Go off the beaten app

Quirky time-passers to keep you amused and in­formed on the road

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - DAVID CAR­ROLL

THE myth that we use only 10 per cent of our brains was de­bunked ages ago. But what about our sec­ond brains — or smart­phones, as they are more com­monly called?

The av­er­age per­son has about 40 apps on his or her mo­bile de­vice, yet iPhone and An­droid users each have more than 700,000 apps avail­able. Even if 99 per cent of this soft­ware is of no use what­so­ever, that still leaves thou­sands of in­ter­est­ing apps wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered.

The best or most pop­u­lar trav­el­re­lated apps are easy to find be­cause their virtues are reg­u­larly ex­tolled in Top 10 lists. When dig­ging be­yond the pop charts, first con­sider your own per­sonal in­ter­ests, your travel needs and your des­ti­na­tion.

Here are a few ex­am­ples of the sort of quirky, clever, sur­pris­ingly prac­ti­cal and un­ques­tion­ably silly things you might find.

THINKSTOCK and the time of day to as­sess po­ten­tial haz­ard lev­els. In Lon­don, for in­stance, the app will high­light the most dan­ger­ous tube sta­tions, high-crime ar­eas, the lo­ca­tion of well-known gangs and the favourite haunts of pick­pock­ets, en­abling you to plan safe routes to or from your ho­tel. Or to exit quick smart if you find your­self in the wrong place at the wrong time.

MAKE YOUR­SELF UN­DER­STOOD

Apps such as Google Trans­late and Word Lens are ex­tra­or­di­nary trans­la­tion tools for trav­ellers who want to com­mu­ni­cate in for­eign tongues. But if the sit­u­a­tion calls for a spe­cific type of mes­sage, there is also Swear­port (A), which en­ables own­ers to curse in more than 60 lan­guages (from Al­ba­nian to Viet­namese). Sim­ply choose an ap­pro­pri­ate in­sult and the app will play a high- qual­ity au­dio record­ing of a na­tive speaker de­liv­er­ing the ex­ple­tive. Help­fully, the app ex­plains the pre­cise mean­ing of each phrase and rates its in­ten­sity.

A trav­eller con­sults her all-pur­pose, go-any­where hol­i­day ad­viser

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