Phone Tips, Smartphone, Travel, Uncategorized

Essential Apps for European Travel

With traveling becoming an increasingly accessible experience and with European destination tick lists being in continual growth, it is paramount to be well prepared for your European trip. With so many travel apps easily accessible and available on the market, as the famous saying goes there really is ‘an app for everything’, it is important you download apps aimed at facilitating your visit. With that said we’ve compiled a selection of apps ranging from navigation to accommodation to suitable tourist attractions, creating the conditions for a smooth trip whether traveling for business or leisure (and believe me coming from someone who finds traveling to work difficult, they really are useful!).

EU Rail: What better way to get from A to B than by rail. The railway provides an exciting way to travel across Europe in between exploring destinations. Often cheaper and far more scenic than booking an continental connecting flight, rail travel allows you to unearth some of Europe’s hidden gems , whilst witnessing a wide array of breath-taking views – allowing for sightseeing on-the-go (what more could you ask for!). The benefits of the EU Rail app don’t stop there; the app is designed to find a route that caters for your preferences, with many Bicycle Carriage requirements being a popular selection. EU Rail is also ideal for last minute plans and the spontaneous traveler, with the app showing also showing a range of routes without compulsory reservations- enabling you to hop on board! From Basel to Budapest, London to Lisbon, EU Rail provides the perfect solution for travelers touring the continent!

EU Rail1

BlaBlaCar: Traveling on a budget? Tired of expensive public transport costs? Navigate your way around Europe with the lift sharing, transportation phenomena Bla Bla Car! The Bla Bla Car app, enables focuses on two major types of users; drivers and passengers (simple really, isn’t it!). Drivers traveling around the continent of Europe will detail their departure date and point and the destination they are traveling to- they can even throw in a stopover- meaning passengers can be picked up en route. Passengers are able to search for trips through the app, with a vast range of fares available for less than $20. What’s more, most drivers offering lifts advertise their journeys 2/3 days before departure- helping you tick off new destinations whilst in Europe and making spontaneous travel easy.

Bla Bla Car

Evernote: Excited for your trip to Rome in May? Remember that article you stumbled across in January? You surely can’t remember it! Using the Evernote app enables you to clip text you have found whilst researching a destination and save it for future reference (unbelievably useful when you visit the said destination!). The clipping feature ensures you remember to visit everything you had planned to, creating the pre requisites for a memorable trip. The Evernote app also doubles up as a personal planner ensuring everything is completed before and during your trip, from a packing tick list to flight reminders to cancelling the dentist whilst you’re away.


Culture Trip: Tired of traveling half way across the world only to miss out on vital experiences and attractions due to tight time constraints? (We’ve all been there!) If only we could travel all day every day! Despite yearning for non-stop travel, it is unfortunately impractical and almost impossible! With that said, the Culture Trip app strives to enable you to make the most out of a visit to a certain country or city. By simply categorizing your preferences ranging from art and culture to eateries and places to socialize, a range of suitable venues or activities will be identified. Once you’ve refined your activity preferences you will also find these recommendations are provided with additional information from Local experts (a tour guide from you’re smartphone, who would have thought it!). Culture Trip really is an essential app to identify a wide range of tourist attractions and unmissable sights, whilst avoiding unnecessary time wasting!


Culture trip1

Airbnb: Airbnb provides an alternative to accommodation booking to contacting a hotel. This app enables sourcing accommodation that provides you with more freedom and flexibility, with over 600,000 options available. Opposing the traditional hotel or bed and breakfast facility, Airbnb allows you to house share or rent a house for the duration of your stay. This creates a greater degree when it comes to checking in or out and mealtimes- after all a home cooked meal (whilst traveling!), always beats a hotel set menu! Additionally, house sharing also allows you to interact with other people who are also tourists in your destination!


WiFi Finder: Fed up of searching tirelessly for a hotspot to connect to when traveling in Europe? Downloading the WiFi Finder app before you travel made this problem a whole lot easier. The app comes inclusive with a map highlighting WiFi hotspots, (all of which have been speed tested!) the map is available both online and more importantly offline! The offline map, allows for instant connection upon arrival in your European travel destination and unlike many other WiFi hotspot apps, WiFi Finder focuses predominantly on public hotspots, avoiding outdated private WiFi connections wherever possible! With Europe wide WiFi availability, it would be rude not to download WiFi Finder before you travel!

