Planning a Genealogy Trip to Scotland? There are apps for that! Here are some that you will want to consider to make your trip a bit less stressful and a whole lot more fun. Be aware that WiFi in Scotland is not as readily available as it is in North America. If you plan to use your own phone in Scotland, make sure your data plan is topped up. I, personally, have an old phone (left over from an upgrade) that is unlocked. It has become my "Scotland" phone. One of my first stops is at a phone service provider. I buy a "pay as you go" SIM card. I can get 8GB of data, unlimited texts and a bazillion minutes of calling time for less than $40. The pay as you go tend to be for 30 days. These meet my needs perfectly and are far cheaper than using my Canadian service provider.
Family Tree Apps
Being able to access your family tree “on the go” will become critical. Not all libraries and archives have access to Wi-Fi, so make sure your data plan is also topped up. Here are some apps that allow you to carry your family tree with you. All of them are available in both iOS and Android.
FamilySearch Tree – The FamilySearch Tree app lets you attach photos, stories, and documents to your tree and in doing so, helps you to add to your ancestor’s social story. FamilySearch Tree also interfaces quite nicely with social media apps allowing you to share your finds with family, friends and followers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Ancestry –This app allows you to access your tree, check your hints, look up documents and keep your tree current while you are traveling. Ancestry’s app also allows you to upload photos and attach them to your tree.
MyHeritage - This app allows you to view your tree, attach photos and invite others to contribute to your family tree. You can also search their records from the app.
DNA Apps (while free for download, you must purchase a kit to activate, using the barcode on your kit)
Ancestry DNA – Use this app on the go to access your ethnicity, family connections, see family migration patterns and share your DNA results to social media sites.
23andMe DNA – Use this app to access your health and ethnicity reports at your fingertips.
Evernote – This will become your “go-to” app while you travel. Here you can create and edit your research plan to help you stay focused. You can create and edit your itinerary to ensure you have time to do the things you want to do. While Evernote has scanning capability most libraries and archives prohibit the use of scanners.
Expedia / Skyscanner/Kayak – Use these apps to book flights, hotels and car rentals. Reviews let you see what other’s think of the airlines, hotels or car rental companies. You can also check out points of interest in the area where you are going to be researching and see what others think about those places
Airline apps – Once you book your flight, download the app that the airline provides. These apps allow you online check-in, notifications of gate changes or delays and some are also the source of in-flight entertainment, including WiFi.
Hotel apps – You can use the hotel apps for booking, check-in and check out. Some hotel apps also have a chat facility where you can contact the front desk and ask them to make restaurant reservations, book you a cab or send up fresh towels.
Scotland Specific Apps
Welcome to Scotland app – Use this app to book accommodation, find restaurants, look for points of interest and learn about events that are happening while you are in Scotland. The app has local maps for most major cities and uses GPS to help you see what is nearby in terms of restaurants or places to visit.
Scotrail – Getting around Scotland by bus is easy and convenient and now there is an app makes you the travel guide. On the app, you can buy tickets, get real time updates about status of the trains, get push notifications by email or SMS and even alert Scotrail to any crime you witness on their routes.
Glasgow/Edinburgh Taxi- These apps allow you to book and track your ride. They send push notifications when your driver is close-by or delayed and if you happen to miss each other, the driver can call you to see where you are actually situated.
Glasgow Travel Guide app – This app gives you information on the major tourist and historic sites in Glasgow. The app has a map of Glasgow and has a built in currency exchange calculator. The app gives you weather updates and lets you book mark points of interest. You can also plan how to get to points of interest using the app.
Lothian Buses – The Lothian Buses app is a must if you are staying in Edinburgh. You can purchase tickets, determine which bus will get you to where you want to go, view real time travel delays and construction updates. The bus system in Scotland’s cities is excellent and the apps make it easier to travel by bus.
Timeline Trip Edinburgh app - This one is a bit more whimsical but worth it. The app allows you to travel through Edinburgh during different historic time frames – The Stuart Era, The Union of the Crowns (and the National Covenant), the period of Scottish Enlightenment and the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, resulting in the building of the New Town.
Photo Organization App
Forever – This app allows you to upload all of your photos and videos to a secure cloud account. You can organize your photos into folders/albums, making them easier to access. Once uploaded, you can use the Forever website to create photo books while you are waiting at the airport gate and have your journey documented into book form by the time you get home.
Instagram/Facebook/Twitter login and share your genealogy adventures with others! Add photos and hashtags, tag friends and followers and share the discoveries you make on your genealogy trip.