Mobile phone taking a picture of China Town

Top Tech Travel Tips to Get You Excited for South Africa

Idyllic shores, lush vineyards and lively portside towns are all the rage these days, and when the festive fervour and the allure of mountainscapes and valleys beckon, there are few places as breathtaking as South Africa.

Diversity is the key defining factor in what makes the country so spectacular in culture and in landscape, truly setting the stage for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for travellers seeking the unique and the mesmerizing.

Yet the journey to the land of fynbos and fine wine doesn’t start when you set foot at the arrivals terminal in Johannesburg or Cape Town, but right at home with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

READ ALSO: 10 Best Experiences to Have in South Africa

Apps, Apps, Apps

It’s a tech phenomenon that has revolutionized the way we use a whole new generation of gadgets, and there’s a good reason for that.

Apps cover pretty much anything and everything.

For people who don’t require the processor power and complex programming features of a conventional laptop or desktop, a mid-range tablet will do all the work needed from checking social media to writing up emails, managing accounts, streaming media and more.

Travel is no exception, and the market has opened up to several corporate and independent developers who offer a great selection of travel-oriented apps for free as well as some which require subscriptions.

READ ALSO: My Favorite Travel Discovery of 2017:

There are multiple apps to choose from for things as varied as:

  • Travel bookings, including flight searches and accommodation. SkyScanner and LateRooms are just a few of the most popular choices.
  • Coupons and vouchers. These apps let travellers access everything from reduced room rates to free admission as well as deals on dining and other advantages.

A close up of mobile apps on a telephone

  • User-based guides. These are now arguably more popular than conventional apps – TripAdvisor is one example where savvy travelers can get some insight into their destination of choice, including places to stay, things to do, and where to eat.
  • Guides and Places of interest: these are extremely handy. Often found with major travel companies such as Frommer’s or the local tourism board
  • Weather and events are always useful.
  • Maps and GPS are also a vital addition to any personal app collection while travelling, as well as a compass and signal booster. Now many apps offer offline capabilities not only to prevent roaming charges but to make information accessible even while there is no signal.
  • Language apps like Duolingo are perfect for brushing up on language skills as well as learning essential phrases from scratch

A woman on an iPhone

As one of the fastest growing markets in the tech world, it’s worth reading input before downloading every app in the store and checking whether or not an app is regularly updated, easy to use, takes up space, is stable, doesn’t drain the battery, etc.

READ ALSO: How to Be a Blogger on the Road: Tips for Beginners

Advice and Tips

The internet is full of advice – but how much of it is relevant or accurate is another matter.

It’s possible to find out useful information about history by using Wikipedia as a place to start and moving from there.

Forums can also provide handy advice but once again, they are based on individual’s experiences and cannot speak for everyone, merely present a particular perspective of the place they have visited.

Many individuals also find forums useful for finding accommodation with fellow travelers who couch surf, as well as what are some of the lesser-known, but must-see attractions in the area.

People jumping on a beach at sunset in Cape Town

Official government websites are essential, because these offer basic info which people need to know before travelling.

Now that travel agencies are not as commonly used as they used to be, people who plan their trips online have to do their own research for the valuable details which would normally be provided by an experienced travel agent.

Official websites will tell travellers about any travel advisories, what they can and can’t bring into the country, what documentation they will need to enter, how long they can stay, what vaccinations they may need, etc.

Health and safety is often overlooked by over-eager tourists, and it’s important to be able to have the right coverage before venturing abroad in the case of an incident.

Travelers can easily shop around for this information as well, and get in touch with their local doctor who can advise them on any other tips before departure.

Games are also a great way to get kids involved if they are coming along for the journey.

They can discover culture, history, or wilderness-oriented apps and gain a valuable educational background on a fun level as well as spend some family time getting ready for the big adventure.

Now that the world is an open book thanks to the internet and mobile technology, it truly is an oyster that anyone can explore.

This post was written by Sally Fallon.

Photo Credit: Mr.TinDC; Jason Howie; flowcomm