Absolute Escapes April 23 2019

From all-important weather and midge forecasts to interactive maps to help you discover secret castles and beaches – these handy apps can ensure you have the very best experiences in our country.

Give your trip to Scotland a head start by checking out some of our favourite apps below, as recommended by the Absolute Escapes team.


Whether you’re exploring transatlantic crossings, safe passage via the Pacific, turbulent hops over the English channel, or the quickest way to get from London to Inverness, Edinburgh-based Skyscanner has it all.

As the go-to price-comparison site for flights, there’s a high chance you’re reading this having already booked your flight to the UK through one of its many partners. With nearly 30 international airports in the UK, knowing the most efficient entry point in terms of price and connectivity is a process that Skyscanner makes easy. Who doesn’t use this app these days?


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XE Currency

Some say that money makes the world go round, and with XE Currency you can keep on top of worldwide exchange rates to ensure you’re getting fair value. Even more impressive is the app’s capacity to work offline by saving the last available rate – critical when experiencing low connectivity on a remote Scottish island, or a Speyside distillery located off-the-beaten-track.



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Maps Me

A traveller’s best friend when exploring urban settings, Maps Me saves incredibly detailed offline maps which allows you to easily find the nearest train station, monument or ATM, as well as a variety of amenities. Maps Me will ensure you get from breakfast to dinner via monuments, castles and cafes along the way, as Fern from Absolute Escapes often discovers on weekend breaks.


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Historic Environment Scotland

A one-stop shop for information on Scotland’s iconic historic attractions, this app offers a bundle of useful information for more than 300 of Historic Scotland’s properties. With details on admission prices, opening times, facilities and travel, this app allow for excellent planning.

The app allows you to make a search based on particular regions and interests, incorporating specific categories for you to choose from, including sites of military, political or artistic importance. Absolute Escapes history buff Megan can’t get enough of this app on her travels.



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Midges – ferocious little devils that will do all they can to hinder the enjoyment of a beautiful loch view, or your walk home after an enjoyable dram of whisky at the village pub.

As with any potential annoyance, the best thing you can do is prepare. Smidge is not only an insect repellent but also an innovative app that will help you prepare when heading out to the Highlands. The app features a 5-day midge forecast across Scotland, rating more than 50 locations on a scale of 1 to 5 depending on the number of biting midges there are (level 5 being the most annoying). The only one of its kind, Smidge is the perfect tool that gives you time to stock up on repellents and keep the insects out, a priority for CJ from the Absolute Escapes team when setting off towards midge infested areas.



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When Caitlin tours the Scottish isles, Calmac’s official app allows her to monitor the latest sailing information on each route. With a friendly user interface, its red, amber, yellow and green system gives a clear indication of the current status on the route you will journey on. Timetables and fares can also be viewed for those looking to plan ahead.



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Outer Hebrides

As one of the last untouched natural environments in Europe, Scotland’s Outer Hebrides boasts some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, home to diverse wildlife, golden beaches and clear blue water. For the best chance to locate red deer, a Hebridean icon, or even seals and dolphins, the Outer Hebrides app will point you in the right direction and identify realistic viewpoints to marvel at the surrounding nature. As a premiere spot for bird watching, the app also identifies places to spot Golden Eagles, Corncrakes and the Red Throated Divers, allowing you to explore the intriguing habitat of each island.

The app helped Dawn from Absolute Escapes to also discover delightful places to eat and drink on her recent trip to Barra. The app also gives users the chance to locate hundreds of events, source useful visitor information, and flick through a local shopping guide for award-winning locally produced arts and crafts.


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View Ranger

There’s nothing like exploring some of the UK’s marvellous trails as you take a short break from driving. To help you find the perfect walk wherever you are, View Ranger is a digital treasure for the outdoor aficionado, featuring thousands of guides, route maps and powerful GPS features.

This one is a favourite for Charlotte, who is on her way to conquering all of Scotland’s Munros, following the footsteps of James, also from the Absolute Escapes team.



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Traveline Scotland

Giving a more detailed picture of public transport all across Scotland, Traveline features handy journey planners as well as live bus/train timetables. Traveline Scotland will reveal the fastest way of getting from Edinburgh to Stirling for an intriguing day trip that’s steeped in history, or from Fort William to Mallaig via the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.



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NC500 – The Local Guide

Suggested by Katia, this highly innovative app assists you when driving Scotland’s legendary North Coast 500 route. The app integrates your phone’s GPS and voice software to offer historical facts and fascinating tales, with detailed recordings and insights given at each turn in the road.

The Local Guide will also ensure you don’t miss any key attractions or activities on offer, ensuring you enjoy a highly enriched travel experience. The app’s developers are also in the process of designing a similar experience for the Isle of Skye, so watch this space.



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Met Office

As Pippa from Absolute Escapes is always quick to point out, Scotland wouldn’t be Scotland without a splash of rain.

At least with the Met Office app, you will be prepared for all eventualities for the day ahead, whether you’ll be basking in the sunshine on top of a hill, or warming up within a distillery as the hailstones thunder down.



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The last bit of advice is from Absolute Escapes’ very own Scott, who reminds us that with thousands of apps out there, it is easy to forget your own intuition. In other words, if a beautiful loch unexpectedly presents itself then don’t shy away from a photo. Or if the mist lifts to reveal a magnificent (yet manageable) peak, find your inner explorer and conquer it to enjoy an unforgettable sunset.

Stuart Dodds

P.S. Established in Edinburgh in 2004, Absolute Escapes are award-winning specialists in self-drive holidays in Scotland and walking holidays in the UK & Ireland. We know where to find the best accommodation and food and drink experiences, and how to turn your trip into an unforgettable one!

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