Finding and booking up accommodation can be one of the most time-consuming and painstaking processes when booking up a holiday. For me, extensive research is done into what facilities the hotel offers, where the hotel is situated and most importantly the price. However, some people may find themselves booking accommodation last minute by booking last minute flights with the realisation that they have nowhere to stay. Either way finding accommodation can be very stressful and take more time than you'd like, in some cases people take weeks to find accommodation they like. With these apps finding accommodation has never been easier, it's essentially stating what factors are important to you and then these apps find results accordingly (based on price, distance from the city centre/airport or rating).
The name of this app couldn't explain its purpose better, it's a website in which lists different types of accommodations across nearly 230 countries. This making it one of the most extensive and useful apps available at the moment. It's main listings regard hotels as there are 1.5 million hotel listings worldwide but there are a range of different property types such as hostels, apartments, holiday homes and guest houses. There are specific factors in which narrow down the search for the perfect accommodation, in which the individual has full control over. These factors include budget, location, score, star rating and traveller rating. The app goes into even more detail by breaking down the specific ratings given to a property by asking individuals who have stayed there to rate the property on service, cleanliness, comfort and facilities. Through the app you have all the specific information of the properties such as check-in and check-out time, something some properties don't clearly state as well as images of the room/place you had booked. Rather than going through other websites or a Google search all of the information is easily accessible all in one place.
For the people that like to live life a little more spontaneously there's a specific app for you. HotelTonight allows the user to book up a hotel at a discounted rate for the same day or after as well as allowing the user to book up to 100 days ahead. In some cases some people may be stranded, such as at an airport, which may mean they need to find a last minute deal (luckily enough through the comfort of their own phone when using HotelTonight). Discounts go as low as up to 70% from the original face rate as well as having different options to choose from: lowest price, top deals and premium. If you're in a rush to find somewhere for the same day then this app is ideal since HotelTonight simply outline why they like it (the main features of the hotel) as well as an overview of the amenities that the hotel offers. The app also outlines what the individual would need to know: the check-in and check-out time as well as if the hotel requires identification upon check-in. The layout of the app is simple: type in the location in which you want to stay in as well as when you want to check in, then review the numerous amount of results with the prices being clearly stated and the face rate of the room originally. I couldn't recommend this app more if visiting to London since the sheer amount of hotels can be overwhelming as well as the hefty price tags which come with it. I've seen hotels as cheap as £150 per night in areas around Central London, which have been previously priced at £250 per night.
With 36,000 hostels in 170 different countries the option of staying in a hostel is becoming an alternative and cheaper form of accommodation for many travellers. Many people may assume that staying in a hostel means that you have to share a room and bathroom facilities with a range of people, that is simply wrong. Looking through the different options on the Hostelworld app, there are a range of different options to pick from: whether you want a private bedroom as well as whether you want to sleep in a mixed dorm. Using the app is the easiest way to book a hostel since you simply type in the location you want to stay in as well as how many guests will be staying. Each hostel has an individual description by Hostelworld themselves as well as an overview of the property itself. My favourite part of the app is the added details such as what the hostel offers as well as events that you can attend which you can book with the hostel. If you're going to somewhere new then this is a way to get out of your comfort zone as well as having a chance to experience new things with new people. The app also features extensive reviews from people who have stayed at that specific hostel, with 10 million reviews in total this makes this app useful when looking for hostels around the world.
Whether you're wanting to earn extra money while you're away on holiday or searching for a holiday home or house, Airbnb is the perfect app. With over 4 million vacation homes in 191 countries you'll be spoilt for choice with the different range of options within each country. It's a cheaper form of accommodation if you're travelling as a group and in a sense it makes a holiday memorable since you can all eat together and spend time together rather than having to go your separate ways to your hotel rooms at the end of the day. When I travelled to Australia me and my family done this and it made life a lot easier and it ended up being a lot cheaper than any hotel in the area we stayed in. The app gives you a choice to "Tour the home" by giving pictures of the interior and exterior which allows the user to see exactly what the home offers. The app also gives ideas for experiences around that specific location, ranging from concerts to photo shoots. Through the app you'd be able to speak directly to the owner, whether it would be enquiring about facilities of the home or asking where they'd leave their keys upon arrival, this is a convenient and reliable feature.
As much as I wished the name of this app meant you could literally surf using couches, it's not too far from the reality. This free app allows users to search couches to sleep on couches in over 230,000 cities as well as offer their couch to travellers around the world. Just like the price of the app, the whole idea behind this scheme is that people offer their hospitality and couch for free since hosts aren't allowed to charge their guests. Even though the idea of this may come across as unsafe, there are references from genuine people who have stayed at their hosts home. These reviews give praise on their friendliness, flexibility and whether their hosts were fun and reliable. Through the app different hosts state the rules of their household and what they can offer. Other information also includes what the hosts can teach the guests as well as the countries they've stayed in with other hosts. With over 160,000 hosts in London, this app is guarenteed to find you the best accommodation with no price attached - something handy if you're trying to travel on a budget as well as learn about the area you're staying in with your host essentially being a free tour guide.
