Lead Article: 2014’s Latest Travel Tech, Tools and Apps for Savvy Backpackers
How fast technology moves on. It’s not enough for us to hold a gadget with the power of a desktop in our hands, we now want to be wearing it. We no longer just film video with a handheld – we want to launch cameras into the sky. With wearables, drones and more coming into their own, Sarah Lee explores the travel tech products and apps, you’ll be coveting.
You’re looking good, Houston
Here’s a fact – your mobile phone has more processing power than the computer that took Apollo 11 to the moon. And in the advent of wearables – from Google Glass to Samsung’s Gear S and the forthcoming Apple Watch – it’s likely we’ll soon be wearing that processing power.
Samsung was the first to market with its Gear S watches, which have some cool tools for travellers.
Airlines like Air France have apps allowing you to purchase tickets, check in, obtain your boarding pass and check your flight’s status. While Expedia’s app lets you check your gate, and puts booking confirmations, and directions at your fingertips.
Share your location with anyone with a Samsung Gear S with Glympse – letting you meet up with friends in an unknown city. WhileKomoot brings turn-by-turn navigation to outdoorsy types and is great for mountain biking.
Google Glass promises amazing things for travellers including augmented reality travel guides and StreetView from a whole new perspective. But with a slow global release and at £1,000 for what is still a prototype, it won’t be adorning many faces very soon.
The Apple Watch however is looking promising for its early 2015 launch.It will include apps familiar to iOS users - turn-by-turn navigation with Maps, boarding passes and tickets securely stored in Passbook.And of course your favourite app developers are at work making sure their apps enhance your travel life on Apple Watch.
GoPro’s wearable mounts and accessories for the camera make videos of your adventures ever more immersive. Add a waterproof housing or a drone and you’ll be filming epic travel movies to send to family and friends instead of writing postcards.
Protect your data and tech when you travel
Wearable technology doesn’t stop there. You can now wear your data too with Stormfly - one of a number of companies making wearable USB flash drives such as wristbands, ensuring your information is safe on your person when travelling.
It’s all well and good having your phone, your tablet, your GoPro and all the cables you can muster when you’re on the road, but storage can be a problem. That’s where Slim Bag-in-Bag comes in. It holds all your travel essentials in numerous pockets, including one large enough for a tablet or Chromebook, and also fits into a rucksack or handbag.
Best apps for on the move
Find and book flights in a few taps with JetRadar . It searches 700 airlines and has a quality/price ratio to ensure you’re seeing the best options.
Want to travel somewhere but not sure how to get there? Rome2Rio is your friend. It highlights the fastest ways to destinations around the world by plane, train and automobile.
If you’re travelling Europe by train, Rail Planner is a must. It has country maps, and departure and arrival listings for any station, and it’s killer feature - you don’t need an Internet connection to view timetables. (All of the above are free on iPhone and Android)
FlightRadar24 Pro (£1.99 on iPhone, Android, Windows) lets you to a track live flights and even hold your device skywards toseewhere the plane overhead is going.
If like me you have way too many apps, Cover Lock Screen (free, Android only) will bring some focus. It puts your favourite apps on the lock screen, and recognises whether you’re at home or travelling to show you the right apps at the right time.
News From the Pigs: What's Coming Up During Your Time
in the Dam
Pint Bokbier Festival – October 24 to 26, 2014: The largest beer festival in the Netherlands with over 50 brews on tap. Held in Beurs van Berlage, in the city centre with live bands to boot
International Documentary Film Festival – November 19 to 30, 2014: This international extravaganza transforms Amsterdam city centre into a dream for all film fans.
Music Reviews From The Flying Pig
Lost in the Dream by War on Drugs
It’s September and we’re talking rock - but not head banging, animal guitar playing, chest thumping rock. I wouldn't do that to you, no no. I’m talking easy rock, which packs a punch but doesn't destroy your eardrums for eternity. Because I have so much love for you, I’ve carefully selected the album from War on Drugs called Lost in the Dreams.
War on Drugs (if you aren’t aware) are an all American Rock-Indie band. They got together in 2005 and have thus far, shared with the world well constructed albums of ever evolving new rock - coupled with all the best bits of yesteryear.
Scratch only the surface and you will experience the feel of a very romantic, American movie-esque soundtrack, which I kinda’ revel in. But if you really give it a listen - in the way that it’s intended to be listened to – you’ll go on an emotional journey with front man Adam. This is a breakup - heartache album, through and through, with tracks like Suffering and Disappearing, taking point.
Drifting effortlessly from their last album into the next, this is certainly more heartfelt and pained. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not soppy by any measure, but more about strength and the release of feelings during a struggle. If you want a quick glimpse into the soul of this album, you need do nothing more than glance at the cover. Even the photo with what appears to be Adam slumped over with his head down in a bedroom, depicts the heartache, darkness and pain which the album portrays.