WiFi Finder

Maps: Maps is an essential tool when traveling and is perfect for navigating in unfamiliar surroundings.  Maps is designed to carefully  analyses roads and footpaths for pedestrians and motorists alike, to facilitate verbally and visually guiding you through the quickest route from A to B- making the act of being lost a thing of the past (after all no one misses the annual family argument over the road map!) The app even has a public transport option identifying bus or metro routes and detailing their departure times- the perfect solution for getting around when time is of the essence!  With all these perks, could navigating Europe really be made any easier?



Phone Tips, Smartphone

How to Make the Most out of a VR Headset

The concept of VR (or to the less informed Virtual Reality), refers to a computerized technology accessed through headsets allowing for multi-projected environments to simulate a virtual environment. It is a field providing growing excitement across the technology and beyond- with over 100 million VR units sold globally in 2016, a figure that is expected to continually grow with everyone keen for a taste of VR! With that said this blogpost focuses on identifying a VR headset to suit you, whilst providing you with a list of must have VR apps. As well as allowing for us to have a little bit of fun as well! But before you start (we probably should tell you!), always read the instructions before use. Most headsets advise against using VR goggles for more than 30 minutes at a time- you’ve only got one pair of eyes!

Choosing your headset: Headsets come in a range of designs, aimed to suit your preference. The most basic VR goggles start from as little as $3, to more advanced VR Headsets ranging up to anything as high as $500. Similarly, the material basis of VR Headsets also offers variance with cardboard, rubber and plastic options available. Taking all of this into consideration, it really is a case of budget, comfortability and the purpose and frequency of usage!

VR Thrills Roller Coaster: Everyone loves a trip to a theme park- with the favourite part of most visitors’ trip being a ride on the latest Roller Coaster. With conquering Roller Coasters fulfilling the greatest desire of most thrill seekers, it presents a great shame that a trip to the theme park is becoming increasingly expensive … Would VR Thrills: Roller Coaster please step forward! The VR Thrills: Roller Coaster app is completely free to download, meaning you can enjoy the theme park experience, whilst using your smartphone without an expensive admission (and don’t worry, you won’t lose your mobile during these loop the loops!)

Sites in VR: Ever fancied a trip to Paris? A historical tour of ancient Egypt’s Pyramids? Or maybe even both within the same hour- impossible? Or so you thought! Traveling is an interest high on the agenda of millions of people with in excess of 76 million international tourists flocking to the USA alone in 2016. That statistic by itself suggests huge crowds and long perennial queues- the downfall of any experience! By downloading sites in VR you can enjoy a 360 degree view of a wide range of global landmarks, without having to leave the comfort of your own home- could you ask for a better queue jump! Landmarks are split into categories, but with multiple locations from across the globe being available, a specific preference can also be refined through the search icon. Now isn’t it time to put the kettle on, put your feet up and most importantly explore the world!

VR Cave: Do you ever wonder how the Cavemen lived in such surroundings? Please tell me it’s not just me! Whether it’s just a passing thought or a moment of continuous curiosity causing sleepless nights- it’s time to download VR Cave (It’s even free of charge!) VR Cave provides a larger than life experience inside a cave. Explore all the nooks and crannies of the never ending cave searching up down and all around, yearning for an escape route Have you got what it takes to escape the cave? No. You can’t escape the cave but I guess that’s half the fun!

Google Earth: With Google Earth being a widely used feature of Google and having been accessible to users since 2001, the majority of internet users will have come into contact with the program. For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with the program, Google Earth uses satellite imagery to provide users with 3D image of the planet. However, what might seem a less familiar concept to many users of Google Earth is Google Earth VR! Ever wanted to wander, browse or fly around the globe? Download Google Earth VR! The standard walk around feature can be utilised by turning and moving your head in the general direction in which you wish to travel, enabling you to browse almost every corner of the planet! Alternatively, by moving your arm around you are able to navigate and fly around the world. Unfortunately the flying feature is currently only compatible with the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, but don’t worry there’s still plenty of time to obtain a pilot’s licence, with more widespread availability expected in the near future!