Learning a new language is a skill many people try to master for various reasons: they're moving to the country in which this language is spoken, providing an edge when applying for a job as well as improving memory and communication skills. I've been recently trying to learn Spanish, a language that is deemed one of the quickest and easiest to learn, since it's the second most common language spoke after English. I've been trying to learn Spanish for years but lost interest as well as not having any time while studying for exams when in secondary school and college. Since I'm now working I have some days free during the week which I now dedicate a few hours from to learn Spanish. Learning Spanish is so much easier when using apps, textbooks don't appeal to me since they're limited in the sense that they usually only focus on certain words such as verbs, nouns, adjectives, phrases or objects. The apps I downloaded alongside with a note pad allow me to learn the word verbally and then learn them by memory by writing them down. By writing down what words I learn this allows me to go back and improve on certain words and phrases I don't understand. I've only been learning Spanish for around a month but I can confidently say that I've mastered the basics.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service for £8.99 per month which allows the user to have no adverts featured as well as receiving a premium service by downloading lessons for offline use)
Duolingo, being one of the most popular apps to learn a new language, is currently used by 200 million users who have access to 30 languages. This app focuses on basic vocabulary then moving towards sentences as well as improving on grammar. This style of language learning is simple but effective as it uses a colourful style of visual learning by using pictures and colours to help the user remember certain words and phrases from this. Duolingo also expands into different sections within the app which focus on reading, writing and speaking which is done through listening and then having conversations back with the Duolingo bot. These conversations will help in real life situations as they include learning how to hail a taxi as well as learning how to order different meals in a restaurant. This saving the hassle and embarrassment of not feeling confident when actually speaking to someone in the language you're learning. My favourite feature of the app is that it focuses on weak words (words you might have got wrong or not have translated properly) so you can improve singularly on areas that you're not confident in. There are a range of different goal settings which go from 'casual' (which I'm currently using) to 'insane' for people who want to learn a range of different words and phrases in a short amount of time by dedicating more time using Duolingo.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service which is £9.99 per month which gives the user full and unlimited access to all courses for that specific language)
Babbel, which is currently used by just over 1 million people, features 14 languages to learn in the app. Babbel features a simplistic format with it translating a sense of calm to the user since it's not overcrowded with images and too much distraction for the user. There are daily lessons featured which focus on building basic conversational skills by allowing the user to quickly memorize key phrases such as how to greet someone as well as learning how to say thank you. The app goes into further detail by explaining grammar concepts and language rules to the user, for me this is interesting since I'm planning to learn in depth about the language and the rules surrounding it. Rather than using this app as a main form of learning Spanish I prefer to use Babbel as a supplement. Babbel uses a form of repetitive learning by first allowing the user to select the word out of a choice of two and then four. This repetitive style of learning is useful but can get a bit tedious, especially for the smaller and easier phrases.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service for £6.99 per month which allows the user to access videos from native speakers as well as featuring an in depth analysis of your learning - which words you're confident in and what words and could use a little more practice)
Memrise, which is used by 30 million users, offers 25 languages within a more engaging and colourful presentation. This app features a range of games which are used to learn and practice different phrases - meaning this app may be suitable for younger users who want to learn the basics of a language. Memrise features a pronunciation guide which allows the user to record themselves and compare it with a local, a feature most apps ignore but is vital for learning a new language. You may learn words and phrases of a language but if you can't pronounce them then you might not be understood or even make yourself more confused. Memrise features a repetition software in which lets users learn and review the different words that might need a little more practice. The best part about this app is that it can be used offline, which allowed me to spend a few hours when travelling to Barcelona learning different key words and phrases (some of which I was able to use). Memrise is very dedicated and tailored to the user, it's not a generic app that has one daily lesson for everyone, the user can learn as little or as much as they want since the app allows the user to carry on.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service which is £9.99 a month which allows the user to unlock 1000 lessons and conversations, 14 conversational modules and includes 365 daily lessons per year)
Mondly, which is used by 25 million users, features 33 languages within the app. The app features basic lessons that focuses on conversational language and practical knowledge (such as asking how someone is as well as learning verbs - past, present and future). Mondly also features MondlyKids which can be used to teach a child the basics to a different language while they're still young. The layout for the children's version is very engaging through the use of child friendly illustrations and topics such as food, family and sports (something they use and see everyday which will help them learn and remember certain words). The fun and interactive style of Mondly suits a range of ages while following a classroom style of watching, learning and then repeating. My favourite part about Mondly is that it's repetitive in different forms, which goes from individual words to complete phrases and pronouns. Another great feature about Mondly is that after each lesson there's a review of the different words and phrases learnt, which can be reviewed at any time regardless of when the lesson was completed.
Tips and tricks for all aspects of travelling, most of which include saving money.