Call me old fashioned but as a girl who grew up with a love of atlases I still love exploring a new location with nothing but a paper map and my wits, but even I will admit that technology makes traveling easier. There are some great apps that can help you plan your trip or come to your rescue while you’re there. Here are a few of my favorites.
Duolingo: If you are planning on traveling abroad this is a great way to learn a foreign language. I went to Montreal last fall and this was a great way to brush up on my high school French. The lessons are quick so if you only have five or ten minutes a day to practice you won’t feel overwhelmed. The app will also review previous lessons with you as you go to help with retention. (available on iOS and Android)
Guides by Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet is my go to for travel guides on cities and counties. In addition to my love of maps I also still buy physical travel books when I’m prepping for a trip to somewhere I’m visiting for the first time. Lugging a guide around while you’re on the go during your travels isn’t convenient and it certainly isn’t discreet if you’re trying not to fly your tourist flag. This app is the perfect supplement when you’re on the go to look up things to do, places to eat, etc. It also includes tools like a currency converter and phrase books. (available on iOS and Android)
Hopper: There are numerous apps for finding flight deals but I love how simple Hopper is. You can search a by destination and the calendar feature is color-coded to make it easy to see when you can get the best deal. If you’re flexible with your dates you can score some true deals. (available on iOS and Android)
Do you have any favorite travel apps? Please mention them in the comments.
I mentioned that I went to Montreal about a month ago. One of my favorite things to do when exploring a new city is to try some of the local eats. I love seafood so I had fun sampling oysters with my friend Elissa at several different restaurants. They all happen to be in the Plateau-Royal neighbourhood. If you’re ever in Montreal here are three restaurants I’d recommend if you have a hankering for shellfish.
Majestique : Whenever I travel somewhere for the first time I always ask friends and family who’ve been there before where they would recommend to eat. My friend Elissa does the same. This wine bar was recommended to both of us. While in town it was also recommended by every local we asked. So we knew we had to try it. On Friday night of our trip is was packed, but on Saturday we lucked out and sat with no wait. They don’t take reservations so you have to try your luck. The oyster menu changes based on what’s fresh and in season. The menu mostly consists of small plates and they have an impressive wine list to accompany your selection.
Le Filet: This seafood restaurant wins the prize for unique oysters. The half dozen appetizer was served with three oysters in a jalapeno vinegar and three with a maple glaze that was more like a brulee. They were out of this world. The rest of their menu is a mix of cold and hot plates, mostly seafood. I enjoyed one of their signature cocktails, a Camila which consists of aperol, citron, egg white, and vodka.
Maestro SVP: Elissa and I wandered into this Oyster bar for a nightcap. We ended up getting to sample some oysters when the bartenders asked us to join them in some oyster shots. Elissa had a coriander lime oyster shot while I tried the jalapeno vodka and horseradish oyster. While we didn’t have dinner the menu has dozens of oysters to choose from so we’ll definitely return there on our next trip.
Last week I mentioned how showing my gratitude to others has impacted me profoundly in recent weeks. The second thing that I recommend if like me you found yourself in a rut is to get out of town.
I love traveling and the past couple of years has been filled with trips that were centered around holidays and life events with various family members. It had been a while since I’d taken a trip purely for pleasure. I was going to take a solo trip to somewhere I had never been and decided to take a long weekend in Montreal. At the last minute I decided to invite my best friend from college and I’m glad I did. We got to reconnect and explore together.
Going someplace new changes your perspective and refreshes your batteries. Whether you go across the world or explore a city two towns over it’s worth making room for a little Wanderlust in your life.