5 Top Categories of MUST-HAVE Lean Travel Apps
No, you will not be getting a straight-up list of 5 travel apps. Why, you ask? To be lean is to be flexible. We need to have solutions in hand to meet all situations thrown at us in this modern day, where we encounter a vast array of issues (wastes) in our fast paced and ever changing society. Very seldom do solutions come from one answer or one place. The more tools we have, the more we are able to be flexible.
Hence, the lean team got together and decided to come up with 5 must-have app Categories instead, and suggests favoured apps under the Categories.
1) Planning & Organising
There are many really good travel organiser apps like TripIt, TripCase, GoogleTrips, Tripadvisor, AirBnB etc. But One app that is an all rounder but very conducive to use for traveling is IFTTT. This is the ultimate productivity facilitater whether for work or for play.
IFTTT stands for "if this (trigger), then that (action)." It is a free service that gets all your apps and devices talking to each other, even if you don't know how to code. The app allows you to build applets (commands) or use its many existing ones. Once you’ve created or chosen an applet, everything is done automatically in the background.
This app is brilliant and excellent for planners and organisers and lends itself to be “programmed” before your travels so that everything is automated when you arrive to get flow in your process and a near perfect holiday. It works with over 600 apps including Twitter, Telegram, Google Drive, Twitch, Weather Underground, Instagram, Gmail, and devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Nest, Philips Hue, and Android. Example of existing and created applets include:
- Make an offline travel file on Evernote
- Collect photos onto your icloud of choice from all photos you’ve been tagged (e.g. by travel companions or new friends) on Facebook
- Save your travel emails to one place
- Control your smart devise at home
- Get a map of the underground/metro when you arrive at a chosen destination
- Keep track of holiday expenses
- Get weather forecast everyday at 17.00hrs
- Get reminders from your calendar on required actions regarding flights and hotels e.g. check-in
- Send new posts from Reddit (subreddit), location of your travels you choose to your email
- Save all new instagram photos Dropbox to make visual diary
- Share your blog posts from Blogger to Facebook
- Unmute your ringer every morning at 08.00hrs
- Record your daily fitbit activity to a spreadsheet
The list can go on and on. A brilliant app, shortcuts on top of shortcuts.
2) Hotel Researcher
Most A type travellers will already have used one of the more common or their own preferred app to plan their accommodation e.g. tripadvisor, kayak or AirBnB. But very useful apps to have are very last minute bookings. This is especially good for when things do not go according to plan… not within our control, of course 😉
Currently on offer are HotelTonight, HotelQuickly & One:Night. What makes these apps special is, due to the last minute nature of the bookings, they can offer deep discounts off listed rates. Good for non-planners too?!
HotelTonight used to offer only same day (1 night) bookings but have expanded to 7 days advance bookings of up to 7 nights stay. One important thing to note, since it is a last minute booking, most bookings will be non-refundable. Always double-check and it is good for use in Central, North & South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia.
HotelQuickly does bookings up to a year in advance with best deals on same day bookings. Check their website for locations as they are more cities than country orientated.
One:Night as the name suggests is for the night and other limitations include location, as they cater to only some cities in the USA and London…for now.
3) Urgent Business
There are many things one can plan for, but that may be challenged when you’ve sucked on the collapsible (space saving) water bottle you’ve so proudly remembered (planned) to bring with you on your travels to avoid buying (cost) bottled (environmental) water. These apps will most definitely come in handy, especially for ladies…or gentlemen who are not too keen on being caught-out or doing urgent business outside the confines of a restroom.
SitOrSquat lets you search for a public toilet, worldwide, by entering your address, zip code, intersection, or city. The toilets are user rated on a 5-star scale for each location. Sit being good and squat being less so. There is also a search and filter feature to find specifics e.g “pay only” or changing tables etc.
Flush has a worldwide database of over 200,000 public and paid toilets and it works offline even without Internet access.
Toilet Finder, another free but minimalist toilet finder app that features a database of more than 150,000 entries and it indicates whether the restroom facilitates disability access.
4) Currency Converter
Being the leanteam that we are, it is not possible for us to come up with suggestions for just simple mere currency calculators. We had to come up with something that raises the bar. It has to be simple, easy to use but does more, and at the same time, satiate planning and organisational needs.
Splittr is simple but comprehensive. As the name suggests, it is not just a currency convertor but is able to divide costs between you and others plus a record of spending. It is perfect for holidays but even for household expenses.
Simply add expenditure as you go and Splittr uses intelligent algorithm to let you know who is next to pay, tell you who owes what to whom, and even deal with uneven splits. There is no need for login and no internet connection, use multiple currencies and generates a PDF report for distribution.
For more straight forward and very easy to use apps XE Currency and Valuta+ does a very good job.
5) WiFi Searcher
There is a multitude of wifi hotspot searcher apps out there, so we won’t bother just naming some. Here, we would like to mention WiFiMap which not only highlights hotspots around your current location but key feature we like a lot is that it also provides map and list views with passwords and comments for Wi-Fi provided by a community of users.
Using hotspots means connecting to public wifi, so one need to be careful of the sort of data you are accessing. For those that need to access secured data, try SurfEasy VPN, it is not heavy duty but it does the job and give you 500MB of free data per month. Good enough for when you are away.