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Holidays can be a breeze

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-05-2014 Shweta Taneja

It’s always the same story. Holidays should help you relax but sometimes organizing the minutest detail can be a nightmare. Tickets, hotels, what to do once there, what not to do, how to reach from point A to point B without getting lost, how to communicate—all these elements can turn trip planning into a headache. We suggest you outsource your holiday troubles to these helpful assistants and relax.

Kamino

If you’re heading to the US this summer, don’t forget to pack in Kamino, a nifty app meant for people who love to hike and walk. The crowdsourced app has information on walks and hikes from bloggers, experts and locals of a particular city. Perfect for that authentic local experience in the city. “The idea is for users to discover and truly appreciate the culture and uniqueness of a city whether they are locals or tourists,’” says US-based Louis P. Huynh, co-founder and president, in an email. Each hike comes complete with a GPS-enabled map and includes personalized recommendations. Right now the hikes listed are limited to cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, but more are getting added as the community increases worldwide—from London, Paris and Florence to Cape Town, Hanoi and Taipei.

Gokamino.com; free on iTunes. The app is expected to be launched soon on Android.

Holidayen

Hate deciding where to go, what to do there, and how much it will cost you? Let Holidayen do the job for you. Created by three graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology, the app acts like a personal travel agent, lets you choose destinations and then plans what you should do once there, and where you should stay. You can customize the options and even book the things you would like to do from within the app. The database is curated, so you might not get all the choices, but the good thing is that if you have figured out an itinerary you like on the app, you can download it and keep it on your phone to access it offline. “Planning a trip is a cumbersome process, taking up to several days of online research, reading guides and asking several people,” says Utkala Mohanty, co-founder, Holidayen. “This app makes trip planning a breeze, where the user can plan a trip in seconds, while completely customizing it to her preferences.”

Holidayen.com; $0.99 (around `60) on Google play. The app is expected to be launched soon on iOS.

Trip38

Primarily meant as a travel assistant for business travellers, Trip38 helps you manage your itinerary. It does this by collating all your travel information and emails in one place, giving you updates through alerts, notifying you of when to check in, doling out details of baggage allowance, flight timings and the terminal. Once you reach the destination, it turns into a local guide and tells you what all to see, where to go, what to eat and shop, and also recommends places based on your social network preferences. What’s more, the app can work offline as well. Currently, it offers information on 30,000 cities, 350,000 hotels, the top 200 airports, the top 50 airlines, and 30,000 Indian restaurants outside India in 150 countries.

Trip38.com; free on Google play, iTunes, Windows Marketplace.

PackPoint

If packing causes you stress, outsource it to PackPoint. Launched in January, the app builds a packing list for you based on length of travel, weather at your destination, and activities planned during your trip. All you need to do is punch in the city you are going to, the departure date and the number of nights. The app then asks you if it’s a business or leisure trip and the kind of activities you are planning. It then gives you advice on what kind of things to carry, including woollens, extra pairs of socks, an umbrella or a mosquito repellent. “I made PackPoint because I needed a packing list app for myself,” says founder Bill Gillenwater, who has flown a million miles and counting, “and couldn’t find any app on Android which could do the job cleanly.” Once the list is made, you can share it with friends so that they bring along the same stuff too. The next feature Gillenwater plans is one that can automatically detect a forthcoming trip marked on your calendar and build a packing list without your even asking for it.

Packpnt.com; free on Google play. The app is expected to be launched within a month on iOS.

Mappsafe

Most of us do not know which streets could be unsafe for singles or families in a particular city. Mappsafe fills that gap by crowdsourcing data from city dwellers to map their own city and marking streets which have poor lighting, unsafe paths or have reported some kind of crime or anti-social behaviour. “There are many panic apps out there that focus on responding to a crime,” says founder Usman Zuberi, “but our aim is to stop violence from happening in the first place by mapping safe and unsafe places in cities.” The app uses your GPS and creates a layer of the city you choose over Google Maps, telling you how safe the road you plan to take is.

Mappsafe.com; free on Google play. It will be available in the second half of 2014.

Tripomatic

Tripomatic will turn your desire to travel into a trip with an itinerary in just 5 minutes. All you have to do is click on Create Now, choose a destination, dates and duration. The app then offers tours of the city you will be visiting with pictures on top of a map. You can filter the activities shown on the map, add customized activities, browse the activities it suggests for every day and figure out a daily plan. The app lets you add accommodation into your itinerary and even print out the guide in PDF format. You can sync your itinerary between devices or buy an offline guide from them. “Attractions are displayed on the map, which helps you see the distance between the places, and it makes it easier to decide what you want to see next,” says US-based Barbora Nevosadova, co-founder, Tripomatic, in an email interview. Currently, the app covers about 400 cities worldwide.

Tripomatic.com; free on iTunes, Google play and BlackBerry World. Offline guides are chargeable within the app.

Musement

Launched in March, Musement is meant for people who love cultural activities, like visiting museums, art exhibitions and other attractions. The app covers the major tourist cities in Europe and lists the tours and activities you can book in these. “Our user-friendly platform helps travellers book their attractions and tours in just a few clicks, helping them create a personalized itinerary and discover insider experiences by using our localization services,” says Milan, Italy, based Fabio Zecchini, chief marketing officer. By booking in advance, you save time waiting in long lines as well as money. The service boasts that it gives you the cheapest rates for that activity. The app also gives information on ticket costs as well as opening hours and location.

Musement.com; free on iOS. The app is expected to be launched soon on Google play.

Trip Tern

Another app that automatically creates a travel itinerary for you, Trip Tern can personalize day-wise travel, cutting down on the time taken to research the place and find places of interest. The itinerary includes information about hotels, interests and places to visit and eat at. The app also shows your day travel plans on a map and gives the location of the spots it suggests. You can share the itinerary with friends on Facebook and build up a collection of trips with photographs to share with your friends. Currently, they have about 120 cities to choose from.

Triptern.com; free on Google play. The app is expected to be launched soon on iOS.

The Traveler

The Traveler helps you capture your travel in a well-designed digital sketchbook and journal. You can add photographs, short videos, drawn sketches, recorded audio files, quick location markers and GPS markers to a particular date of your travel so that others can view all these elements together in a sort of a compilation of media. The app creates a layer on Google Maps which you can then play back on Google Earth through your device to retrace your steps and days after the holiday in a slide show. You can also share the entire trip on a social media site of your choice. “Next up, we plan to make it a companion app for Google Glass,” says Kyle Parker, senior software engineer for developing technologies at the US’ Ball State University, who developed the app.

Free on Google play.

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