4 apps you didn’t know could help you explore new destinations

4 apps you didn’t know could help you explore new destinations thumbnail

Your smartphone has a GPS chip that tracks where you are at all time. This is a little scary from a privacy standpoint ,, but it’s very useful if you need to find the best pizza places within a 1-mile radius.

When you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, you will most likely load an app like Google Maps and Apple Maps . These apps can help you see what’s nearby. But those are not your only options.

You can tap into social media to see what your friends are posting about you, and what the locals have to say about you. You only need the right app and the knowledge of what to search for.

Twitter

If you’re a veteran Twitter user, you’ll know that the platform covers everything: breaking news, humorous thoughts, photos of local landmarks, and photos of nearby landmarks. You can tap into all of this and more by using the app (available for Android and iOS) to filter tweets and only see what people have posted close to your location. Although you will be relying on users geotagging tweets, which not everyone does, you should still find plenty to help you find your next stop in busy areas.

[Related: Transform your Twitter timeline with these 11 features and add-ons]

Open the app and tap the magnifying glasses icon at the bottom. Next, enter your query into the box at top. If you are looking for a place to eat, you can type “burgers” or “view” to search for a local beauty spot.

On the results page tap the filters button at the top right corner (it looks almost like two sliders) and then select Near under Location heading. Tap on Apply and your results will only show tweets sent close to where you are.

Wikipedia

While the idea of spending your vacation scrolling through Wikipedia might not be appealing to you, the people-powered encyclopedia can be a great resource for finding areas of interest in the area you are in.

Wikipedia has a special page dedicated to articles written about places near your location–just load up the URL https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Nearby in your mobile browser to see the results.

We were able to find information about local museums, sculptures and specific areas of the city. Also, we found venues and historical events. It can help you find nearby points of interest, or even ones that aren’t on your radar.

Snapchat

Snapchat is responsible to the stories format you’ll find everywhere, from Instagram to LinkedIn. When people make these stories public and tag them with a location, you can view them all in the Snapchat app for Android or iOS.

The app opens into the camera view by default. However, you can access the map by tapping on the location pin icon at the lower-left corner. You can take a look at the current area and check for public stories. The hotspots are colored red and dark red, which indicate the most popular locations for snaps.

Tap any hotspot to view what other people are posting. If you like a snap, swipe up to view more information, including the username who uploaded it, the Snapchat lens used (if applicable), and anyone tagged in it. It’s a great way to see what’s happening around you at any given moment, regardless of whether you’re near a landmark or in the middle a public event.

Instagram

Like Snapchat, you can use Instagram (available for Android and iOS) to look for public posts close to where you are. Tap the magnifying glasses at the bottom of the navigation bar, then enter your current location in search bar at top.

You’ll see a selection of results on screen, but if you tap the Places filter, Instagram will show you locations that match your search rather than anything in the captions or comments. You can search for specific locations as well as towns or cities. Once you’ve found what you want, you can choose the right place from the list to start exploring.

Tap Top to see popular posts and Recent to see newer ones, and you’ll soon find out which are the most Instagrammable spots close to you.

Spotted by Locals

We’ve tried to avoid traditional mapping and travel apps on this list, but Spotted by Locals (available for Android and iOS) is definitely worth a mention. It taps into local knowledge to uncover places of interest that tourists might not otherwise find.

[Related: Smart tips for travelers looking for a sustainable getaway]

You won’t find much if you travel far from home, but the app works well in major cities where the most people are active and have the most contributions.

Open the app to see a selection of destinations. Tap on one or use the search box at top to find your current location. Each guide costs $4. However, you can preview what you get before you buy. This includes guides to restaurants, shops and special views.

David Nield

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