my Microsoft folding keyboard (Bluetooth) and a small stand. Various brands available. Both light, tuckable into my Lands-end carry-on bag, and both useful when travelling iPhone-only.
This is great advice in the EU as Apple Maps can send you on a huge detour if you use it for walking directions, as its data is not great for most EU cities (the UK is much better). Also, public transport is not accurate on Apple Maps and gives wrong departure times (at least where I live).
FreeNow for taxis rather than Uber. In Germany DB Navigator for buying tickets and schedules for almost all public transit. I‘d recommend buying the 49 Euro ticket which is a Germany-wide flat rate for buses, subway, metro and regional trains for a whole month.
This is a good one. I think you have Uber in most cities, but at least in Madrid (and I guess the rest of Europe given the investment from Daimler) you will get more cabs using FreeNow. Payment can be done through Paypal.
You said you aren’t concerned about your phone bill, but I suggest you scrutinise roaming rules with your UK phone contract quite carefully. Many of them allow you to use the minutes and data you have in the UK, BUT the data is normally capped to lower than your UK allowance for a month, and the phone calls are often only to UK numbers in your allowance.
For me, the data usually isn’t enough. I also make calls to numbers in the country I’m visiting, and they cost a fortune on my UK mobile contract.
For these reasons, I often buy a local SIM card for the country I’m visiting to get more data for my trip. I also use a VoIP service that offers a UK landline number. I divert my UK mobile number to the VoIP landline before leaving the UK, so all calls go to the VoIP number for free and use the in-country data. I can also call any number in the world on VoIP for buttons. This approach involves more effort than buying the bolt-on to your mobile contract for international travel, but it is usually much cheaper for me, especially for longer trips. It is also a lot easier with the dual-SIM/eSIM features on modern smartphones.
Of course, it all depends on the terms and conditions offered by your carrier.
We were in Italy last summer, and in the major tourist cities I found Apple Maps was on par with Google Maps. For walking directions, it was easier to read and follow (for some reason, Google Maps has trouble getting its bearings when starting off on walking directions). We used mostly Google Maps for driving, as all our places were saved to it. But its spoken directions while driving were frustrating, as the signposts on roundabouts did not match the spoken directions (similar to in L.A., where I live—it tells you to “take exit 3A,” when we don’t use exit numbers here and they are often not on the exit sign (we use street and freeway names instead)).
It’s nice to see Apple has been improving Maps coverage, although clearly not everywhere, as your experience shows. It would be great if Apple would now get away from Yelp reviews in Maps and start their own crowdsourced reviews like Google has.