One of the most important gadgets I’ll be taking with me on our ‘no-end-date’ adventure is my trusty iPhone 5. Seriously, it’s ridiculous how far smartphones have advanced since the old school Nokia 3310! There so many apps to make life easier, more organised and helpful that it’s hard to remember how we survived before the age of the smartphone. Here’s a selection of smartphone apps for travelling I think you’ll find useful.
The App Store (for Apple users) and Google Play (for Android users) will become your playground before you leave. You will need to investigate and download apps that you think will be important for your specific needs. Here’s a few of the apps I’ve downloaded that I think will be very handy:
The world is collectively sitting on billions of dollars in unused air miles. Once redeemed, the amount would be enough to bankrupt airlines. Yet we seem content to let our air miles expire, and it’s the same story with loyalty programs. This nifty website and app (only available on Google Play) allows you to easily manage all your loyalty and mileage programs, memberships and gift cards in one single portfolio. You can track the amount of loyalty points you have, make redemptions (money, points or miles), and exchange points from one program to another if, for example, you prefer Starbucks credits to a particular airline. Pretty cool huh!
Jack loves ABC4KIDS, it has all of his favourite cartoons and TV shows such as Giggle and Hoot, Peppa Pig, In The Night Garden and Yo Gabba Gabba. It’s free to use, add free and can be used whenever connected via Wi-Fi or 3G. An absolute must for anyone with kids.
Find My iPhone
If you lose your iPhone (or iPad, Mac and iPod touch for that matter) you can locate it by logging into this app on another device and signing into your account. You’ll also be able to remotely play a sound for two minutes at full volume, lock your device, display a message on the lock screen, and erase all content and settings among other things.
Great app to give you vital local weather information. Save the name of the place where you are into the app, and you’ll get the current temperature; the expected high and low for the day; a description of the day including humidity, chance of rain, wind speed and direction, and what the temperature feels like; hourly forecasts including sunrise and sunset time; and forecasts for the next five or 10 days. It also looks awesome with beautiful images of the places you’re sourcing weather info.
If you don’t have a Dropbox account get one. You’ll get online storage space where you can save important scanned documents such as passports, itineraries, university academic transcripts, tickets, anything that may come in handy on your travels. You can also share individual folders within your Dropbox account with family and friends so they have access as well…just in case!
Wi-Fi Finder and Free Wi-Fi Finder
Instantly find free Wi-Fi hotspots anywhere in the world and let your phones GPS capabilities direct you there. Now that’s handy!
Travel App Box
15 tools in one app to give you whatever information you need in any situation. Currency converter, offline maps, transport network maps, clothing size converter, tip calculator, flight status, unit converter, emergency numbers in 146 countries, phrase dictionary in five languages, country codes, picture dictionary when the language barrier proves too difficult, travel games, velocimeter, altimeter, holiday countdown…it just can’t cook you bacon and eggs for breakfast! Perhaps in the next version.
I’m not a fitness fanatic, but I like to keep in shape. It’s not always easy to find a gym on the road, so you have to improvise. This app covers all sorts of training styles – strength training, plyometrics, calisthenics and yoga. With over 350 exercises in the free version, there’s no excuse to get fat on the road! Workouts are tailored to your fitness level, goal, equipment and schedule and it keeps detailed records to track your progress.
Turns your phone into a mini scanner for documents, photos, receipts and other texts in colour, grey scale, and black and white. You can then store them, or email them as PDF files.
An easy to use travel expense tracker. It’s free for the first 25 items, with an in App purchase available to unlock other amounts.
Quite possibly my most used app. Whether it’s discovering new places or just getting around my home town Melbourne I’m constantly using this app. It’s also interactive so just tap on the screen and so much information appears – best way to get where you need to go using various transportation types, multiple view types, business peer reviews, addresses, phone number, opening hours – the features are endless and awesome!
Unlimited interactive offline map downloads with information on literally millions of places of interest, and unlimited Wikipedia travel guide downloads for the whole world. Plan your trip using this app before you leave and get great advice from other travellers.
