6 free apps to help you discover the world

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In this day and age when your iPhone can do just about anything for you, why not put down the guidebook and allow these trendy travel apps show you the way to have some fun?

From giving you the top tips on quirky bars and restaurants to finding the next indie photography exhibition, there is nothing that these travel apps are not capable of. Your smartphone can now become your scrapbook, documenting your every move on a life-changing travelling experience, and it can now reserve a table for you and your friends. There are amazing apps out there, and these are the best of the alternative picks so get downloading to ensure you are far ahead of the crowd!

1. Indie Guides

1. Indie Guides
© flickr

This app does exactly what it says on the tin, it gives travellers the 'indie' guide to European cities like Paris, Athens, Istanbul, Rotterdam, Madrid and Berlin. It is an extremely personally written, with a team of local creatives having picked only 50 addresses to make the cut, leaving something wonderful for everyone. The selections for each city include quirky alternatives to the usual tourist attractions, like live music venues, art workshops and underground galleries. In Paris, for example, the app does not give you advice on the best time to get in line at the Louvre; instead it would give you a glowing review of Les Frigos, a large graffiti-covered studio in the 13th arrondissement which used to be a refrigerator factory. Another unique quality the app has is its focus on music, whether it is leading to you to a brilliant venue around a cobbled street corner, or downloading their streamable playlist crafted by a local professional in each city's music scene, they know what they are talking about. Istanbul's playlist is curated by an indie record shop called Kontra records that will get you grooving whether you are feeling pensive at Sultan Ahmet's grand mosque or ransacking an obscure vintage boutique.

2. Bim

2. Bim
© flickr

As it says on Bim's website, it is a travel app that is battling against routine and missed opportunities. A stylish, sleekly designed app that is aimed at a younger crowd, it is a fun way to discover funky restaurants, under-the-radar clubs, concept stores, alternative hotels and interesting museums. Originally an app that was aimed at visitors or locals to Paris looking to discover new, authentic spots, the app has expanded to more French cities like Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, and Toulouse, along with venturing across borders to Barcelona, Lisbon and Tokyo. Laid out similarly to the dating app Tinder, Bim is an exciting way to meander through a city by swiping right on suggestions to show no interest or left to add to your favourites. With no ability to search a specific type of cuisine, only price range and location, the app allows you to discover new cafés and bars at random. There are no written descriptions; you are left to take a chance on a few key words and a picture, which is very refreshing in a world obsessed by knowing all the details, all the time.

3. Cityteller

3. Cityteller
© books

What a romantic and inventive way to get to know a city, through literature. Timeless quotes and descriptions from the oldest books to the newest appear on this travel app and show you the location that appears in the very text. Described as 'geo-emotive', it is an app that allows you to be inspired by the words famous authors wrote when they saw the very place you could be standing in front of. It is a tool that allows you to get to know the world through the storytelling of great writers, seeing it through their eyes. The app is laid out in a map or list view, showing green speech marks along the paths to indicate where a literary quote applies to the location. You may also contribute to the Cityeller virtual community by putting your own favourite quotes that relate to a place on the app so others may benefit from your own experience of flitting between imagination and reality.

4. Geocaching

4. Geocaching
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There are 2 million geocaches worldwide, guiding people on many adventures. Just sign up to the free service, load your map with the green dots symbolising all the treasures to be found and head off on an quest to find the hidden cache. Navigating you to a secret place either at the top of a magnificent mountain, or an undiscovered part of your own home town the travel app brings a real sense of community and excitement to a trip of any kind. The caches are of all shapes and sizes, and of all difficulties to find - that's the fun of it! Many people take part in it, sharing trinkets and signing the log book to show who has been in the same exact spot and how far they have travelled to get there.

5. Luka

5. Luka
© flickr

The San Francisco based app has been compared to a virtual friend who has eaten at every restaurant possible in the city. It is hoping to change the way we dine around the world, by introducing live chat recommendations and the possibility of making reservations without having to do anything yourself. Luka is able to learn what your favourite types of cuisine are and cater the app to your needs through artificial intelligence, instead of trawling through pages and pages of google to find the right place to eat. If you have no idea what you fancy Luka suggests a few places to you in your surrounding area and asks you a few questions once you have finished, registering the feedback. Although it only operates in California at the moment, the travel app's founders have big plans to have expand to the rest of the USA and then on to Europe by the end of this year.

6. The Traveler

6. The Traveler
© flickr

An American, Android app that helps you keep track and store memories made from your travels. Every traveller longs to keep a scrapbook and note down all the wonderful moments from every day, but sometimes it is not quite that easy, and there is not enough time to experience everything while writing it all down. Having teamed up with Google maps, the app tracks your journey's route and marks it on a map. Any photos, audio or videos recorded will then be added to your map, along with you very own sketches that you can draw on the phone itself - freehand or over a picture. The app allows you to send all of the media back to loved ones at home so that they may also experience your trip as if they were by your side. If you want to keep the relics just for your own sake, it is an impressive idea to keep everything logged so that once you reach home once again you can either write it all out properly or to know you will always it to look back over on your device.

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Rosalind Leech
Posted on 29/09/2015 13 shares
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