World Tourism Day is celebrated every 27 September around the world; it is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on tourism’s actual and potential contribution to sustainable development. This year, the importance of digital technologies in tourism, providing opportunities for innovation and preparing the sector for the future of work, is at the centre of World Tourism Day 2018. Harnessing the digital advances helps tourism improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management, amongst many other objectives.

There was a time when people used to lug around guidebooks on their travels. Times have changed and our mobile phones seem to have an answer to everything. In fact, studies have shown that humans are most happy when they have their smartphones close to them while travelling.

On that note, let’s celebrate the digital technologies in tourism by tapping into the best travel apps for the discerning traveller:

Airbnb

We’ve always heard that the best way to travel is to travel like a local, not as a tourist. And Airbnb helps you do just that. The app not only offers far cheaper rates than hotels, but also a more authentic experience by allowing users to stay with a local, or in their home. The app also offers a feature called Trips, which offers Experiences to choose from during your stay. The app works in most of the countries, giving you an opportunity to literally have a home everywhere.

iTranslate or Google Translate

The premise is simple; these apps essentially translates words, phrases, and sentences from your first language to the language of the country you’re in. It helps travellers speak, learn, and translate languages. The online version of iTranslate is free.

Google Translate too provides translations, which are conversational and make for great ice-breakers in a foreign country. Apart from translating a 100 different languages, one of its best features is that it allows you to take photos of signs or draw characters with your finger on-screen – and converts those images into translated text.

Skyscanner

Skyscanner is basically Expedia on steroids. It couldn’t be more inclusive;  the easy-to-use interface lets you search for discount prices for flights, hotels, and car rentals at a quick-glance rate comparison. There are no hidden fees, you pay what you see. The best bit however is that you don’t even need to have a specific destination in mind;  select “Everywhere” as your destination, and you can browse cheap flights to places all around the world as well as many more best deals.

Snapseed

For those who cannot handle clicking pictures without a DSLR; try using your smartphone just once to click a photo and then edit it on Snapseed. You’ll be surprised at the outcome. The app helps create gorgeous photographs using its various filters or manually playing with the contrast, brightness, saturation, and shadows. It includes some really handy features too like selective adjustment where you can modify a portion of the photo without touching the rest of it.

Google Trips

Just as you touch down, Google Trips simplifies where to go, what to do, what to see, or where to eat – even when you’re offline. You only have to download the city before you embark on your journey. Google Trips pulls reservations from your email (you need to be a Gmail user for this), automatically adding hotel bookings, car rental details, and more to the list. In doing so, it creates an underlying framework for your trip: curated half or full-day trips; popular places to visit or eat at.