Leather handicraft straight from the workshop on four wheels
Wandering through Iberian lands
16/05/2021 4:02 PM
Today I wanted to introduce you to a few applications that turned out to be very useful for me during my last travels. This time I am not travelling with my van, so I will not recommend search engines for cheap campsites or good places to camp in the wild. Today some useful apps for those traveling by plane, car, public transport or on foot. I will try to update the entry on a regular basis, because I will definitely discover a lot of new applications this year - and I am also waiting for your suggestions!
In today's article you will find information on the following topics:
I'll start with renting a car. Unfortunately, I repeatedly had bad experiences when renting a car through normal companies, so I do not recommend this option. However, if you decide to rent a car, I have some advice for you:
- try to avoid brokers - theoretically, many of them offer more attractive prices, but then it turns out that the booking is rejected by the rental company itself, we have to struggle to get a refund and we are still without a car. I know it from my own experience.
- remember that 90% of rental companies will require a credit card from you - not a debit, pre-paid, payment or virtual one. Perhaps you pay online with a different card, the payment is accepted and later, in the office, when picking up the car, when it is time to leave the deposit, it will turn out that you have a debit card, the booking is rejected at the last minute by the rental company and you will most often be treated as no- show, which means no refund
- often, when renting a car, we can buy additional insurance, thanks to which they will often (but not always) not block an additional amount on the card (the so-called franchise / excess), which sometimes reaches up to 1000 EUR. However, read carefully whether the actual purchase of additional insurance will automatically mean that there is no franchise. And if you do not find such information anywhere, call, ask, and preferably contact the company by e-mail, so that you get their response in writing
- the franchise is one thing, and the deposit must be left anyway - remember that the insurance almost never covers the loss of a key, damage to the interior of the vehicle (e.g. burnt upholstery), often tires and windows (you need to purchase an additional option) or mirrors or wipers. If we return the car with less fuel or lose the key - they may not return the deposit to us
I am generally against renting cars in regular way but I know some alternatives
It is an application that allows us to rent a car from a private person. We create a profile, we upload a photo of the driving license, ID and a selfie taken with a webcam in real time. We can rent a car from someone or ours to someone. It operates in France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Great Britain and Norway. We rent a car with full insurance (of course, the exact terms and conditions of insurance are available in the application or on the website). The only downside is that we have 200km included per day, each additional kilometer is charged extra. Everything is done via the application, we check the car, take photos of the damages, if there are any, the car owner enters the odometer value into the contract and then both parties sign it. A deposit is blocked on your card, the amount of which depends on the type of car. For ordinary passenger cars, it is EUR 50, which is returned 5 days after the end of the rental period. We return the car in the same condition and with the same amount of fuel. If we return the vehicle, e.g. dirty or with less fuel, it is possible that part or all of the deposit will be deducted.
This application is very similar to GetAround, but we can use it in Sweden and Spain (where the application is called Amovens but it got purchased by GoMore). They do not block the deposit on the card and the rest looks exactly the same. I really recommend it – quickly, efficiently and often cheaper than in a regular rental company - only the mileage limit can scare you, after exceeding 200 km / day we pay 0.15 EUR for each subsequent one. So if you’re going on a short trip it is definately more economical than any rental company, and above all, more trouble-free. It's not an app - it's just a website.
As mentioned above, Amovens was bought by GoMore. Amovens not only allows us to rent a car from a private person, but also to share the car with other people. Surely most of you are already familiar with the phenomenon of the so-called car pooling or car sharing - we can announce through the application or website that on a given day and at a given time we will go from point A to point B and we have a certain number of vacancies in the car. We choose the price that we propose to potential travel companions and thus save Mother Earth! It is a great alternative to buses and trains, often cheaper and more convenient. For the driver, it is an additional option to reduce travel costs.
He is probably known to everyone. If I am not mistaken, it’s the pioneer in the car pooling category. It works exactly the same as Amovens but in many countries, while Amovens offers its services probably only in Spain. BlaBlaCar charges a higher commission, therefore the same person often makes his route proposal available in both applications and the price in Amovens is lower. BlaBlaCar, however, is much more popular, which is why we usually have more options to choose from on the route that interests us, and for the driver, it is easier to find travel companions there.
A great application for searching for train connections and buses, it finds the cheapest options - often many times cheaper than if we bought tickets directly from the carrier. I recently bought a ticket to Gothenburg for 50 EUR return instead of 90 EUR. Everything works quickly and efficiently, we have the ticket on the phone - we do not have to print it. Fast and secure payment.