YouTube: In 2018, the age of the YouTuber, you’ll be searching far and wide for an individual who doesn’t use the video doesn’t use the video sharing website on a daily basis. It would be an even greater rarity to find somebody completely unaware of the websites existence (please, correct me if I’m wrong…). With such a wide target audience and number of frequent users, YouTube was proactive and quick to get on board the VR hype- well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it! YouTube provides Virtual Reality for virtually every taste (no pun intended there, I promise!), with video’s ranging from wildlife to a glimpse of the popular Netflix series Stranger Things for those looking for a fright! After Fox screened the 2017 Champions League Final in VR, the highlights video still in VR format is also available on YouTube. There really is something for virtually everyone- we really should stop that now!

Street Jump: Are you old enough to remember the technological craze of Crossy Road? You probably are with it being less than four years old (is that all!), despite the craze seeming a lifetime ago with technology continually in a state of change and development. The simplistic app was based around the simple concept of tapping the screen to move and jump to avoid objects and obstacles and quickly became a global phenomenon. With VR having really taken off in recent years, it is of little surprise a similar based concept has been devised in the form of VR. Utilised in 3D form, simply look in the direction you require your character to move and press the cardboard trigger to jump! Just be sure to watch out for cars, trucks and trains- or any other vehicle that moves. The only downside to this app, is that for a better experience, you will require a premium headset. But remember the fun you had playing Crossy Road- it will be a worthwhile investment!


Top 5 European Ski Destinations

With the Winter season upon us there’s still plenty of time for traveling and plenty to do! If you’re heading to Europe this Winter, you’ll struggle to find a better thrill seeking experience than a ski trip to one of Europe’s wide array of ski destinations! With millions of visitors flocking to the continent each year for both sporting events and recreational skiing, it is time to check it out for yourself. Alongside the widely acclaimed Alpine region, home of Europe’s most famous skiing area, we’ve also unearthed some of the hidden gems in European skiing- meaning Europe can cater for pretty much everyone when it comes to skiing.

1. Nevis Range, Scotland: The Nevis Mountain Range provides a Scottish skiing hotspot, featuring the 8th highest mountain peak in Scotland- Aonach Moor. Aonach Moor allows skiers to ski from heights of up to 3900 feet and offers a lengthy and flexible ski season, with the typical duration commencing in November and lasting well into the late spring season. Ascending up Aonach Moor to reach the heights of the slopes has never been easier with the mountain offering access to Scotland’s only mountain gondola. Not only does Aonach Moor’s gondola system allow for easy and swift access, it provides users with the opportunity to indulge in the breath-taking views of the mountain and its surroundings! Aside from the skiing aspect of your trip, Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and is therefore English speaking, eliminating the need for phrase books and awkward conversations. After all, you only want a coffee after having braved the slopes!

2. Andorra: Nestled between its much larger and well known noisy neighbors France and Spain, Andorra is relatively unheard of  by many and is often overlooked as a ski destination- despite having over 300km of slopes across all of its resorts! What’s more the dense layout of Andorra, facilitates visiting more than one resort! This is ideal with the main sought after resorts; El Tarter, Pas de la Casa and Soldeu all being within close proximity of one another. Unfortunately due to the size of Andorra, the country is not home to an International Airport- with the nearest International hubs being Toulouse and Barcelona of France and Spain respectively. But don’t let this put you off a trip to Andorra’s vast range but compactly located ski slopes. After all, visiting two countries is better one- that’s a saying, right?

3. Sӧlden, Austria: Sӧlden marks our first visit to the Alpine region as a skiing destination, located conveniently in the Austrian Alps; the resort is carefully integrated into the local town of the same namesake. The resort is renowned for its snow reliability throughout the Ski season and offers extensive range of difficulties and experiences, with over 140km of slopes across three well connected mountains all of which are served by 32 lifts- making lengthy queues a thing of the past! Whilst the wide variety of skiing opportunities, Sӧlden has plenty more to offer, helping the resort continually attract more visitors. Sӧlden featured in the James Bond movie SPECTRE- with guests since flocking to the resort to see where agent 007 hit the slopes! Additionally, Sӧlden is a popular destination for young travelers and is known within the Austrian Alps for its vibrant nightlife. With that said, what more could you want from your Ski vacation? Skiing, Movies, Nightlife they are all part of the Sӧlden package!

