If you're a tourist visiting a new country or a new city, then you need to be engaging with your surroundings and making sure that you're looking at where you're going. These days technology has a bad habit of getting in the way of things, and it's not unusual to be in an exciting new locale only to spend the whole time looking at a phone or through a camera lens.
That said though, there are also a number of good reasons to use your phone if you're travelling – and especially when you're a tourist in a new area in which case an app can help you to learn more about where you are, to capture the memories and to enjoy the experience in general all the more. Read on for some great apps for tourists that you should install before visiting a new country.
If I didn't put this at the top of the list then I'd be lying. Instagram has become such a popular way to take and share photos these days, that many people will think immediately about all the new arty photos they're going to get as soon as they start planning a trip or holiday. Instagram is one of the best ways to create memories and to share them with strangers, and if you haven't gotten into it yet then I highly recommend giving it a go. You may be surprised how much fun you have.
Foursquare is the app that lets you share and log and the places you've visited. The idea is that this will allow you to recommend places to visit, to show your friends where you've been and to look to their profiles for inspiration. In reality though, Foursquare is all about showing off how many places you've been and how good you are at travelling. It's kind of an exercise in vanity… But is there anything necessarily wrong with that?
Speaking of showing off, Facebook will provide you with an ideal way to share photos, to post about where you are, and again to 'check in' so that the world can see that you're casually checking out the Leaning Tower of Pisa for instance.
Google Maps is the number one app you'll need for finding your way around in a new area and for finding the nearest train station etc. You might have to pay a little for your roaming data when you're abroad, but if you're completely lost then this is a negligible cost worth paying rather than wandering aimlessly for hours in a new city.
If you want to find great things to do in the area you're in, then you can use Google Maps or you can use Wikitude for more of a taste of the future. This is an 'augmented reality browser', which basically lets you point your camera at things to find out more about them. This will let you quickly see the deals at a restaurant and identify just what that big building is out the window of your bus rental.