I have been using this cheap flight search engine for a long time and so far it's my favorite. Do you have any alternatives? In the age of COVID I don't look for too many air connections, but before that I used SkyScanner sometimes even several times a month and it has never let me down.
In France, I used several times applications that allowed me to order food or make grocery shopping online. I'm not a big fan of eating out on a regular basis, but due to the lockdown and the 6 p.m. curfew, it was sometimes impossible to shop and prepare something at home. I jus know that sometimes ordering a hot meal for delivery can save your life.
This is probably the most popular application, but I will surprise you - I was never able to add my payment card in it, even though I tried many times, so I never had the opportunity to use it and I can not give it a positive opinion. However, I know that because UberEats is one of the most used applications of this type, it offers the greatest variety of places from which we can order a meal and is often the only one available outside large cities. So a big plus for the variety of choice and availability in terms of location.
It operates in over 200 locations - I used it France when UberEats failed me. Nice and clear interface, it's easy to log in, create an account and of course - pay for the order. I like that they also offer supermarket shopping. Unfortunately, Deliveroo doesn't deliver everywhere. Besides, you have to order for a certain amount to enjoy free shipping. We can keep track of the status of our order - I do ecommend it.
This is another brand that deals with food for delivery. It was founded in Germany and now operates in Sweden, Norway and Finland, so if you ever visit Scandinavia, you will definitely not miss the Foodora employees, who, dressed in characteristic, intensely pink uniforms, deliver orders on bicycles.
A little different app than the ones mentioned above. An ideal solution for people who want to save money and have any consumer and ecological awareness. Shops, mainly grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, greengrocers and supermarkets register in the application, and we can buy a "surprise bag" from them every day. We choose our locations and preferences - for example, we can indicate that we are vegan or that we are only interested in bakeries. Then it is displayed on our screen in which stores and for what amount we can buy something today. There is also information what time you should come to pick up your shopping. Most often, these are products that did not sell on a given day, are still suitable for consumption, but will not be suitable for sale tomorrow (for example, chipped fruit or vegetables, bread). A great initiative, we can buy a lot of things for very little, but we never know exactly what we will get. I love the idea itself, because in this way nothing is wasted, and by the way we save money, so two birds with one stone. In short, it's a great app thanks to which you don't waste food!
This is a site that we have used many times for many years, but unfortunately since the pandemic started, Couchsurfing is no longer free. If we want to buy access for a month, we have to pay a fee of EUR 1.99 - if we choose an annual subscription, it is around EUR 12. I hope that the portal will not disappear over time, because I just love it! We can find a place to crash on somoene’s couch overnight (therefore save on accommodation), but also people who can accompany us to discover the area, grab a beer or enjoy an all-night party. We can learn from our hosts: cooking, a new language or playing an instrument (of course, everything in a nutshell and at an express pace, but often contact with another person is enough to instill in us curiosity about a different culture). We also have events on couchsurfing, we often find various types of events organized in the area or proposals for joint trips - not only from locals but also from other travelers. It is a pity that since the site is paid, much less people use it.
WorkAway is one of the portals but also the general name of an "activity". It's about working for someone in return for accommodation and often food. We have not had the opportunity to use it yet, but we’ve had that intention for a long time.
What is it about? There are several pages where we can start a profile and browse through offers. The point is that we can go anywhere in the world and someone will lend us a place to sleep in exchange for a few hours of work a day. Often these are private individuals who need help with physical work, e.g. on large estates, plots of land, farmlands, groves - it is about gardening, taking care of and grooming animals, harvesting fruit, mowing the grass, minor repairs. Sometimes someone looks for help because he is just starting to implement a project and wants someone to help him with the construction. There are hostels looking for people to work at the reception desk, families looking for babysitters or pets, or a language teacher. Those are only few examples and there are so many different possibilities! Usually you would have to work 4-5 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week in exchange for accommodation and some small meals, some even offer salaries. In my opinion, this is a really interesting option that is worth looking at - especially if we do not care about high earnings but about meeting new people, their culture, language and customs. WorkAway is also a good starting solution - we can come, have a start as such, and in the meantime look for something better on the spot.
https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/ - looking after houses
https://petsitter.com/ - taking care of pets
https://www.nomador.com/ - taking care of houses and pets
This is an application that fellow fishermen recommended to us. They use it regularly when going fishing, because it is very effective in warning against rain. Almost in real time, we can track where it is raining at any given moment. A great application for lovers of trekking and long walks.
Maps that we can use offline (but we need to download them first) and are perfect for trekking. We have used them in Europe but also in South America and they are great!