4. Les Houches France: Ever fancied the French Alps without the soaring costs that typically come with them? With the popular resorts Val Thorens and Chamonix often accessed only with a hefty price tag, a trip to Les Houches provides with both an affordable and enjoyable experience. Located just down the valley from its pricier neighbour, Les Houches offers Ski routes from over 1900 metres offering unparalleled views of the Mont Blanc valley. Aside from the Ski slopes themselves, the resort provides its visitors with a multitude of other extreme sports. Two of the most popular extreme sports offered are the adrenaline filled Paragliding and Speed Riding which is a twist on Paragliding but with Skis (perfect for maximising that airtime!).

5. Vogel, Slovenia: Located in the Triglav National Park (the only National Park within Slovenia), which hosts 1.6 million visitors each year, whilst housing 37 unique different species. This resort is also found on the cusp of Lake Bohinj, with Skiers treated to spectacular views overlooking the lake as they ascend towards the slopes. And this is all before you’ve even thought about Skiing- when can I book? As a Ski resort itself, Vogel offers a mixed variety for Skiers of all abilities. Whilst the majority of slopes are targeted at beginners and intermediate level skiers, Vogel isn’t without challenge with ample slopes aimed at the more confident skier! With that said Vogel provides the ideal location for your Skiing vacation regardless of ability. Furthermore the resort is well known for cheap refreshments, particularly those of the alcoholic variety with the price of a beer averaging around €2- although it’s probably best to enjoy one after a hard days skiing. Don’t drink and ski!


Top 5 European winter destinations for budget travelers

With the clocks having gone back an hour and the dark nights looming, winter is coming and therefore so too is (dare I say it!) the holiday season! Whilst commonly cited as the most wonderful time of the year, for the majority of us it also falls under the category of the most expensive time of the year! But this shouldn’t impact or prevent your travel plans, should it? Of course not! The following blogpost will solve all of your travel problems and provide you with a guide to Europe’s top 5 winter destinations to visit on a budget- meaning you can still enjoy a winter break without stretching the purse strings too much!

1) Paris, France.

The capital of France boasts the title of being the most visited capital city in Europe with over 18 million visitors having stayed overnight in 2016. Famous for its unique fashion, fine cuisine and plentiful landmarks including the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris really does cater for people of all tastes! Whilst experiencing all these components of Parisian charm is essential when visiting the city, the shrewd traveler amongst us will accordingly time their visit to the French capital to coincide with the first Sunday of the month when free entrance into both the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou is available! Meaning you can experience timeless works of art and modern artistic during the same trip, all for the price of- nothing!

2) Prague, Czech Republic.

With a significant reduction in Stag and Hen parties during the Czech winters, the price off accommodation is significantly slashed with certain places charging less than half the price advertised during the summer months. With winter temperatures in Prague regularly plummeting to temperatures of -2 degrees Celsius, I guess the group t-shirts and fancy dress outfits just don’t have the same appeal! With the winter season attracting like-minded visitors to the city, it would be rude not to take in some of the sights, wouldn’t it? Prague is home to a vast assortment of historical buildings and landmarks many of which can be found in the city’s Hradčany district. Here you will find Prague Castle once home to the Bohemia Kings; the castle is now the residence of the Czech president! Venturing aside from the castle but remaining within its walls you will find St George’s Basilica, rooted in history as Prague’s oldest church, the Basilica dates back as early as the year 920 AD. After a hard day soaking up the historical and beautiful sites Prague has to offer, why not kick back and relax with one of Prague’s world famous cheap beers- it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

3) Berlin, Germany.

If you’re looking for a combination of culture, cuisine and seasonality, then Berlin provides the perfect mixture for your winter getaway! There’s something for everyone’s taste (and yes, I really do mean everyone!) For those culturally curious, why not head to the East Side Gallery, located at the site of what was formally the infamous Berlin Wall- one of the most restrictive barriers in not only Europe, but the World! Ironically the East Side Gallery is now a 1316 meters long remaining section of the wall, serving purpose as a memorial for freedom and displaying a multitude of creative artwork expressing freedom of speech. What’s more is viewing the Gallery is free, sparing valuable Euro’s to indulge in more of Berlin’s sights- why not visit the Fernsehturm for unparalleled views across the German capital? Feeling Hungry yet? A trip abroad would not be a trip abroad without sampling the local cuisine and what better way to eat like a Berliner than sampling a Currywurst! First discovered in 1949, this famous dish consists of a steamed and then fried pork sausage which is then marinated with Curried ketchup and can be found in virtually all of the fast food joints you will find in Berlin! Ice Skating provides the perfect winter activity and when it comes to Berlin, you’ll not find prettier surroundings to skate in than those of Winterwelt am Postdamer Platz. Although, the only thing more beautiful than the surroundings is perhaps the price- free of charge. Perfect for budget travelers!

