No one wants to look like a fanny pack-wearing, map clutching tourist wandering through a city when they travel. It’s not safe and fellas, your man-bag won't help you 'blend', even if it is crocodile hide. There are apps for that, and here are my picks.
Two weeks ago I made my first visit (no laughing) to San Francisco with my husband. Even amidst the Giants-Mania; it was an awe-inspiring vacation.
We hit up all the touristy spots like Golden Gate, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, etc…, but also made a point to wander through the less-traveled parts of the city, trekking up the hills to Bernal Heights Park and Telegraph Hill to get breathtaking 360 views of SanFran.
One of the ways we combated Tourist-itis was to use our phones to help us navigate the city. Today you can’t go more than two feet without seeing someone with their face buried in their iThing so we were definitely in our natural element.
There are many travel apps out there, but the two that became our digital BFF’s were Google Navigate and Poynt.
Google Navigation is what it sounds like. It combines Google’s ridiculously comprehensive maps, with a step-by-step navigation system. You can use it just like Google maps for walking, public transit or driving directions and it’s free. My favorite feature is speaking an address and having it route you there, which has proved especially helpful when you are in a car by yourself and get a bit lost.
Poynt is an app that uses the GPS on your phone to locate the nearest points for various travel needs. E.g. gas stations, restaurants, movies, events. You can even do a white pages look up if you need to find someone in the area. This app is great because no matter where you are it will quickly find you whatever you are looking for close without unfolding a 20” x 30” map in the middle of the sidewalk. I saw it. It still happens.
It’s well designed with a carousel for navigation so it’s easy to flip through while you are walking. Poynt is available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones. I definitely recommend this for travelers, or even people in their own cities. Take a peek you might find something you didn’t know was there before!
Moral of the story: Use travel apps to help you find your way and blend with the locals. Also – and more importantly - friends don’t let friends wear fanny packs.