Finding The Local Hot Spots While Traveling

Visiting a new place or country can be a daunting task. Transportation, finding a place to stay, exploring customs and culture, dealing with exchange rates, haggling in a different language, and just trying to find a tasty place to eat. Fortunately there are a few websites and APPs out there to help us navigate through all this, with feedback from fellow travelers like you and I that can post reviews and experiences about restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Some like to plan ahead and search for possible options for their next destination. If you are like me when traveling aboard you can make things interesting by stepping out of your hotel with only your wallet and smartphone with GPS active to map out your journey. From there you can go spot to spot where WiFi is active if you don’t have an international cellular plan. Flip on your GPS and check out these APPs when in the states or aboard.


TripAdvisorTripAdvisor  seems to cover any kind of destination near or far. It includes the standard search methods by keywords or sorted by categories, with the ability to create an account and save your favorites. Your search results can be based on nearby GPS coordinates, or by manually typing in a geographical location. You can read through customer reviews and view the user uploaded photos, or Search through the TripAdvisor forum for posts on more specific subjects about traveling. In the Travel Tools menu there are some helpful guides for cities, airport maps, and flight information.



Yelp  contains the standard search methods similar to TripAdvisor, with an additional “Monocle” search. Through augmented reality you can turn 360 degrees looking at your phone screen to see locations around you in close proximity and click on any of interest. By signing up for an account you can then bookmark favorite locations,  or post reviews and pictures about them. Social aspects include checking-in at locations, creating a friend list, and the Talk forum.


urbanspoonUrbanspoon  not only has user reviews, but also feedback from blogs and critics which mixes it up a bit. You have the option to search for locations or browse through a list of popular spots. The “Shake” feature leaves your next destination up to chance by randomly selecting destinations, however it does give you the flexibility to lock in a neighborhood, cuisine, or price range. Creating an account allows you to save favorites, check In, or write reviews and upload photos.



FourSquareFoursquare  lets you search through restaurants, entertainment and outdoor activities with a clean, straight forward interface. Standard features include checking into locations, A Friends List, and keeping track of your favorites with the To-Do List.  Browse through reviews, photos, tips, and if you check-in to a location enough times you become the “mayor” of that spot. Foursquare might not have all the extra features like the other APPs but nonetheless  gets straight to the point and has good information to browse through.


These are the APPs I refer to when I want to try something new at home, or if I’m traveling in an unfamiliar place. In addition to the reviews, tips and photos, some of these APPs let you reserve seats or place orders online for convenience. For restaurants, photos of the food and menus help you decide if the place fits your tastes. Also included are hours of operation, business phone #, forms of payment accepted and other helpful information. If you are lost let the APP open up your navigation software, e.g., Google Maps, and use your GPS to find exactly where you are trying to go. I have personally found the best success aboard with TripAdvisor and Foursquare. Whichever APP you use you are bound to find quality spots you and your group will enjoy making your occasion one to remember. In the comments section please share the APPs you use and where you have had the most success with them!


One Comment:

  1. you can call and text people from your computer…..WHO EVEN NEEDS A CELLPHONE!? SHAUN CAN KEEP MINE!

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