This is the best travel guide for your phone. Download a city or country guide then you have offline access whenever you want. You then have maps, information about major sights, a list of great restaurants and nightlife experiences. It also has a currency converter, weather info and useful local phrases.
As a traveler the Google Translate app is one of the most remarkable and useful apps you can load onto your smartphone. With more than 30 languages supported and delivering impressively accurate results most of the time, this app is a must.
Learn a language and have fun at the same time. The reason we’re all traveling is to immerse oursleves in different cultures, and what better way than by learning a bit of the local lingo! Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and English, imagine how much easier life will be if you know a few words. There are no ads, and no hidden charges…voila!
FIND FLIGHTS, HOTELS AND CARS
Compare millions of flights from 1,000’s of airlines in seconds to find the cheapest available. Then buy tickets from the airline or a travel agent with just a few taps.
Compare flights, hotels, car rentals then book right in the app! Manage your trip itinerary, track your flight status, access airport info and much more. And if you upgrade to the pro version you can get some awesome airport terminal maps as well.
On The Fly
Another app to compare and shop for airfares around the world. The app does not allow bookings, once a trip has been selected, you email or call your preferred travel provider armed with all of the information you need to get the best deal.
Find great hotel deals in more than 67 countries, and book right there in the app. The later you leave it, the cheaper the rates, but the less options you’ll have.
Facebook, Pages and Messenger
This is a no brainer. Facebook is the biggest social network in the world, and each of these apps help to keep in touch with family and friends back home, and promote your travel blog or other activities you may be involved in.
Another social media platform to get your message out there. You can post a photo, start or join a hangout, choose who you want to see each post, and see what friends are sharing on your smartphone or tablet. Not to mention Google+ is vital for your website’s SEO.
Upload your own videos, learn by watching videos of others or catch up on channels you follow on the go. It’s the biggest video sharing platform on the net, and another great SEO tool for your website if you create videos.
Another video sharing platform and it’s a great way to share and store videos right from your phone or camera. It’s also a great way to watch videos on the go, and for us, we think the player looks better than YouTube’s so we use it on our website.
There’s a reason why Facebook paid Instagram $1 billion for their social media company. It’s awesome! Share your photos and videos with the world, and look like a pro while you’re at it with great editing tools.
Search the net, find anything that inspires you, pin it to your personal clipboards. It’s that easy. You’ll never lose those gold nuggets that will help you on your amazing adventure, and you can share all of that inspiration with others. Win-win!
Does anyone not know how to tweet? If you have a Twitter account follow us at @applesabroad and me personally at @chrisappleford. I’ve created a travel list of travelers just like us so I can see what they’ve been up to, what advice they have and any images they tweet out. It’s the best way to get real time stories, pictures, videos, conversations, and inspiration all in one timeline.
If you’ve got a WordPress blog, you must have have this app. Easily manage your site from your smartphone – moderate comments, create and edit posts and pages, view stats, and add images and videos.
STAYING IN TOUCH
Keep in touch with loved ones via video calls. Find some free Wi-Fi using Wi-Fi Finder and it’s free…no data usage for you!
Text, call and send photo and video messages worldwide over Wi-Fi or 3G – for FREE! Viber Out can be used to make calls to non-Viber lines and mobile numbers at low rates. The app syncs with your mobile contact list, automatically detecting which of your contacts have Viber.
Adobe Photoshop Express
The best FREE image editing app there is. There’s too many features to list here, but you’re pictures will be way better with automatic fixes and filters. Just get it, you won’t be disappointed.
Create amazing video panoramas of places and events that you find extraordinary, then share them on your social media platforms! Create panoramas that are horizontal, vertical and every plane in between for an incredible spherical effect.
BANKING AND MONEY
Convert every world currency in this free app. It offers live proprietary currency rates, charts and even stores the latest updated rates so it works offline too.
Given I’ve got a Citibank Plus Visa Debit Card for all of my cash withdrawals while overseas (click HERE to find out why), it makes sense to have the app. There’s heaps of features that will come in handy, but the main reason is to find an ATM wherever I am so I don’t have to pay any fees!
Another no-brainer, this app will allow us to do all of our home banking right from our smartphone.