App technology: The very best newest apps for a better holiday

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APP TECHNOLOGYIf finding a flight and a hotel is just too much effort or if you just want a no-brainer holiday, you could perhaps try Holiday Pirates. If you are a French or Dutch speaker they have a site for you too – although a little strangely, they offer ‘The Netherlands and Flanders’ as an option but simply ‘France’. Presumably, one should speak Dutch in Brussels? Only joking…

Geographical jiggery-pokery aside, the site is pretty good at the last-minute deal and the too-good-to-miss all-inclusive blowout. The keyword with this site is flexibility. If you want to leave on a Saturday, from Zaventem and return on a Sunday at a time that won’t frighten you, you may do well to look elsewhere. The prices are, of course ‘from’ a certain amount, which should start bells jangling with the canny shopper straight away. Flying from Zavantem at 04.30 may seem bad but then you realize that you will also need a 45 km transfer from the airport to the hotel. Psychologically, if you’re already committed to a cheap deal, you could be forgiven for thinking that the €35 apiece was reasonable. It even might be, at local rates. Hang on though, did you want to check a bag? Ah, well that’ll be another 45 km 45 per case, please. Be flexible, have a fair price in mind and read the terms and conditions very carefully and you can easily snag a fine deal. Their site can be found at holidaypirates.com and apps are available in multiple languages for your iPhone or Android device. What could be better than getting a notification about two weeks in Jamaica when you’re stuck in the third strategy meeting of the week?

The final app (iPhone and Android) is something different. Very different. Called Holiday Swap, it is touted as being like ‘Tinder for holiday accommodation’. Signing up and using the app is free and the idea is that you post pictures of your house, flat or even just a bedroom and people can decide if they like it and would like to stay in it. If you also like theirs, you can arrange a swap. Each night you stay will cost (both, presumably) you one dollar US and that’s the only fee you pay. There are the usual chat features and the omnipresent but all-important rating system, whereby you can build your reputation, which should ideally give you access to more opportunities. There’s no limit to what you can swap either. If both you and the other party are willing, you could swap your 1-bedroom flat in Schaerbeek for a 9-bedroom colonial house in the Bahamas – at least, theoretically. The app is very much in the experimental stage at present, so I’d wait until it’s officially announced before diving in. We can only hope that it isn’t completely like Tinder and that the person you hooked up with doesn’t bale because ‘their dog got sick’. Travel safely.