Phones: The Ultimate Travel Companion
Holiday Season is here! And as our smartphones and tablets have evolved, they’ve become more than just communication devices; they’re now our loyal travel companions! Gone are the days of carrying multiple guidebooks, maps, and travel agents' phone numbers as all we need now is our trusty pocket-sized traveller and a few good apps!
1. Pre-Trip Planning
Apps like Airbnb, Agoda and Booking.com have massively simplified accommodation bookings, offering a huge range of options around price, accommodation types and even add-on services and experiences.
For itinerary planning, apps like TripIt and Google Trips can help organize flights, accommodations, and activities all in one place … a truly stress-free travel schedule!
2. On-The-Go Navigation and Maps
Lost in a maze of winding streets or in a bustling city? Panic not, because your smartphone is a portable navigation system. GPS and map apps like Citymapper, Google Maps and Maps.me provide real-time navigation and so no more awkward conversations with passers-by, trying to look at paper maps or struggling to decipher foreign street signs!
These apps also offer additional features such as traffic updates, public transport routes, and nearby points of interest … You’ll never get lost again!
3. Language and Communication Tools
Language barriers can, of course, make communication challenging when traveling to non-English speaking countries. Even simple things such as getting taxi’s or ordering a bite to eat can be pretty tricky. Google translate is the go-to app, helping with both written and spoken translations.
Off to China, Japan or Korea? Then Waygo is the app for you. Simply point the camera at the text you want to understand and it will give you an instant translation as well as helping with pronunciation! A must when finding your way around the streets or, more importantly, ordering the tasty food!
4. Capturing Memories.
Documenting our travels has become an integral part of the journey, and mobile tech has totally changed how we do this. Smartphones now boast impressive camera capabilities, with some rivalling professional-grade cameras. And check out photography apps, such as Instasize, Afterlight and Snapseed, as they can give added functionality, editing tools and filters to take your snaps to the next level.
5. Money Management.
Managing finances while traveling used to involve carrying wads of foreign currency and calculating exchange rates. Now, mobile payment apps have simplified financial transactions across borders. Digital wallets, like Apple Pay and Google Pay, enable cashless payments with a simple tap of the phone. And Wise, offers a brilliant, cost effective, card or transfer payment options.
Budgeting apps, such as Mint and PocketGuard, will help you keep track of expenses so you can stay within budget when managing the local currency.
6. Discovering Local Gems.
Exploring a new destination is often more than just ticking off famous landmarks. Apps can help us to immerse ourselves in the local culture and uncover hidden gems. Guides like The Lonely Planet, Time Out, Yelp and Trip Advisor provide recommendations for local restaurants, bars, and cultural experiences.
And venture off the beaten path, with apps like WayAway or Culture Trip, where users share travel itineraries and you can search for things like ‘hidden gems’ or ‘local experiences’ … as documented by fellow adventurers!
7. Travel Responsibly.
As more and more of us are travelling more frequently and further afield, it's important to think about responsible tourism. Mobile apps like Ecosia and Good On You help travellers make eco-conscious choices, from using sustainable transportation options to supporting environmentally friendly businesses.
Furthermore, apps like Culture Trip and Responsible Travel promote culturally sensitive travel, encouraging interactions that respect local customs and traditions.
So far, we’ve covered a few of the apps to help with the trip itself, but we had to mention a few apps that help store all the amazing travel memories you’ll be making!
Polarsteps is a free app that helps you plan and track your journey and also acts as a travel diary. Track and record routes on the map, add thoughts, videos and photo’s … and you can even then turn this into a hardcover travel book! Another great digital travel journal app is Find Penguins. Using GPS and AI, it tracks your journeys and adds data such as temperature, weather and altitude. This data is then displayed in a fun and interactive map for you to look back on, where you can then add diary entries, photo’s and video’s to truly capture the moment.
Mobiles and tablets have changed the way we live and that includes how we travel. Everything from getting organised, getting around, to discovering the best things to eat, see and do … all from the perfect travel companion, your mobile gadget!