Recommended Travel Apps for Baby Boomers
Like everything else since we passed the mid-century mark, things have changed at lightning speed. Just trying to keep up with the advances in modern electronics is enough to make anyone’s head spin; but when we’re at an age where it’s sometimes difficult to remember what we went to the kitchen for, learning the bells and whistles on new cell phones or other PDAs (personal digital assistants) can be mind boggling. Notwithstanding these developments, if we’re traveling to fulfill our retirement dream, let’s say it is imperative that we get up to speed with those marvelous devices our grandchildren have mastered by the age of five. In fact, a grandchild might just be the right instructor to help us learn how to handle those gadgets.
That done, we have to think about APPs for our devices. No doubt we’ve all heard the common expression, “There’s an APP for that.” An APP is short hand for application which is a software program that lets our computers or other gizmos do things for us and quicker than we could do them ourselves. For travel, there are a few APPs that come to mind. Many of these APPs are free to download and use. One favorite is Google Maps. Most of us remember folded paper maps we got at service stations, often free.
Younger people don’t even know what a “service station” is when an attendant at a gas station came out to our car, pumped our gas, washed our windshield, and often checked the air pressure in our tires while we fumbled with the folded paper map to see where we were, how far we’d come and how long to our destination. The worst part of that was trying to refold the maps the way we had gotten them. Google Maps gives us all that information with just a click of a button, and there’s no folding to do once you’re finished.
A valuable travel APP for visiting a foreign country where you don’t speak the language is Weather+Free. Most of us over 55 are evening news and weather forecast junkies. While we may get by for a week or two without hearing a newscast in English, having no idea what the weather is predicted to do the next day could be mighty inconvenient. This APP gives you the weather wherever you are plus letting you in on the weather back home.
For foreign travel, we need never fear getting those blank-stare looks that say, “Me no speak the English.” Simply go to Google Translate to get a device which allows you to speak English, tap the APP for any of 102 foreign languages and let the device speak for you. A word of caution, however. No translator is fool-proof. Be prepared to get a few laughs from time to time—you know, like those auto-correction features on your phone or tablet message service.
Another very useful APP for international travel is a good currency converter such as OANDA Currency Converter which has the ability not only to figure exchange rates but also factor in ATM fees and conversion charges at your bank. At any rate, we strongly suggest browsing the hundreds of offerings to make your trip easier and more enjoyable. You’ll APPreciate the results.