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For the past five years, I’ve made it a point to go away for New Year’s Eve. In fact, I’d go as far as calling it a tradition.
The year before, I was taking in the electric atmosphere at the Brandenburg Gate whilst doing my best to dodge firecrackers (yeah, in Berlin throwing firecrackers at people to celebrate the new year is a thing).
I guess you could say I’m a sucker for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Call me a hopeless romantic, but there’s something about seeing off the old year and welcoming the new one that gives me joy and fills me with a sense of endless possibilities. Or perhaps it’s just that New Year’s Eve is one of my many excuses to hop on a plane.
Of course, celebrating New Year’s Eve in a foreign country comes with its own set of challenges.
What do the locals do on New Year’s Eve?
Where am I going to crash?
And how the hell do I get to the event and back to my crash pad without paying through the nose?
These are all perfectly legitimate questions, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place.
Luckily, we live in a time when there’s an app for practically anything.
And since the imminent new year and lists go together (at least as far as I’m concerned), here are three apps (plus a bonus extra) to make your life easier if you’re away on New Year’s Eve.
Let’s face it, deciding what to do for New Year’s Eve can be a real pain. Hell, it’s what gave me the idea of jetting off to a foreign country for New Year’s Eve in the first place.
Unfortunately (and much to my chagrin), a lowly plane ticket, by itself, won’t solve the problem. In fact, it can be even worse when you’re in a foreign country. This holds especially true if you’re somewhere with significant cultural differences or communication challenges.
It may seem incredible, but sometimes a good old Google search just won’t cut it.
Thankfully, Eventbrite can do the legwork for you, so you won’t have to see in the new year alone in some dingy hostel.
Eventbrite lists events in 190 countries. Unless you’re somewhere really obscure or in the middle of nowhere, you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy. It shows you which events are the most popular in your area, and even whether anyone you know is going (it’s a small world, after all).
You can also buy tickets directly from the app and store them in your Apple Wallet. Best of all, it includes maps and directions for each event.
Whether you’ve partied too hard or simply ventured too far from your base, it might be a good idea to find somewhere close to the event to crash.
Finding accommodation at the very last minute might sound like a terrible idea, but Hotel Tonight allows you to do just that. In fact, you can’t use it to book more than seven days in advance.
The best thing about it, though, is the prices. The app features hotels trying to fill up at the last minute, so it’s unlikely you’ll get a better eleventh hour deal anywhere else on the web.
At time of writing, the app is available in America, Europe and Australia; but not in Asia.
If you’ve spent time in a major city in the last few years, you’re bound to have heard of Uber. It’s a ride-sharing app that works by detecting your location via GPS and connecting you to the nearest driver, so you can get an affordable ride within minutes.
From its humble beginnings, Uber has grown and grown: it’s now available in 300 cities in 58 countries over five continents.
Not in the mood to brave a foreign country’s public transport in the aftermath of New Year’s Eve celebrations? It could be worth checking out Uber, even if you think it isn’t available near you. You’d be surprised.
Bonus App: Drunk Mode
This app isn’t strictly for travellers abroad on New Year’s Eve, but it’s still well worth a mention.
Have you ever gotten really stinking drunk and done something excruciatingly stupid, like calling an ex you haven’t spoken to in months?
Yeah, me too.
Of course, everything tends to get more amplified on New Year’s Eve. You’ve probably had one too many drinks, and you’re pumped with celebratory euphoria. That’s one surefire recipe for disaster, right there.
Calling seems like the best idea in the world. But it really isn’t. Besides, you’re half a world away. The roaming charges could obliterate your budget for the rest of the trip.
Drunk Mode lets you select those contacts you absolutely don’t want to drunk dial, and it’ll hide them for up to 12 hours. That’s some serious party time.
Interestingly, there’s also a “breadcrumbs mode”, which allows you to retrace your steps. That sure is handy if last night’s particularly blurry.
What apps will you be using on New Year’s Eve? Let us know in the comments below.
Fireworks image via Estormiz