Self guided tours are very much in vogue at the moment. In fact, 85% of first-time users say they wouldn’t go on holiday without one again. If that has piqued your interest, then continue reading. I am going to take a look at 5 of the best from the Google Play store today, so you can see everything they have to offer.
Don’t worry though; I’ll also tell you the bits I wasn’t so keen about. That way you can make up your mind and find the perfect travel partner to take with you no matter where you end up.
How easy are self guided tours with Field Trip?
Field Trip is an Android app that’s been making a name for itself as a reliable holiday guide so I couldn’t wait to give it a try. Here’s how it got on when it was my tour app of choice for the week.
The smart thing about Field Trip is that it runs in the background and pops up with something interesting every now and again. I connected it to my headphones via Bluetooth, and it provided all manner of interesting facts.
I also liked the fact that it made history hyperlocal. Rather than reading facts about towns, it gave me info about specific monuments and buildings when I was in their vicinity. If you’re the sort of person who loves to know more about the places you visit then this could be perfect for you. And because it reads everything to you, you’ll be able to keep your hands free, meaning, you can take plenty of pictures!
What did I make of the PocketGuide Audio Travel Guide?
I have to say that I was impressed with this app, and I think you will be too. Not only does it read facts and give you directions in over 150 of the world’s biggest cities, but it also lends a hand. What do I mean by this?
Well, for starters it will tell you where the nearest bar or restaurant is if you say, “I’m hungry”. That is ideal for saving you energy so that you can make the most of your trip. It also means you can navigate handsfree without having to turn your map inside out to try and find an intended destination!
I also really liked that it works offline. Some apps require you to be connected continuously which could cause you to incur substantial roaming charges depending on where you are. All I did with this one was download and enjoy my holiday. Ideal really!
I was Impressed by Guides by Lonely Planet
It offers a whole host of functionality that matches plenty of the other apps on this list which is excellent.
However, the thing which sets it apart is that it integrates stunning photography. For me, images help when suggesting ideas for places to visit when first arriving in a new city. It also means you won’t have to flick through your photos or guidebook when you’re trying to find a picture of something you want to go and see.
One area that I see as a negative is it isn’t as comprehensive as the books are yet. Hopefully, this will one day change, but, there’s an awful lot in the Lonely Planet Guidebooks to transfer. It would be nice to have that level of detail on your phone though.
Something a Little Different Culture Trip: Explore & Travel
This app is a little bit more of a social platform, and a little less of a self guided tour if I’m honest. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but if you want audio prompts then this may not be the app for you!
What I did like is the ability to create and share stories from any location in the world. This gives the information a user-generated element which is a nice novelty. There’s always the chance that it will be slightly more erroneous than something official. But it does give you an insight into how people made use of their time in each location.
I found this refreshing as it allowed me to discover things I wouldn’t have otherwise. That said, I would like to see it add some audio prompts in the future. Definitely worth a closer look at though!
TripAdvisor: Last but no means least
As anyone who has booked a holiday in recent memory will tell you: TripAdvisor is a must-use site and app. The app allows you to compare airfares and accommodation prices for any destination in the world. There’s also the option to read plenty of reviews and recommendations left by previous users. However, if you switch your handsets location setting to, on, the app will suggest places to see, eat, and share interesting pieces of information. Additionally, just like the site, you get to read user-generated information about the very area you are in!
Granted, there were no audio prompts (none that I could find), but the functionality that it provides is impressive. I would say that while not a dedicated self guided tours app, it does more than enough to compensate. You shouldn’t consider it as a, use at home/planning your trip app.
Instead, it’s one that ensures you have an itinerary; one that enables you to make changes and continue to explore.
Hopefully this has given you plenty of food for thought and shown you how apps can help you with self guided tours. Think of them as tools that you can make use of rather than platforms you need to sit on all holiday long. That way you’ll find the right balance between looking things up, and going out there and experiencing a place in person.
Now I’ve said my piece all you need to do is decide which one you’re going to take with you on your travels. Enjoy your trip!