As great as traveling is, it can sometimes be a pain to plan for it. There’s the stress of dealing with finding plane tickets that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and then finding yourself lodging for however long you’re going to be visiting, and trying to budget your daily expenses while you’re overseas. If that isn’t enough, you still have to research places you might be interested in visiting.
But how do you avoid getting caught in the same tourist traps as everybody else? The best thing you can do is to ask locals or experienced travelers for recommendations.
Luckily, we live in the 21st century. Not only are there apps that round up reviews by your fellow travelers, there are also apps out there that ask the locals what they think, giving you the inside track on the place you’re visiting.
Here are my top five picks for apps that will help you tap into local knowledge and make planning your trip a breeze.
1. Like A Local
Like A Local is an app where locals offer their expertise on their city, and provide travelers with restaurant recommendations, sightseeing spots, bars and grills—anything you could possibly imagine. These are your mom-and-pop shops, your affordable hole-in-the-wall eateries…it’s your ticket to the most authentic experience you can possibly have.
Jetzy is a social media platform in which avid travelers can sign up and share their experiences with other travelers and locals. Its main benefit is that it’s a social app and you are using it to get actual recommendations from other users. You are also able to connect with people with similar interests by selecting from Jetzy’s interest categories. Another advantage of using this app is that it’s the first travel app that awards users travel points, so the more the use it, the more rewards you earn.
This is for travelers who want to have a good time and are looking for a local who knows where the real fun is to be found. Here, you can connect with locals, discuss the best venues and bars to visit, and even organize to meet up if you wish. While the userbase tends to skew younger, if you’re interested in finding the best live music or non-touristy bars in a foreign city, PartyWith is the way to do it.
Groupon is essentially your all-in-one digital tour guide, with recommendations and more. One of the best things about it is that you can very easily look up a city, and Groupon will suggest things to do. Additionally, Groupon recommends different local spots for you to hit up and even provides coupons for restaurants and other fun tourist activities. If you’re all about keeping tourist spots, restaurant recommendations, and even coupons in one app, then Groupon is for you.
5. Google Translate
One of the challenges with visiting local favorites in a country where English isn’t the first language, is that you might find yourself having to at least take a stab at using a different language. Google’s free Google Translate app is universally known, but not everybody knows how to best use its features. With its speaking dictation tool, you can talk directly into your phone’s microphone and it will translate your words into the target language for others to hear. This can give you a sense of security if help or directions are needed and can start conversations with people you previously couldn’t communicate with.