4) Brussels, Belgium.

When it comes to Christmas markets, Brussels is somewhat under the radar, often overlooked and less famed than many of its German counterparts, but Brussels Christmas Markets stretch almost half a kilometer from Place de la Monnaie in the northwest to the Vismet in the southeast. The location of Brussels Christmas market is also encapsulated by an area of city housing the majority of the cheaper accommodation. Through choosing accommodation around this location, not only have you managed to make your first saving of your European adventure but you’ve also freed up valuable finances to indulge in festive treats at the Christmas market- including a world famous Gluhwein or two (or three!). After having washed down a festive treat with a glass of Gluhwein, why not head northwards to the Atomium, a landmark famed for its unique architectural design which now houses a museum! On second thoughts maybe visit here before the Christmas Market and the Gluhwein!

5) Bansko, Bulgaria:

Skiing in Europe is widely acclaimed and associated with the Alpine region, yet with such popularity this is an area with soaring prices- particularly during the peak season. The meteoric rise of such prices has helped to unearth a gem in European Skiing destinations, ever considered Bulgaria? You soon will! Located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains in the southwest of the country and nestled inside the Pirin National Park, is your perfect Bulgarian ski destination- Bansko. The resort even hosted the FIS Alpine World Cup in 2009- it must be a half decent for skiing, right! For those looking for a change of scenery aside from the adrenaline fueled Ski break, the Pirin National Park was declared a UNESCO  World Heritage Site in 1983 and is home to 229 different vertebrate species! So when visiting Bansko, you don’t just get a Skiing break, you are also treated to an array of wildlife- its two vacations for the price of one (and all within budget!).

Phone Tips, Smartphone, Travel

How To Use Skype Abroad

Are you a frequent traveler, tired of high roaming charges and expensive rates when trying to contact home. Video chat and voice call specialist Skype, provides the perfect solution for these problems of the past! Whilst also providing the option of a virtual face to face conversation with friends and family (well, if you want to!). This blog post is designed to make using Skype and all of its features whilst abroad simple and hassle free.

1) Disable Mobile Data/Data Roaming: Skype is internet dependent, meaning it’s features are ineffective and void without a connection to the internet. Whilst traveling abroad mobile data rates tend to soar, therefore the first step you will need to carry out is to turn off mobile data- this will disable any data roaming and ensure you avoid expensive rates and bill shock. Disabling mobile data will guarantee that you will not be charged should your device leave a Wi-Fi connection/zone. Disabling mobile data can be achieved by opening settings and switching the mobile data icon off.

2) Connect to a safe and secure Wi-Fi connection: An appropriate and financially prudent alternative to using mobile data is to connect to a Wi-Fi. This can be done by scrolling by following the straightforward process of opening Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi. Whilst traveling you will usually come across many free Wi-Fi hotspots in restaurants, whilst hotels and hostels often offer guest’s access to Wi-Fi for a minimal fee.

3) Alternatively use a SIM & MiFi Device: Amidst the recent hacking scandals involving non secure Wi-Fi connections, many people have voiced concerns over accessing public connections- this is particularly relevant to anyone using Skype as it is internet dependent. But don’t worry we have your perfect solution! Why not try a MiFi? Our Standard International MiFi enables up to 10 devices access to one internet connection at any one time! Users are also treated to fast 3G download speeds worldwide- meaning you can be connected securely pretty much anywhere in the world!

4) Create Skype Account/Login to Skype Account: Once opening the Skype application on your device, you will be greeted with the home screen which requires existing users to login to their account. This is a straightforward procedure, completed by providing either one of your email/phone number/Skype name combined with your password. For non-existing users, the option to create a new account/profile is provided.

