August is here, and with it comes all the joys and delights of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s the 70th anniversary of the World’s biggest arts festival, which doubles the population of Edinburgh for three weeks and brings in over £260million to Scotland’s economy…all over a period of three weeks.
After 70 years, the way we navigate/survive the festival has drastically changed, especially with the boom in technology. In particular the use of apps has soared in recent years. So here are my top, and relatively old apps for making it through the festival this year.
Let’s face it – tourist or local – travelling can become a bit of a nightmare during August. My top recommendation is if you can walk there, do so. You’ll get there much faster on foot that you will on public transport.
This is where Google Maps (yep – really nothing special) comes in so handy. This is especially good if you’re looking for something that isn’t a Fringe venue. We all know how Google Maps works but personally the best thing is their estimation of how long it will take you to get somewhere. They do try to accommodate traffic etc. but always add on 10 minutes extra to get somewhere on time just in case.
If you’re going somewhere a bit further a field, or you’re a bit worried about getting completely lost there’s always the trusty bus. You’ll hear locals complaining like crazy about the buses and trams in Edinburgh, but we do actually have one of the best and most reliable public transport systems on the planet.
Lothian Buses have two apps that are loved by locals – maybe unheard of by tourists. One is for checking bus times and routes and the other is for buying tickets on your phone. This is the one I’d recommend you download. You can purchase tickets on your phone for buses and trams rather than having to find the correct change for a fare.
Top tips for this app
- Bus and tram tickets are different things; don’t try to get on a tram with a bus ticket … you’ll get thrown off at the next stop.
- If you’re going to be taking three or more busses in a day, buy a day ticket – it works out cheaper.
The Main Event
The Fringe has had its own EdFringe app since 2011 and it is honestly fantastic. You can do pretty much everything on this app from booking tickets to seeing what’s on in the next 15 minutes near you. It even has it’s own map feature with all the venues pinned to it (very useful alongside Google Maps).
You can access tickets from the Half Price Hut without having to stand in long queues, which can save you a lot of money if you’re going to a lot of shows. There’s a great ‘About’ section that explains everything you need to know about booking and collecting tickets to planning your personalised schedule for the festival. It’s an absolute must for tourists and locals alike.
One tip for eating during the festival: STEP AWAY FROM THE STREET FOOD! Especially if you’re on a budget. Stalls pop up all over the place during August and there’s a great novelty value to them, but they’re usually very over-priced and you’ll be hungry again in half an hour.
OpenTable has a handy app that lets you make dinner reservations in real-time. You can also get exclusive offers when you book through this app, saving a little bit more than you might have originally thought. With all the adventuring you’re bound to do during the festival, you’ll need a decent sized meal to keep your strength up.
Another great app for keeping the cost of food down is Groupon. You would really be surprised at how many offers for great restaurants you can find on this discount site. Their app is very user-friendly and it’s easy to purchase a voucher on your phone when you’re on the go. Just be sure to check if there are restrictions on when you can use the vouchers you’ve bought before you pay.
We love all things digital (old and new) at Elastic so if you want to find out more about how we can help you with everything from websites to social media – give us a shout.