Category Archives: Travel

Planning for your flights

With online check -in and charges for better seats, it’s hard to just roll up to check-in and ask for help.

Well, there are places to go. is a great site where you can enter your flight details and the website displays a seat map together with advice on good or bad seats. I use it a lot to get the best value.

If you use Google Chrome or Edge, there is an extension called ‘legrooms for google flights’ which compares airlines when you search for flights in Google Flights. It marks the most generous in green and the worst in red.

So stretch out!

Not all SatNav is helpful

Satnav like Google Maps is great in the car. Many of us will be getting out and about as the weather improves.

Pick a good service (see earlier entries in my blog) rather than relying on Google Maps on your phone. One hiker got lost in the Lake District and it took nine rescue teams, five dogs and a drone twenty hours to find him. The search team said that Google Maps has no detail on a phone handset (even with Satellite or Terrain layers on).

I do like which lets me search already planned routes and create my own that I can then share.

Browsing routes has a lot of filters like min and max distance, terrain and more importantly max ascent!

Creating a route is even easier. Select from walking, running or bike. Then zoom the world map into where you want to create the route and just click points along the route where you want to go on your route (Churches, villages, pubs). Just like a satnav, Plotaroute then sorts out the roads or trails to take, the distance, the climb or descent overall and an estimate of how long it will take. If you don’t like that, there are a myriad of options to tailor it for you.

It is also recommended to take a map and compass, making sure you know how to use them. A great source of Ordnance Survey maps for the UK is Footpath Maps. Easy to navigate around using places or postcodes, with zoom levels from the whole country down to seeing individual houses. At zoom levels 7 & 8 you can also see bridleways, footpaths and other items.

If you do want to use your phone, remember that a dead phone could mean a dead you, so take a powerbank!

Driving in my car

More and more we hear of the dangers of using a hand-held phone in the car. Some modern cars have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto that connect your phone to the car’s systems. These let you use the system on the car display screen or by voice.

But what if you don’t have either of these? There are some great apps out there that can help.

Smart Dash Cam uses your phone camera to record a continuos loop. It detects a collision and saves the recording.

Drive Mode Dashboard is mainly aimed at two wheels but works for cars as well. It presents a simplified screen with maps, speed, direction and other stats.

If your main need is navigation, then Google Maps is very good but have a look at Here WeGo on the app stores. It warns you of speeding and also provides offline navigation for when you are abroad.

Use your phone to stay safe

With all the concerns about women being safe whilst out, I’d like to mention HollieGuard, named after Hollie Gizzard who was murdered one night.

Hollieguard is an app for Android and iPhone that uses the features of your phone to help people out and about.

Capabilities in brief include monitoring your progress along a route, sending emergency messages and location to preset numbers, as well as transmitting audio and video.

User reviews vary widely in their opinions but the app developers do respond.

Do have a look

Sharing your ETA

Unusually, this is for iPhone users only.

If you are driving to an appointment and want to let the others know when you will get there, it’s time wasting to stop the car and engine in order to send a text. However, you can automate this with Apple Maps (but not other mapping services).

Plan a route and select car as your method of transport. Start the directions and swipe up from the bottom of the screen to tap ‘Share ETA’. Now select the contacts to share your arrival time with.

Those contacts who are using Apple Maps will see updates. Others will get text messages.

You can also set places you go to frequently as favourites. When you start moving thatw ay, they will get updates.

Record your walking routes

A while ago, I mentioned Footpath Maps as a great web site to download detailed maps for walking and rambling.

I’ve now come across Map My Walk for android and iOS. It records your walking routes on a map, lets you save them and share them with other users. In the same way you can see suggested routes from others. It’s supposed to be for fitness and training and is currently very US-oriented, but let’s be inventive.

Great with the Spring coming soon.