Have you ever gone on vacation to relax, and came back feeling more tired than when you left? The allure of visiting a new city, state, country, or continent is always refreshing, but is it always redeeming in terms of rest and recovery? Racing around seemingly endless new territories, quickly viewing as many monuments, landmarks and natural artifacts as possible is a rush, literally. One of the lost arts in taking a vacation is slowing down from the fast-paced hectic schedules we normally maintain, and taking the time to actually unwind into the local culture being visited.
According to the Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans now own a cellphone, and furthermore, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. It can be easy to let these devices take us away from our vacation vibes, but instead, the focus should be on how they can enhance the quality of our vacations. A number of commendable smartphone options like the iPhone X exist nowadays, and most of them should have the capabilities needed to fully indulge in a “slow vacation”. Using your smartphone to access the following travel apps will lead you down a path of restful bliss, as you relax into the natural progression of the locals.
This application is all about the transportation logistics during travel. Rome2Rio offers travelers the ability to explore all transportation options beyond just basic flight accommodations by entering an address, landmark or attraction etc. Usage of flights, trains, busses, cars, ferries, bikes, and walking are all presented in a unified manner with varying combinations and arrival times. This is golden if you have already committed to a slow vacation, as it can save you money by choosing slower options, and in turn, some of the options such as biking or walking will lead you into local areas that would go unexplored otherwise. A famous musician once said “sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.”
If you’ve ever been in the middle of using your phone to navigate and your data stops working due to the service in the area, and the route is no longer available, this application solves the issue. CityMaps2Go saves maps all around the world for offline use, so your phone can provide routes without the use of data or Wi-Fi, just the internal GPS. CityMaps2Go will work great in conjunction with Rome2Rio, especially for walking purposes in confined areas and neighborhoods.
When trying to find deeper connections with a new community of locals, understanding and using the native language helps a ton. Not everyone has the time, resources, or dedication it takes to learn a new language, and that reality may scare travelers from vacationing too far away from familiarity (especially if a spontaneous trip is desired). Luckily, Microsoft Translator allows travelers to speak into their phone’s microphone and audibly translate their words into the native language of choice, instantly (60 of the world’s most commonly used languages are included). The app can also translate text, and just like CityMaps2Go, users can save content for offline use as well.
Many modern travelers are readily familiar with the mobile application of AirBnb, which is a service that allows locals to host incoming travelers at agreed upon rates and arrangements (another great tool for local cultural immersion). Taking that concept a step further, EatWith is an app that matches local meal makers (sometimes chefs) with hungry visitors wishing to dine in a local cultural setting with authentic cuisine. An array of hosts can advertise their daily/nightly or weekly/monthly menus for a price they deem appropriate at a specified date and time. Literally get a taste of the community, environment, and ingredients that exemplify the local dining experience. Same day dining options exist for all of the spontaneous travelers!
Media consumption is at an all time high, and attention spans are at an all time low. It sounds strange to say, but vacations require more focus than ever before. The focus to live in the moment, the focus to eliminate outside noise from our personal tech devices, and the focus to allow our tech devices to enhance our trips, not detour them. Taking vacations slowly is a luxury anyone with the means to do so should appreciate. Savor the nature, savor the culture and savor the flavors that make your vacation experience stick out. Don’t waste too much time planning things out. Use the resources listed above and create the time for a slowed, culturally immersive experience, whether using your iPhone X or whatever smartphone of choice!