Spring still does not want to enter into its legal rights, but despite this, the holiday mood can be created in another way – to go on a trip, since now is the time for this. And if you prefer a beach vacation that will allow you to learn a lot of new things and visit historical sites, the services of a guide will come in handy, which are often very expensive.
And if earlier, before the explosive development of digital technologies, we had to choose between studying reference books or buying guide services, today we have the opportunity to significantly save both time and money.
Today I want to tell you about one application that really helped me out on a recent vacation trip. When planning an independent trip to Italy, I certainly prepared for it, studying historical places, trying to remember as much as possible about those places that were to be seen. Where possible, entrance tickets were booked in advance, including an audio guide in Russian, or at least in English. After careful preparation, I got the deceptive feeling that I was ready for anything.
But, life, as always, makes its own adjustments. The first disappointment happened when visiting the very first museum, because of the Italians' disregard for the rules and for what was promised and stated in the public offer – there were no audio guides. At all. It was not so interesting to go and just look at the walls and stones, so it was decided to look for an alternative solution right on the spot – it was necessary to download the audio guide to the phone. The first attempt failed – just a bunch of dubious quality audio files from an independent traveler. But the second option turned out to be what was needed. This second option was the izi.TRAVEL application. After a few minutes of digging through the menu, it became clear that this is what you need.
To begin with, after installing the application, I highly recommend giving it access to the location of the device – one of the most convenient functions is based on this – movement along the map.
After that, you can search for the necessary city in which you are planning a trip, or even the sights that you plan to explore.
The search results will show different routes from different authors, both paid and free.
I most often used the routes from the publishing house 'Vokrug Sveta'. Firstly, they are in Russian, and secondly, they are recorded by professional announcers and storytellers, with pleasant voices, with expression and emotional accents.
Once the required route is found, you have two options:
- Click on 'start' and the route will be loaded as you progress.
- Download the route in advance, and then it will work even without an Internet connection.
Both options work equally well. If you decide not to download the route in advance, make sure that there will be mobile internet or WiFi access wherever you go.
After you start the route, you will see a map with a paved route, marked objects about which the story will be conducted, and your location on the map. The map can be scaled and objects can be selected in any order. But the main beauty of this application is that after starting the route, it works automatically even in the background.
This means that as soon as you get close to the next object marked on the map, the story starts automatically based on your location. The announcer will guide you in a pleasant voice regarding the signs nearby, and begin his story about the place or object next to which you are. After the information is announced, you do not have to rush anywhere and run, as is the case with group excursions. The story about the next object will begin only when you get close to it.
It is better to visit checkpoints according to the route, since the text contains semantic links, but no one forbids visiting them in any order. The stories are recorded in such a way that no confusion arises.
There is also a competitive moment in the application – you are awarded points for visiting an object. Additional points are awarded for completing the entire route. You can share your result in social networks.
In addition to the sound file, the description of the control points is duplicated in the form of text, and contains a photograph of the object about which the story is going. This allows you to avoid mistakes by making sure you are looking at the right object.
At any time you can click on any point on the route and listen or read the information without waiting for you to reach it. The current object, about which the story is going, is marked on the map with a red marker.
If you manually moved the route on the map, and lost yourself on the map, click on the positioning button in the lower right corner, and the program will show you on the map. By the way, an important point is that the program works on the basis of Google maps, therefore, if you do not expect the Internet on your trip, I recommend downloading the offline area in advance in the Google Maps settings to make it more convenient.
If you needed to show the route in full, it is not necessary to swipe on the map by squeezing it manually, there is another button for this:
The passed objects are painted in dark blue. This happens only if you have followed the route and listened to the information about the object in full.
If you listen to the information without walking along the route, objects will not be painted over.
The volume and pace of the narration is designed for a leisurely walk.
If you didn't have a headset with you, the program allows you to switch to the earpiece of the phone, and listen to information simply by holding the phone to your ear as during a normal conversation, while the screen will automatically turn off, since in this mode the proximity sensor is activated – conveniently. To enable this mode, tap on the three dots in the upper right corner, and in the menu that opens, select 'turn on the phone speaker'.
In addition to routes, the app has another cool mode – walk mode.
Click the icon of a walking person at the bottom of the start window, agree to the terms, and just walk freely around the city.
If during the walk there is a point of interest nearby, the narration will automatically begin. Walking mode is my favorite mode. You walk, enjoy the surrounding views, and at the same time you learn a lot about the places around you.
In addition to free content, the program also includes paid routes. Often their cost does not exceed 2 euros, which is still an order of magnitude cheaper than the services of a live guide or tour guide, as well as cheaper than renting an audio guide from cashiers. Payment is made from your Play Market account.
In addition, it is not always possible to get this very audio guide even for money. Therefore, it seems to me the cost of the route is quite justified.
On this trip, in conjunction with the application, I used my 'true wireless' headset Apollo S7, which turned out to be very useful because of its design – I gave one headphone to my wife, and through the other I listened to the audio guide myself. Thus, it was possible to listen to the same information synchronously. In addition to synchronicity, such a scheme allowed to save phone battery power due to the distribution of tasks – one phone served as a guide, the other as a camera.
In general, the app turned out to be a lifesaver that helped save both time and money (no need to pay for a guide and spend days studying guidebooks).
I can safely recommend it to everyone who is going on vacation. By the way, the application can be useful not only on trips, but also at home, as it can tell a lot about your city and its attractions.
P.S. The holiday mood is gradually letting go of me, which means that soon we will again disassemble, invent, and tinker.