Kate Russell’s Tech Traveller
Technology reporter Kate Russell is a pro at finding the best websites and apps to recommend to viewers of BBC Click (and us!). Check out her site Mywebdaily.com or tweet her @katerussell
If you plan to brave the crowds for this summer’s Olympic Games, arm yourself with the latest techie wonders.
Your first point of call should be the official Games website, www.london2012.com — ensure you bookmark this for all the latest news and announcements.
For disabled and older people, as well as those travelling with young kids and buggies, www.inclusivelondon.com lists venues, services and businesses with special-needs facilities. Categories include hotels, bars, healthcare, banks and stadiums, plus there’s a free iPhone app for personalised accessibility information based on your location.
Getting around the capital can be tricky — even if you’re a dab hand at navigating London’s public transport system. Keep www.getaheadofthegames.com handy for news, updates and advice about roads and the inevitable public transport delays around the Olympic venues. If you fancy a spot of leg-powered transport, try out the famous Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme. There are a couple of free apps you should download: London Cycle for iPhone; and Cycle Hire Widget Lite for Android. Both use official live data to reveal the closest docking stations, as well as showing maps and cycle-safe route guides to help you on your way.
Online traveller: Sleeper hits
Bedding down on a trip needn’t mean forking out for predictable chain hotels or fancy five-star properties. This trio of sites is for those looking for something a little different...
Fancy staying in a Catalonian treehouse, or an artist’s apartment in Berlin? If not, maybe a retro-futuristic pod deep in the Wisconsin woods appeals? Or a vintage eco-retreat on the Isle of Skye? This site showcases myriad funky, quirky (and normal) places across the world where you can rest your weary head. The only problem is you can’t book via the site, although it provides information and price guides, plus links.
Glamping is becoming ever more popular and this easy-to-use site rounds up a collection of idiosyncratic bolt-holes available to rent in Britain, Spain and France. From traditional Gypsy caravans to a family yurt overlooking the Spanish hills, it’s a great alternative to camping if you don’t like the idea of getting completely back to basics or carrying all your kit with you.
At the other end of the camping scale, how about pitching your tent in a stranger’s garden? This website is building a global community of people who want you to stay in their garden — for a very reasonable fee, and sometimes for free. Search by location and facilities offered — including toilets, hot water and power points. If you fancy playing host, you can, of course, sign up to advertise your own garden.
www.360cities.net Watch the world unfold through interactive, high-quality, 360-degree panoramas. Select the London shot and use the ‘Show Landmarks’ function to zoom around the capital, zeroing in on icons like the Eye and the Gherkin. Or stand beside Buddhist monks in a Thai temple, all from the comfort of your armchair.
Four of the best London apps
Helps you choose pubs, clubs, restaurants and services in the capital on the basis of reviews from its two million users. The site claims to receive around 22 million visits a month. All formats. Free. www.qype.co.uk
This London Evening Standard gem tells you all you need to know for a night out, with categories such as film, theatre and events, plus a booking function and reviews. iPhone, Android. Free. http://itunes.apple.com
In search of East London delicacy, jellied eels? Thought not. So download this app to find the type of food you’re after. Includes location-aware offers, a booking form and discount codes. iPhone. Free. www.toptable.com
From the people behind the Hackney Podcast, this app lets you get under the skin of one of the key Olympic host boroughs. Includes audio stories, poetry and music from locals. iPhone. Free. www.hackneyhear.com
Published in the Jul/Aug 2012 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)
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