If you haven’t travelled extensively by the time you’re 30, the world becomes a small place, filled with historical monuments, intricately paved cobblestone boulevards, and quaint flea markets that have to be situated close to the room where you’re put up.
The forests to get lost in, the mountain-tracks to bike through, the coral reefs to swim by all become closed to what could have been a young and adventurous you exploring their magnificence. So, travel — while you can, where you may — while you are young.
And to make matters easier, here are two apps to make planning for that great adventure simpler.
Touted to be what Posterous is to blogging, TripIt makes recommendation-hunting, contact-numbers-collating, and itineraries-sharing as easy as mailing yourself.
Head over to TripIt.com and sign up with a free account. Now, as long as you’re logged in — through your tablet, smartphone, or PC — all you have to do is mail firstname.lastname@example.org whatever you have on the books and they will be saved in your account.
What’s more, you also get to add maps, travel directions, be in the know about travel refunds for cancelled flights, receive mobile alerts, list down the haunts you’ve picked out at your destination, and make all of this a group affair by sharing your account with friends.
With an automated integration service thrown in with social media networks and calendar applications, you can also publicise your travels, share your favourite photos and those funny videos, and make a timeline of your journeys come alive by sharing your calendar as you update it. And if you’re willing to cough up USD 50/year, you can also become the organiser of travels for others!
An app that goes well with travels to Europe is Hotel Tonight. Available only for Apple devices, the app keeps you in the loop about room-pricings, exclusive deals in your neighbourhood, and a 24/7 support cell. Currently, it works for Amsterdam, London, Dublin, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and some other areas.
This is a web-based service that is already a hit with young users in Europe. Have you ever planned a trip to exciting locales, keeping in mind only the great people you’re bound to meet there, and be ultimately heartbroken by the costs of local hotels?
CouchSurfing is your solution.
After you make your destination know on the site (for free), people in that area who are willing to open their homes — and a space on their couch for the night — to you will get in touch. All you have to do is take things from there. What do you know, this could also be the start of the sort of friendships we all thought were ended with the advent of emails: the penpals.
Available for the iPhone and Android devices, you can search for people to connect with, respond to and send CouchRequests, have conversations with upcoming hosts, view people’s profiles, and, of course, log in via Facebook to make things that much more intimate. It’s free, too.
An important note: if you’re concerned about your safety, be sure to make that known on CouchSurfing.org. It’s, after all, a network of people, but people who have ensured that the ultimate purpose of the idea of couch-surfing is great adventures and greater friendships.