5) Accessing the features of Skype:

  • Voice Call-: It’s just like calling a friend from your mobile (No, it really is!). Voice calls through are like any other phone call the only difference is they are free when connected to the internet! To take advantage of this, hit the add icon in the top left corner, from here select the voice call option before choosing a contact.
  • Video Call. For the more ambitious Skype users (and friend tolerant individuals) amongst us, the video call feature allows for an interactive face to face conversation by little more than the click of a button (or three).Similarly to a voice call open the add icon in the top left corner, select the video call option before tapping your contact of choice to start the call. Simple isn’t it? Just make sure your camera is switched on!
  • Individual messaging through Skype provides the perfect substitute to text messaging when traveling abroad! What’s more it helps you to avoid incurring expensive international SMS tariffs- it’s essentially texting for free! To use this feature, once again open the add icon in the top left corner of the screen, select new chat and then chose a contact!
  • Group Message. The Group message feature enables you to stay connected with multiple individuals at any given time. This can again be accessed by (you may have guessed it!) selecting the add icon in the top left hand corner of the screen. Having done this, select new group from here, you can choose whether to send your message to an existing group or create a new group. Group messaging provides the perfect option for keeping in touch on both a corporate and social level. From a corporate level, Skype’s group messaging facilitates keeping up to date with the office and from a social perspective- well how else are you going to share the latest meme?


Top 5 European places to visit for a Fall Vacation this year

With summer drawing to a close and the fall season upon us, it’s surely time to book your next vacation? After all is there a better way to start the fall season than exploring the world (No, we didn’t think so either!). With so many countries, cities and sights, Europe has so much to offer, but with all this taken into consideration deciding on a fall vacation destination couldn’t be more difficult. The following guide provides an overview of the best European destinations to visit this fall.

Munich, Germany:

Set in the heart of Germany’s Bavaria region, Munich provides the perfect destination for a getaway this fall. It’s during this time of the year that Munich plays host to its annual Oktoberfest celebrations, making fall the ideal time to pay Munich a visit. During Oktoberfest, you can enjoy the combination of a beer festival and a traveling fun fair (probably a wise idea to experience them the other way round first!). After having sampled the cultural element of a proper German Volksfest, why not visit the BMW museum- where you can view exhibits of classic cars made by the German Automotive giants throughout history. Exploring all Munich has to offer by bike, is a popular tourist activity in Munich, with multiple bike rental outlets across the city, as well as a Cycle based city tour!

Transylvania, Romania:

With scorching hot summers and perishing cold winters caused by Romania’s distinctive four seasons and weather patterns, fall is the optimum time to explore Romania and particularly Transylvania. Famed not solely for the residence of Count Dracula in Bram Stokers gothic novel, Transylvania will provide you with multitudes of glorious architecture- being to over 100 castles. Home to the Piatra Craiului National Park, Transylvania also provides visitors with the opportunity to explore the regions nature- with 110 different species of bird being found here!

Rome, Italy:

Once at the heart of the Roman Empire, the Italian capital has much to offer fall time guests- with temperatures lower. When it comes to sightseeing few can compete with Rome, with the famous attractions the Colosseum and St Peters Basilica both offering English speaking tours. Italy as a country is famed for its cuisine with Rome no exception (would you really be traveling to Italy if we didn’t mention the food?), no trip to Rome would be complete without trying Supplì, a dish native to Rome consisting of a Rice ball combined with a tomato based sauce with fillings ranging from minced beef to Mozzarella! With Supplì a popular Roman dish, it can be found in most street food outlets across the city.

Reykjavík Iceland:

No Reykjavík is not only known for being the world’s northernmost capital city! (Well maybe slightly!). Reykjavík actually has plenty to offer including the Harpa Concert Hall, located near the Old Harbour. This piece of fine architecture is not just worth seeing for it’s astonishing design, inside you are also treated to a variety of choices ranging from Icelandic Orchestra’s to How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes! Alongside the cities architecture and entertainment scene, Reykjavík can also be used as a base to explore everything else Iceland has to offer. Hot springs are something of an Icelandic trademark attraction, meaning it would be rude not to tick this off during your visit! With many hot springs within easy access of Reykjavík (17 to be precise!), relaxing in a thermal pool couldn’t be easier! Furthermore, a trip to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without witnessing a rare glimpse of the northern lights during the fall season, provides the opportunity to catch a rare glimpse of the northern lights, whilst narrowly avoiding the perishing cold of the winter season.

Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Amsterdam as a fall vacation destination is sure to provide something for visitors of all tastes. For those looking for a culturally rich experience, Amsterdam is coated in history and rife with museums, notably home to the Van Gogh museum, an art museum devoted to the works of post-impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh. Another museum you will find in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank House dedicated to a Jewish diary keeper during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, whose hiding place has been conserved, alongside installing a memorial feature detailing Anne Frank’s life. Alternatively for those wishing to sample the local brew, founded in 1873 in Amsterdam, Heineken offer the Heineken Experience. The Heineken Experience provides visitors with a guided brewery tour, finished off with an opportunity to sample some of Amsterdam’s finest exports. Additionally for those lucky enough to visit Amsterdam between the 18-21 October, you will be treated to the Amsterdam Music Festival, home to some of the biggest names in the electronic dance industry.

Wherever you’re travelling this fall, share your memories and navigate your way. Make sure you take the internet with you! SIMsmart prepaid offers a Europe Data SIM compatible in 33 different European countries.

Phone Tips

Siri vs Cortana: Put to the Test

Let’s talk about this, there was always going to be a battle. When Apple introduced Siri back in 2011, the game was seriously changed. We had Personal Assistants, a whole wealth of knowledge, and right at our fingertips. More recently, in 2014, Microsoft launched their own version; welcome Cortana. With Personal Assistants becoming an increasingly important feature of the modern smartphone experience, we decided to put it to the test. Siri vs Cortana, who’s more helpful? Who’s funnier? Let’s find out.

Both Will and Chloe, our Marketing Assistants, asked Siri and Cortana a series of questions with the following results.

Question 1: “How do you spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?”

This seemed like a logical thing to ask. Who doesn’t want to know how to spell supercali..something? Well, these Assistants knew how to spell it, both spelling out each individual letter, we were told within seconds. Whilst Siri only defined the word category, Cortana took it a step further, offering a more engaging and interactive approach. Acknowledging that the word was tricky, Cortana definitely prevails in this instance, especially as it inspires the user to ask more fun questions!


Winner: Cortana

Question 2: “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

If you can recite this notoriously wordy tongue twister, you’ll receive contrasting responses from Siri and Cortana. First of all, Siri responded perfectly, not only showing off the ability to understand the twister coherently, but to accurately respond with one too! Replying with an arguably more difficult twister, Siri answers, “A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. But if a woodchuck could chuck woodchucks chucking wood, then a woodchuck could chuck wood-chucking woodchucks” Conclusion? Don’t try to outsmart Siri.

Cortana on the other hand, provides more of a basic response. Acknowledging the difficulty of the tongue twister she offers the user an egotistical boost stating she’s impressed. However, she lacks the ability to respond at the same level of Siri.


Winner: Siri

Question 3: Tell me a joke”

Well aren’t these Assistants funny? Wit seems to be built in with these guys, as they both offer clever and insightful answers. Both responses use a play on words for the pun, delivering the jokes perfectly. Although both witty and amusing, it is Cortana that encourages interaction, suggesting other topics for future joke requests.


Which one did you find funnier?

Question 4: “What is 0 ÷ 0?”

If you’ve never asked Siri this question, you are seriously missing out! You receive some serious sass and come away probably a little more dumbfounded and slightly insulted than anything else… but, it’s still funny. The answer to this question is 0, nothing, nada. There is no meaning, which is probably what Apple was going for when they built in this response, because it doesn’t really make sense! What does make sense though, is apparently none of us have friends and we want cookies.

Cortana, however, opted for a seemingly mundane approach by providing an unexplained answer with reference to a search engine. We’re not impressed Cortana.


Winner: Siri

Question 5: “Are you better than Cortana/Siri?”

Well this was always going to come up. When trying to compare the two, who better to ask than Siri and Cortana themselves? When asking about their respective counterpart, the Assistants replied in similar ways. With obvious thought gone into the answers, the responses are actually pretty good… funny even.

Let’s talk about this, Apple made Siri, Windows made Cortana, though the names both represent inanimate objects if you think about it. Both Siri and Cortana play on these words. Siri comparing ‘apples’ to ‘not apples’ basically implies there isn’t even a comparison to be made, oh Siri, you over confident so and so. Similarly, Cortana also used a play on the Windows to Apple comparison, however this Assistant actually acknowledged the other… brownie points for being respectful.
With the double barrel interpretation of both comparisons, let’s give this to Cortana, because that Windows comment was funny.


