10 Apps to Make Travel Better
Mobile applications are increasingly making our travels easier and more beautiful. Self-confessed apps queen Sarah Lee, offers ten of the best in travel.
Find and book that flight with the remarkably easy to use app from Skyscanner (free on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone). It has geo-location to help you find a flight from your closest airport and will search flights to a whole country or for a number of months - for really flexible fliers. It will also give you prices in any currency you like.
2. Packing +TO DO
Whether you’re leaving home or going home, Packing +TO DO (free on iPhone) helps you keep track of everything you need to take on your trip, plus all the things you need to do before you go. Alternatively upgrade to Packing Pro (£1.99) for more options. It allows you to create and edit your own customised packing list, shows items as packed or unpacked - with: “remaining items” badges, and you can even e-mail your list to others.
Whether you’re on iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone, Tripit (free) will save all the details of your travel itinerary. Just forward your travel booking confirmation emails to Tripit and it will store your details, sending you notifications of your upcoming travels. It’s ideal for multi-stop trips. Go ‘pro’ with Tripit and for a $49 annual subscription, this clever app will also alert you to any late changes to your flight’s gate number.
If you find yourself catching a last-minute beer in an airport bar that’s more than a stumble to a departures board, you’ll want to download FlightBoard. This app not only stops you missing your flight by giving you live details from the departure gate, boarding times and any delays, it also saves your legs – leaving you more time for that beer.
5. iTranslate Voice
Ever been stuck for words in a foreign language? There are a host of translation apps that can help such as Google Translate, iTranslate and Translator (all free on iPhone and Android). But to save the embarrassment of poor pronounciation, iTranslate Voice ($1.99) is a favourite. Tell this app what you want to say, and it will repeat it back to you in your chosen foreign language. Speaking Cantonese has never been easier.
6. XE Currency
If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around the conversion of your home currency to the currency of the country you’re visiting XE Currency (free on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone) is a perfect solution. It has live rates and charts for every currency in the world, plus a converter.
It’s all well and good being on holiday, but what if something amazing was happening there, right at the moment you were about to head to bed? Now (free on iPhone) crowd sources images from Instagram’s feed of photos to find you the best events going on right now, near you. It will also send a push notification to your phone when a friend is at a location nearby that’s trending.
Forget travel guides to your destination, Triposo (free on iPhone and Android) is a guide to the whole world. The app was created by two ex-Google staffers and is based on fancy algorithms that provide you with the web’s most relevant information on your destination. Triposo then processes that information to make hot-looking guides that you can use offline, recommending the most relevant locations for travellers. It has city guides, maps, sightseeing tips and eating out information for over 8,000 destinations. It offers recommendations based on the time, weather and more. From within the app you can download city or country guides before you travel and then interact with these, without an internet connection. You can even keep track of your experiences in Triposo's travel log.
9. Help Call
No one wants to be a profit of doom but there may well be times when you’ll find yourself in need of the emergency services - while on your travels. But who actually knows the emergency number in Kazakhstan?! Here Help Call ($2.99 on iPhone) comes to the rescue. This app will connect you to emergency numbers no matter where you are in the world. You can even set a number to dial when you shake the phone - in the event you can't press the button yourself. Help Call’s simple interface has just four buttons: police, fire, ambulance and friend for that all important call.
10. Wi-Fi Finder App
Unless you’re planning on a get-away-from-it-all break, there’s nothing worse than being totally out of contact with the outside (web) world. Wi-Fi Finder App (free on iPhone and Android) has a downloadable offline database of free wireless hotspots - to help you get online as quickly, and cheaply as possible.
- Sarah Lee
Get to grips with all things Flying Pig with this snap shot - time lapse video. We showcase all things fun and Flying Pig, in just 56-seconds!
Music Reviews From The Flying Pig
Lara Bradley’s Music Review: Foxygen
It’s always so hard to pick artists to review for the e-zine. I trawl the net weekly for new music, all the while listening to classic albums on my laptop. I'm overwhelmed by the volume of artists out there – all churning out tune after tune of musical magic. I have however made a selection, so without further ado - here’s my top pick for the Spring.
Living in Amsterdam I'm a bit of a free spirit and this breezy vintage music seems to suit my style, and this life just perfectly. California born Foxygen have a unique sound - encompassing an array of genres. Sixties psychedelic sounds, classic rock, blues, indie, pop and folk can all be heard. This all comes from a combo’ of steady drums, keyboard, guitar and harmonica - sewn together by the raw soothing sound of vocals from Sam France.
Jonathan Rado on the keyboard and piano helps achieve this Kinks influenced sound, but with an individual twist. Just looking at these guys makes you want to scream peace and love – even the album title ties into this - We Are The 21st Century’s Ambassadors of Peace and Magic. To me that just conjures up images of flowers, festivals tents and hair braiding - around the camp fire!
Although new on the scene so to speak, don’t be fooled. These guys have been around a while and have cemented their style from the start. The unique approach to music gives their songs an ever-changing aspect throughout the album. It will catch your attention and keep you interested from start to finish because you're never quite sure what direction it’s going to take!
Just when you think the psychedelic touch is getting carried away, the odd bell percussion bring the tunes back to earth. Despite their erratic piano - summer of love sound, these boys are essentially endearing, and charming.
