A list of the FREE best travel apps that you should absolutely have in order to take out the hassle in your upcoming trip!
Sourced through Scoop.it from: iamaileen.com
I’ve written many blogs about travel apps and in most cases they are still current. Check out https://solomoconsulting.wordpress.com/?s=travel+app for more. In this quick blog I want to talk about HERE GPS navigation which is one of the featured apps in this story.
I love my old TomTom GO. It’s over 3 years old and I haven’t been able to update the maps due to a problem with my account where you are only allowed one device per computer and I can’t convince my account to replace the 5 year old device with the 3 year old device. So the maps are now getting well out of date although the traffic information still works well in New Zealand.
A month or so ago I had a presentation in my office by a representative of HERE. HERE is the current iteration of Navteq, which Nokia purchased a few years ago to stem the outflow of revenue from their brand as Android and iOS were taking the life-blood from them in the mobile smartphone space.
Nokia subsequently sold them to a conglomeration of German car manufacturers led by Audi, Mercedes and BMW http://gizmodo.com/nokia-has-sold-its-here-maps-to-audi-bmw-and-mercedes-1721699041. No doubt that product will find itself controlled from the dash of those brands of car along with the entertainment systems; and the OEM manufacturers will potentially lose another chunk of revenue, perhaps reducing the cost of travel information and car navigation.
Anyway, I have just been to Australia for a wonderful wedding on the warm New South Wales Coast a 4 hour drive (with no stops) from Sydney Airport. I no longer have the Australian maps on my TomTom, having replaced them with USA maps 3 years ago for a 4-state road trip.
I spoke to my friends at TomTom who sad there was an app available which would allow me to run TomTom navigation for a number of hours a month for free with real time traffic, which is of course a feature I am passionate about. I searched and all I could find for my iPhone was an app that could identify my route and then send it to my nav unit via Bluetooth. If my nav unit had Australian maps on it, I wouldn’t need to do that.
So enter HERE. I was able to download the app for free. It took quite a while to download the 680-odd MB of map data for the whole country, but once I had them, I was able to navigate throughout the country for free. When I got to the airport I got a 3GB, virtually unlimited voice and TXT to 10 countries SIM Card for $40 and used that to enable me to get real time traffic, which obviously needs mobile connectivity.
How was it to use? I prefer the 6″ screen of my TomTom unit to the smaller iPhone 5S, but from a navigation perspective it didn’t miss a beat. It was great.
The HERE traffic information was a little disappointing because it only seemed to have information for Sydney and I took the quickest toll route out of there. As soon as I was on the Pacific Highway I didn’t see any traffic info on my HERE app until I got into the outskirts of Sydney again on the way home 5 days later. It didn’t tell me about any of the major roadworks including flag marshaled stop/starts and some very heavy traffic around North Sydney and Newcastle.
So value for money? Great from the perspective of the maps and that it was an easy free download. Other than one TomTom user, pretty much all the people I spoke to at the wedding breakfast were using HERE. Most of them live outside of the big cities and whilst traffic therefore isn’t a big deal day to day, it is on a 6-8 hour drive which many of them took to get there.
Personally it is all about the unexpected. I want to know about crashes and events that might interrupt my journey, so was disappointed with their lack of traffic information. I wasn’t able to test TomTom on the trip, but from a straight navigation perspective HERE passed with flying colors.