We all deserve a holiday at some point. However, for front line healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and all their colleagues in the NHS, professionally (and probably personally) it has been a tough and unprecedented time since the first lockdown started in March 2020.

Not just dealing with a pandemic that for many was and still is, a once in a lifetime event, but having to learn rapidly about a new disease and support a national vaccination programme whilst trying to maintain a semblance of a normal service.

Juggling all these stressful demands means (just like the public) that we healthcare professionals are very keen for a holiday and when circumstances permit, a trip abroad is likely to be high on the agenda.

Internet based technologies are likely to help book the holiday and make it a less stressful and money saving process (my two favourites are Trivago and Sky Scanner). However, websites and apps are also available to make the actual trip itself more fun and relaxing, as well as maximising rest and recharging your resilience. So, what apps and websites can help make your holiday more relaxing and enjoyable?

Getting the internet abroad

Do bear in mind that it is likely that you are using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet so do check your roaming charges and find out the cheapest way to manage this. In the past, when I have had to consider expensive roaming charges (though check some countries may offer free roaming as a part of your SIM subscription) I bought a Mi-Fi device and then bought a local SIM card with plenty of data and used it as a hotspot and run multiple devices from this mobile hot spot.

Also, make sure you have the correct charging equipment for a foreign electrical supply. It is likely you will need a portable and lightweight powerbank, just in case you run out of juice for your devices on a trip, away from accessible recharging points.

Equally if you are using public Wi-Fi make sure it is secure and check if any cost is associated with its use.

Getting around

Being in a foreign location, especially if you have never been there before, then you need to find your way around. A popular and dependable choice is the excellent Google Maps, which is not only a free and fully functional electronic atlas but has other superb built-in services.

These include search facilities, route functions (by foot, car, or sometimes public transport) or reviews of institutions such as museums or restaurants. In many cities around the world, Google Maps incorporates public transport times and different travel choices within the selected route. I have found this facility reliable, accurate and trustworthy and for me this has become an invaluable service which I would to struggle to be without.

The Citymapper website and App is a credible alternative for large urban areas and many cities are covered.

Once you are in your foreign location, like all tourists we want to visit the best sites, see interesting aspects of your destination and enjoy local culture. There are numerous ways to easily obtain this information and one well known service is Trip Advisor.

Don’t forget travel guides that are still available as print or electronic versions. I subscribe to Amazon’s excellent Kindle Unlimited service where it is possible to borrow by downloading eBooks from well-known collections of travel guides to my mobile device such as a smartphone. This is free of charge via my monthly subscription, and I return these eBooks when I am finished (up to a maximum of 10 at a time can be borrowed). Don’t forget many tourist locations have superb websites that are full of useful information for tourists.

Other useful apps while abroad

There are other very useful apps that I have used abroad. I use world clock app that gives me the time in many world cities and locations. I often use TimeZlider, where it can give the time where you are and the time at the place where you are interested in. It is simple, effective and your local time is side by side of the target city time you are interested in.

Although most readers of this column speak English, we are lucky that English is commonly spoken abroad. However, Google and Microsoft have each got an excellent translation app that is surprisingly accurate and can process voice instructions and text. Over the years, these apps have become incredibly sophisticated and offer numerous good services and they are free to use but may incur a data charge. To get round that some language files can be downloaded for offline use.

If you are going to a popular area or large city, try to find the local tourist information bureau. A simple online search can locate them and it is worth looking at their website or visiting in person, if that is possible. As well providing traditional printed literature, they can suggest local as well as popular apps that you may not be aware of.

Finally, if you like walking tours check out Free Tour and although many of them are indeed free, they are tip based.

There are a plethora of fantastic apps and websites that can help enhance your foreign travel experience. However, don’t spend too long looking at your phone, tablet or computer. Once you have done your research, keep your online checking to the minimum and enjoy viewing the wonderful world we live in.