If you are like us 2.0 travelers, connected to digital interweb and multimedia, here are some sites and applications that may interest you.
Maps.me: Application of offline maps based on Open Street Maps. Just download the maps of the countries or regions that you want, et zou! No more connectivity needed, the phone’s GPS does the rest. There is everything you need in maps.me, and even more: calculation of routes by bike (with mileage and altitude difference), car, legs (perfect for hikes) and sometimes even by public transport. Search for points of interest (drinking water, eating, sleeping, museum, dog grooming …). Really, that’s it! The maps are participative as Wikipedia, so you can add missing points or modify erroneous information, to the delight of others.
Android app – iPhone App
To prepare long-distance bike rides, the Open Street Map site makes wonders
Couchsurfing : To meet lots of people and sleep on their couch .
Warmshowers : Same as Couchsurfing, but for cyclists! Unlike Couchsurfing you can see where the hosts are on a map, which greatly facilitates the search for us who are transported and very mobile. You can meet lots of nice people, and after spending two weeks pedaling without meeting anyone who speaks English, I assure you you’ll be happy to be able to communicate with some other beings.
Workaway : Website to find jobs of a few hours per week day in exchange for accommodation (mostly homestay, local taste) and sometimes food. It can be jobs in hostels, English classes, gardening … It’s the cousin of Woofing (work on organic farms) and Helpx (all types of work like Workaway, maybe more offers but the site is clearly less welcoming). All these sites ask for an annual subscription, for Workaway we paid 38 € for two people. We had several Workaway experiences, some where the workload was really anecdotal and that looked more like a Couchsurfing, others that were really a real job from which you get kaputt at the end of the day.
Google translation: Translation works offline for major languages, no need of communicating with mimes anymore ! Though it’s less fun, it’s still pretty useful. It also works to instantly translate text via the mobile phone camera. (OK, the translation is sometimes very rough, especially offline)
Duolingo: When you go through half of the former USSR countries, knowing the Cyrillic alphabet and a few words of Russian is very useful. With Duolingo one can learn many languages, only problem is that it does not work very well offline (only a few lessons are downloaded in advance).