One can spend hours and hours hunting for information and now that I am retired and LOVE researching, I have some very helpful websites and apps for 2015 that can make your travels not only easier and more comfortable, but also cheaper. These sites and apps are not limited to France. In fact, most of them are useful for travelling anywhere in the world.
Michelin Route Planner
Yes, this web site is by the tire people. Sure, Google Maps is good, but the Michelin Route Planner not only tells you the route to take and the distance you will travel, but it will also estimate the COST of the travel—-tolls and gas! I found this to be invaluable when trying to determine if I should drive from France to Italy, or take the train. As an example: travelling from Avignon, France to Nice, France
- by car: 249 km, 3 hours– cost about $75 in gas and tolls
- by train: 3.5 hours–cost about $34
Glad I did the research.
I really like this web site because it summarizes the best credit cards to get (in Canada) particularly if you are a traveler. I often look for sign-up bonuses of Aeroplan points or first year fee waived to take advantage of the benefits (ie. free lounge access, etc). The website also looks at offers by airlines and hotels so it is helpful if you are a frequent flyer.
This web site is more than just about flying. It covers frequent flyer programs and credit card programs. I love reading the posts in the forum for traveller’s views on taking advantage of frequent flyer programs. It is this website where I learned about how to save money on taxes/fuel surcharges when booking an Aeroplan reward flight.
The Skytrax web site is great for determining what airlines to use and avoid. When planning my next trip, I learned from this website that Turkish Airlines was a very good airline, so I was more open to stopping over in Istanbul. Actually, the lounge in the Turkish airport is one of the BEST in the world. It has a pool table and other unique amenities in the lounge. Flyer’s reviews are chock full of information about each airline’s lounges and seats and service in economy and business.
Everyone seems to travel with a smartphone or tablet and having the right apps can make travelling in France so much easier. The following are apps which I have found to be indispensible. These are for iOS devices:
Great app to organize all your trip details (flight, hotel, car rentals, etc). When you email your trip confirmations to a personalized email address (after registering), Tripit creates daily itineraries. You can also access your itinerary through your laptop and tablet and can email your itinerary to family/friends.
One of my favourite apps! No internet connection needed to read articles, see webpages or watch videos on your iPhone or iPad once you have save them. Great for when you are on a plane with no Wifi.
Your personal magazine that compiles articles and news based on your interests and preferences.
Around Me (Free)
LOVE this app because it can find restaurants, banks, coffee shops, hospitals, hotels, parking, movie theatres, etc near by.
Indicates the free (and paid) lounges at major airports and has reviews of some lounges by flyers.
Xe Currency (Free)
Choose any number of currency rates live
Larousse English/French Dictionary ($4.99)
While there are free English/French dictionaries and many are good, I like this one because it not only makes looking up a word very easy, but it also provides the pronunciation.
Paris Pastry ($3.99)
370 of the best pastry, chocolate, ice cream and candy shops in Paris, hand-picked by pastry chef and author, David Lebovitz
Great social networking app that can provide you with excellent resources about France
France 24 (Free)
English version of the television news channel in France. Brings you the latest news with video clips
Turns your iPhone into a real flashlight
Just like the website, enabling you to search not only hotels, but also attractions and forums
Can give the status of flights and airport conditions
Metric to US Imperial (Free)
Great for converting to/from metric distance, temperature, volume and weight
Google Maps (Free)
Great for finding where you are and getting directions
You can text and make calls over wifi for free. Your phone number is your ID and the app syncs with your mobile contact list automatically detecting who also has Viber.
Make video calls over wifi for free.
WeatherEye or the Weather Network (Free)
There are many weather apps most of them are great because they show not only the daily forecast, but also the hourly and weekly forecasts
I love using Evernote to hold all of my recipes, so that when I travel, I can just look up a recipe. Evernote is a cloud storage and you can save notes, photos, PDFs in the cloud. It’s a simple as emailing the note to a special email address that is assigned to you. Then, that note appears in your Evernote app and website. It syncs to all of your devices. You can tag your notes too. I have organized my recipes by type (appetizers, main courses, etc). The best part? It’s free and every month you get another 60MB of storage . The premium package allows you to access your notes offline.
City Maps 2Go (Free)
What’s great about this app is that you can check the city map for various cities offline. It’s available for the iPhone and iPad