Out of the darkness however comes the light and on this album, Adam beautifully channels all of that hurt and negativity into music, and lyrics. Such honesty makes the collection incredibly tender and moving, but also reassures you that he’s doing ok. For example, lyrics like: “Feeling a bit rundown here at the moment” on the track Eyes to the Wind, offer hope of recovery as opposed to dragging you into depression, like so many heartache albums do. Better still, tracks like Lost in a Dream are born beautifully from the ashes left behind by heartache.
Critics seem to always want to find that line in a song - the words that encompass an emotion like no other and define the singer, and therein the band. I don't necessarily think you'll find that on this album, but that’s ok. I’m a firm believer that just saying it how it is – can be best. It’s then that the emotion comes through in the purest form – in lyrics or through a beautifully orchestrated band.
This album is delicately and perfectly sewn together - floating from track to track on a breeze, so I hope you’ll keep it in mind for chilling out at home on an autumn night. It’s an easy one to wind down to.
- Lara Bradley
Europe’s Famous Hostels Guide to Marseille
Our buddies over at Europe’s Famous Hostels are always doing their bestest’ to help a backpacker out on the road and in this e-zine, they’ve sent over a handy new guide to all things Marseille.
The Notre Dame de la Garde: Probably the most renowned landmark in Marseille, it’s hard to miss given its immense presence over the city. Aside from its architectural splendour, the views from the church’s 148ft tower are staggeringly impressive. As Marseille’s biggest tourist attraction it gets understandably busy but it’s certainly worth it.
Cours Julien: One of Marseille’s hippest areas, the graffiti daubed Cours Julien square hosts various morning markets: fresh flowers on Wednesday and Saturday, antique books on alternate Saturdays, and stamps or antique books on Sunday. It’s a laidback area that will, without fail, give you a feel for the real Marseille.
Centre de la Vieille Charité: If you’re looking for more than a sun tan, you may want to indulge in a spot of museum exploration. Conveniently for us, many of Marseille’s museums reside in the Centre de la Vielle Charite. You’ll find you can wile away plenty of time in the Musée d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne (Museum of Mediterranean Archeology) or the Musée d’Arts Africains, Océaniens & Amérindiens (Museum of African, Oceanic & American Indian Art).
The Calanques: When it comes to natural wonders, one of the finest in Marseille is the Calanques. Running for 20km between Marseille and Cassis, these are steep-sided valleys formed after many, many years of water erosion. Rock-formation 101 aside, the Calanques are also perfect for hiking and mountain climbing, with some beautiful ocean views too. A top tip is to make a day out of this and tie it into a trip to Cassis.
Palais de Longchamp: Built in 1869 to celebrate the construction of the Canal de Marseille, the Palais de Longchamp remains one of Marseille’s most majestic sites. Water features are the play a large part in the palace makeup. With several grand ponds and a manmade waterfall. The Palais de Longchamp is also where you’ll find the city’s Museum of Fine Arts and Natural History Museum, not to mention the Parc Longchamp, a lush green area listed as one of the most Notable Gardens in France.
The Santon: To some they will just look like dolls but Santons are a huge part of Marseille’s heritage. These traditional Native Provencal figurines and specially made Santon cribs, are displayed at a fair, established with the aim of uniting ancient Santon-Maker families.
Beachside Time: We’ve skirted around it long enough. One of the best things to do in Marseille is a trip to the city’s many beaches. There are plenty to pick from so whether you want a place to chill out, catch some waves or just enjoy a beer at an ocean side bar, you’ll find something to suit you. Plage du Roucas Blanc, Plage Borély and Plage Bonneveine are worth checking out.
Enjoy the Vertigo Vieux-Port Hostel in Marsellie from just 22 euros per person, per night.
COMING UP AT THE FLYING PIG BEACH HOSTEL
October 1, 2014 - Hangover 1, 2 and 3 Movie Night
October 15, 2014 - Monthly quiz night
October 10, 2014 – Pie and Pint Night: Warm up your stomachs with one of our lovely home baked pies and wash it down with a pint.
October 23, 2014 - Piggy Unplugged: Our unplugged musicians are back and we’re excited our guests get to check out the new local talent. You heard them here first.
Werewolf Special – October 30 and 31, 2014: Join us for a ghoulish Halloween party, with frights and delights galore.
This is Europe’s permanent space expedition. Located on an industrial estate on the edge of Noordwijk, Space Expo doesn't look much from the outside, but it’s much bigger on the inside - packed with super interesting exhibits, and interactive displays.
You can check out some great space memorabilia, including a cutaway space station where you can get an astronaut's view of circling the earth. There are some beautiful images taken from space too, plus displays showing you how you how to align the planets in our solar system, a weightless space walk room, a satellite launch command and a Soyuz rocket flight simulator.