Going solo with walking tour apps

By Meg Rivera

 

IF you were given an infinite sum of money to spend on one thing, what would it be?

My answer to this question has, and always will be, travel. Traveling is such a great deal; it doesn’t depreciate in value, you can share it with other people or you could enjoy it on your own. It makes for great stories for tell, on top of all the soul-nourishing things it can do for you. I make it a point to go see something new every six months, just to keep life from getting stale.

Airlines are making it so much easier to travel these days. Even budget flights are fairly comfortable, just make sure you eat before you fly. The big question isn’t really how do we get there anymore. Now, it’s more of “What are we going to do when we get there?”

Lots of people dislike going down the tour group route. Some just like to take in a new city on their own, and that’s perfectly acceptable. If you don’t know a local who can show you around, let your smart device do it for you. This week, we check out three walking tour apps designed for the solo traveler. We’ve gone for a selection of both local and international destinations, to cover everyone’s traveling tastes. You may have to pay for some of these, but in the interest of travel, it will be money very well-spent.

Urban-Discovery-logoAApp name: Urban Discovery Ltd series

Available on: iTunes

Easy to use: This could not be any simpler. Apple is known for making things user-friendly, and this series fits right in with the dynamic. All you have to do is select which country you would like to download walking tours for and you’re set to go!

Overall comment: Let’s start with our own backyard. Asia is slowly opening up to the rest of the world as having some of the best travel spots.

Language is definitely going to be a barrier if you travel around Asia, and you might find yourself missing out on great information because you can’t find someone to translate for you. There is a Philippines edition coming up soon, but for now, there is a great selection of Asian cities for you to enjoy.

Historypin-logoAApp name: Historypin

App developer: Famigo

Available on: Google Play, iTunes

Easy to use: For those of us who might not appreciate augmented reality (AR) then maybe this isn’t for you. What Historypin does is allow you to point your phone at key locations within their walking tours and then a historical image gets superimposed on top of the image you get on your camera. Three clicks out of five.

Overall comment: Think of it as visiting the past as well as the present. We are at a great place with technology right now, if we are able to do this with our smart devices. Additionally, it is an advantage if you are a history buff, taking in a new city for its heritage. The content is largely user-generated, so do Cebu a favor and start adding up some places here for other people to visit! Three clicks out of five.

Cities-Talking-logoAApp name: Cities Talking

App developer: Cities Talking

Available on: Google Play, iTunes

Easy to use: Europe travelers to be, listen up. Cities Talking is the granddaddy of walking tour apps, as it covers most of the major destination points in Europe, gives information, all with the bonus of not having to share the tour with anyone else!

Overall comment: Gone are the days of having to chase after a whole group after you decided to linger and check out a fountain. Same with sitting on a tour bus listening to the tour guide drone on about this war memorial or other. You can pause the tour so you can stop to get a bite to eat, or you can soak up the sites while listening to the little factoids that nobody else might get to know. It uses GPS data to work, so no roaming charges are made when you use this. Dead useful if you want to explore grand old Europe at your own pace. Four clicks out of five.

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