Trains, boats and planes

TECH TALK: Apps can make travel choices eas­ier says David Behrens.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Gadgets& Gear -

RAV­EL­LING any­where this week? Good luck with that.

Pub­lic trans­port in this coun­try rarely fires on all four cylin­ders but right now it’s down to about one-and-ahalf, as the hol­i­day shut­down and Bri­tish win­ter com­bine to make the prospect of get­ting from A to B about as ap­peal­ing as hav­ing root canal work.

But if your new Christ­mas toys in­clude a smart­phone or tablet, there are plenty of travel apps that can make your jour­ney choices a lit­tle eas­ier.

Skyscan­ner, avail­able for Ap­ple and An­droid de­vices and on the web, is the eas­i­est way to find and book flights from any­where to any­where else.

If you know where you want to go, it will scan all the avail­able routes from your choice of air­ports and list them by price. Bet­ter still, if you have dates in mind but no des­ti­na­tion, it will search for ev­ery cheap flight avail­able from your lo­cal de­par­ture point. You can look months ahead and browse the globe for pos­si­ble bar­gains – and many air­lines will let you book your flights from within the app.

For jour­neys closer to home, the Train­line app helps you plan your route and book tick­ets, but not, cru­cially, check whether your train is on time. As it’s highly likely that it won’t be, you have a choice of “real time data” apps, which, some­what ou­tra­geously, are mostly not free. Rail Plan­ner Live at £3.50 is the best around, though the same in­for­ma­tion can be had for noth­ing on the Na­tional Rail web­site.

Sev­eral apps can now check for traf­fic on your car jour­ney, and if you have an An­droid de­vice, the best of th­ese – Google Maps – comes as stan­dard. Be sure to click the “lay­ers” icon to turn on the traf­fic dis­play, which high­lights roads green, or­ange or red de­pend­ing on the length of any de­lay.

Both Google Maps and Ap­ple’s new and much-ridiculed map­ping sys­tem pro­vide turn-by-turn di­rec­tions, as does the free Waze app, which gen­er­ates in­for­ma­tion on de­lays, in­ci­dents and even tem­po­rary speed traps, from other users. Waze is avail­able for Win­dows Mo­bile and Black­berry sys­tems as well as Ap­ple and An­droid.

Fix­ing your travel ar­range­ments, es­pe­cially at this time of year, is only half the bat­tle; find­ing them again is of­ten the dif­fi­cult part, and that’s where an app called Tripit comes in. The idea is that you for­ward it your ho­tel, flight, car hire and restau­rant reser­va­tions and it or­gan­ises them all in the same place – which you can ac­cess wher­ever you are, so long as there’s an in­ter­net con­nec­tion. It’s free if you don’t mind ad­verts; £2.54 if you do.

Tripit can’t do much if your jour­ney is de­layed – but it may at least be some com­fort to know where you were sup­posed to have been come New Year’s Eve.

GET MOV­ING: The Tripit app keeps all your travel de­tails safely in one place.

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