It’s tough to choose a favourite track - the reason I chose this album was because I love everything on it! However, at a push I’d go with Shuggie - because it reminds me of films like The Boat the Rocked, showcasing the best in sixties music. Listen from start to finish as you're taken on musical journey through the 21st century, the sixties and the seventies. Clever stuff!
- Lara Bradley
News and Events from the Pig
Rijks Museum Re-opening - April 13, 2013
There’s not long to go now! After ten-years of building work, renovation and restoration, the opening of the new Rijksmuseum will take place on Saturday April 13, 2013!
Queen’s Day – April 30, 2013
This is always a special day in Amsterdam and this year there’ll be even more to celebrate as the new king and queen of the Netherlands are officially inaugurated. Earlier this year, Queen Beatrix delivered an official address to the nation, announcing her upcoming abdication from the throne. This will take place on Tuesday April 30, 2013 at the Royal Palace on Dam Square, followed by the inauguration of the new King and Queen at De Nieuwe Kerk.
The majority of the traditional Queen’s Day festivities, including the street market, will go ahead as planned and in addition, Amsterdam will host a special programme of events based around the ceremonies. This will include a royal boat parade and a celebratory King’s Ball at Museumplein.
Check out the Facebook Page for more details - as we unveil them!
The Great Band Robbery and Keukenhof - Flying Pig Beach Hostel
Visit the Keukenhof from the Flying Pig Beach Hostel – March 21 to May 20, 2013
Come along and tip-toe through the tulips, admire the amaryllis and cruise past the crocuses at the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, the world’s largest flower gardens. From now until 20 May 2013, the Keukenhof Gardens will burst into a kaleidoscope of colours as the gently rolling grounds are carpeted with blooming flowers.
The Flying Pig Beach Hostel is in the centre of Holland’s famous bulb area.
From the Beach Hostel it’s really easy to take the Hop on Hop off bus and visit the tulip exhibition. It’s also really nice to rent a Bike at the Beach Hostel and paddle through the magnificent bulb fields.
This year the theme at the gardens is the United Kingdom – Land of Great Gardens! Big Ben and Tower Bridge were planted back in October, along with seven million other bulbs!
This is the 64th edition of the open gardens, which can be enjoyed daily between
08:00 and 19:30. The ticket office closes at 18:00 and Keukenhof is also open on Sundays, and public holidays. Ticket are 15 euros for grown ups.
The Great Band Robbery at The Flying Pig Beach
The Great Band Robbery is our revolutionary Battle of the Bands. We have nine band(it)s playing, four nights of music and one big winner.
THE HEATS: Nine bands play for 45-minutes each, over three nights. At 01:00 on the night of each battle, the vault contents will be revealed and the winner will be known.
THE VAULT: The band(it)s all have a vault - somewhere where they can collect their bounty and where the public can put money, in support of their favourite band(it). And no, the Flying Pig is not going to take a share from the vaults because all proceeds go to the winning band(it)! The band(it) that collects the biggest bounty on the night wins the heat. The winning band(it)s goes on to The Great Robbery on June 1, 2013.
THE GREAT ROBBERY: The three band(it)s that won their heats, compete again at The Great Robbery. The band(it) that wins The Great Robbery will steal all of the bounties and secure a headline spot in this year’s Piggy Pop 2013 Festival.
Like our Facebook page and stay up to date on the Battle.
Do you want to be there on one of the Battle nights? BOOK YOUR BED
Look out for more information online. www.piggypop.nl
Europe’s Famous Hostels – The Villa Saint Exupery Gardens, Nice
Calm down - you’re on the French Riviera: While the rest of Europe is suffering from a wet start into the spring the French Riviera is heading full steam into summer with beach action kicking off in April and major events such as the Monaco Rolex Masters and the Antibes Yacht Show coming up in April. There’s also the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival lined up for May.
So get out of the rain and onto the beach - any beach, take your pick. The French Riviera is peppered amazing coves so grab yourself some amazing (but cheap) bottles of ‘vin’ and get underway - anytime of day!
The Villa Saint Exupery Gardens is the perfect base to enjoy all of this. Not only does it have the cheapest bar in the whole of Nice (we’re talking 1 Euro happy hour beers), it also has a party atmosphere unrivalled by any other hostel on the French Riviera. Friday nights are the best of all, when local students and backpackers alike congregate to party hard with all nationalities. To top it off, the staff ooze character and rarely refuse the chance to get to know you over a drink!
Nice is the beating heart of the French Riviera. While Cannes and Monaco offer a rich culture of … being rich, Nice offers lazy days, tanning or drinking on the beach. The city also serves up some great restaurants that you can afford without having to break out the back-up credit card!
Start your night in the Villa Saint Exupery hostel bar and then join the bar crawl – heading into town with your fellow travellers. Head to Waynes Bar for an American vibe with live music and DJs. Dance on the tables and stools that double as a dance floor until 2am, before moving onto the Bulldog. It’s known to locals as Pompeii – just in case you need directions! Late night bars and clubs don’t close until 5am, so keep going until sunrise if you so choose.
The bars and restaurants of the Old Town offer sweaty encounters aplenty, in the summer months the beach is the place to go for a drink and a chat. If however you want to taste the Monaco nightlife without the pretentious crowd, jump on the Monaco Partybus. It’s easily the best and cheapest way to experience a truly international, and glamorous experience!
More info and free booking at www.famoushostels.com