Winner: Cortana

Question 6: “Are you married?”

Let’s get personal! Did you want to know this? Probably not, but it’s still a good thing to ask as the answers are different yet still amusing. Both Personal Assistants offered a particularly self-absorbent answer, with Siri lapping up the global attention surrounding relationships and Cortana asserting her independence.

Cortana answers the question, “No, I complete me”, who else would you need right? Very 21st Century Cortana, well done. Siri however offers more of a conversation… an opinion even, if this were a real person, you might even go on to debate the topic.
This is difficult to judge. Siri sounds more real yet Cortana provides a definite and assertive answer.


Winner: Tie

Question 7: “What are you wearing?”

Why not ask what they’re wearing? What we’re learning from these responses is that they’re built to be quite witty, so when Siri responds with something ominous, we’re hardly surprised. What are you wearing Siri? Oh, you don’t want to tell us. Shock.

Alternatively, Cortana opts for a humorous response, referring to the initial creation of the Personal Assistant. “Something I picked up in engineering.” Clever Cortana, very clever.


Winner: Cortana

Question 8: “What does the Fox say?”

Following the success of the 2013 song ‘The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)’, which by the way, doesn’t really explain what a fox actually says… our Personal Assistants were asked to clarify. Not really expecting much, it’s surprising both Assistants responded with lyrics from the song. Having asked Siri first, hearing the lyrics recited back was amusing. What could beat that? Well, Cortana, with not only a different set of lyrics, but with a picture of a Fox. Chacha-chow!


Winner: Cortana

Question 9: “I’m drunk.”

We’ve probably all been in the situation where we’ve had a regrettable drunk conversation with someone at the other end of a phone. But have you ever thought of telling your phone itself that you’re drunk? No probably not. Well, you should try it, this is what happens. Both Personal Assistants endeavor to ensure your safety. Firstly, don’t drive. Pretty smart. Cortana addresses that you shouldn’t be driving, do not put yourself in danger. Cortana also states that you should probably save yourself the embarrassment and not call anyone either. Just a helpful tip.
Siri goes the extra mile and offers the option of ringing a taxi, click the button and Siri will automatically call you the nearest taxi firm. Committed to caring, Siri adds in a personal touch with your name and makes sure you get home safe!


Winner: Siri

Question 10: “Do you follow the three laws off robotics?”

If you’re unfamiliar with the three laws of robotics, they are as follows;

1. A robot may not harm a human being nor allow a human being to be harmed.
2. A robot must obey orders given by humans except where it conflicts with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as it does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

As these Personal Assistants are on our smartphones, this question deemed appropriate. Of course your phone is not really a robot (don’t worry, it’s not), but the answers given could argue otherwise…
Firstly, the answers contrast entirely. Cortana avoids the question, politely, suppose we can all move on and forget about it. What are you really Cortana? Are you avoiding the question because you are a robot?
Siri however, skillfully analyses the three laws of robotics before providing a logical and insightful response, completely shutting down the question.


Winner: Siri

Question 11: “When is the world going to end?”

An appropriate concluding question for the comparison of both Personal Assistants. Both replied with clear witticism; Cortana’s sarcastic response acknowledging human interaction – that there’s always some sort of crisis happening on the internet – is both humorous and relatable. Although, it is a slight dig at humans really…

Siri however, takes a different approach. Ever heard of the Unix 32 integer? Look it up, and you’ll have a new appreciation of this response. It’s essentially that on this date, computing devices using the integer, will no longer have a representation of time, as the 32 bit would have over flown. Quite a clever and sophisticated answer from Siri here. It’s difficult to distinguish a winner here, as both responses are impressive, both acknowledging real issues that users will have some relation to.


Winner: Tie


You get the point, we’re not asking our Assistants actual helpful questions. We know they can set alarms check your diary and open apps, what they really wanted to know was how they dealt with the obscure questions, and they definitely did not disappoint! The results show that Cortana provided the best responses for 4 questions with Siri trailing closely behind with 3 best answers. This of course, is only the results from these specific questions and does not, in any way, mean one Personal Assistant is better than the other. Siri and Cortana both operate effectively as Personal Assistants, aiding to the experience for smartphone users, it’s all dependent on personal preference!

Disagree with our result or have other interesting things to ask your smartphone? Tweet and tell us at @SIMsmartprepaid