NOW! JAKARTA | Essential Travel Apps
ESSENTIAL TRAVEL APPS
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Life, as we know it, is slowly turning digital and it is unavoidable. While the digital way of living comes naturally for millennials, it may not do so for the rest of the people out there. Many of us thank digitalization for simplifying our lives, and at the same time, secretly curse it for creating a generation of socially inept youth. To be fair, going digital has more good than bad. For one, it thrusts the humankind into a new paradigm that is more efficient and open to endless creative possibilities.


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It also changes the way we travel. Gone are those times spent reading maps and getting lost in translation as we now have apps for literally almost everything. All you need to do is find the right app and download it.

Coming from an analog era that required time and process for every activity, I found these traveling apps to be really useful. Thanks to these innovations, it is no longer a challenge to communicate with those who don’t speak English, find hidden restaurants in a foreign city, or even book last-minute hotel reservations with a great deal. This is what I call “Traveling 2.0”.

I found apps such as Google Maps and Google Translate to be the most useful. I have used both on many of my journeys to foreign lands. I am especially pleased with Google Translate – its speaking feature helped me a lot during my trip to China!

Another favourite is App in the Air, which I found by accident. It turned out to be really helpful in organising flight schedules, even to the point of updating schedules for any delay, providing gate and terminal information, flight duration, airport situation, even airline contact. You can even check in through this app!

Other apps such as Instagram, Twitter, Path and Facebook are still proven to be favourite social media platforms among Indonesians. However, in a country like China where their use isn’t exactly encouraged, you’ll need to download another app called VPN Master to create a secure connection that enables those apps to work normally.  A new kid on the block called Steller is currently rising in popularity. This app lets users create visual stories on available templates – quite a fun and beautiful way of sharing your journeys!

For those of you with a penchant for shopping, you’ll find XE very useful. By providing the latest currency rate conversion, this old-time favourite of mine helps you calculate the actual price of the item you want to buy in your own currency.

There’s a really long list of useful apps for traveling out there, from photo apps such as Snapseed and PS Express to Vivino, the world’s largest wine app. All you need to do is explore. It also helps to be open-minded and to have the willingness to try different apps, most of which are free, by the way.

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For more travel app recommendations, I asked none other than my fellow travel writers and bloggers. Here’s what they have to say:

Windy Ariestanti – Travel Writer and Founder of ‘iwashere.id’ (digital traveling) and ‘writingtable (creative writing class)
(@windy_ariestanty / www.windyariestanty.com)


I love languages and when traveling, I like learning the local language of the place I visit. One day, a dear friend of mine, who’s also a keen traveler, introduced a language app called Duolingo that can help us practice foreign languages. I have since found it very useful especially when I am in non-English speaking countries. It always enriches me with new knowledge and also helps to kill time in between flights.

Arif Rahman – Travel Blogger
(Flashpacker with a backpack)
(@arievrahman / www.backpackstory.me)

My favorite app so far is Skyscanner, as it is the most convenient flight-searching app I have ever used. It can search any destination in the world based on your available time and budget. I am currently in South Korea (as this article is written) as the result of my impulsiveness on entering free dates on its search engine. I didn’t regret it, though.

Kadek Arini – Travel Blogger
(@kadekarini / www.kadekarini.com)

I found MAPS.ME to be very useful for my traveling needs. This free app provides you with fast and detailed offline maps with turn-by-turn navigation, which saves a great deal on mobile data. MAPS.ME also has categories such as restaurants, cafés, tourist attractions, hotels, even ATMs and many others.

Alexander Thian – Storygrapher and Photographer
(@amrazing / www.amrazing.com)

I love Google Maps! The reason is very simple. I have a very bad sense of direction, so this app is the holy grail for my every travel. When I was in Paris for the first time, Google Maps helped me to find the hostel location. At that time, it was already dark and the people I asked didn’t speak English at all. I also use Skyscanner to find out and compare flight prices.

Kenny Santana – Founder of KartuPos
(@kartuposinsta / www.kartupos.co.id)

I use Airbnb a lot to find and book alternative accommodations when traveling. It provides many options of great local houses to stay at affordable prices. I also use CityMaps2Go, an offline map application where you can download the map beforehand to save on mobile data! For social media purposes, Instagram is proven effective to find out interesting places as well as local fashion styles. To edit my traveling photos before posting them on Instagram, I like to use Snapseed and VSCO.

ERZA S.T.

The founder of Indonesia Opera Society that produces classical music and opera concerts, Erza S.T., also loves travelling in wintertime. Aside from that, he is also recognised as a prominent writer on lifestyle, art and culture, travel, design and fashion. In addition, his love of gastronomy has made him one of the city’s reputable food critics. Erza is definitely the type of writer who has immense curiosity on venturing to new places or trying new things.

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