I travel quite a bit, and I’ve come to realise that the most important thing that I could ever pack (besides an open mind and an adventurous spirit) is my smartphone. I don’t actually use it very often to make phone calls, especially when I’m travelling abroad, but having access to mobile wifi has helped me do everything from book hotels to transfer money between my bank accounts at times when I really needed it. Not to mention, it comes in handy when I meet new people and I want to exchange information with them.
What advantages can your smartphone grant you while you travel? Here are some of my favourite travel apps to have on the go.
AirBnB. I always want to have unique vacation experiences, but I never have the money to pay a travel agent to plan one for me. As far as accommodations are concerned, however, I’m usually able to give myself the best of both worlds (a charming place to stay at an affordable price) by using this handy little app. I use it to find rental properties, instead of hotels, which actually have lower weekly rates.
Waze. I’ll admit that I used to be so attached to my Google maps app that I refused to even look for other GPS software. But after finding out that Google recently bought this app, I decided to give it a try during a recent road trip… and it turned out to be a great alternative! In addition to the standard map app features, Waze actually combines input from drivers on the road in real-time, meaning that you get up-to-the-minute traffic info.
Postagram. Okay, this one isn’t informational, but it is a lot of fun. If you’re like me, you miss how exciting it would be to send or receive a postcard from a faraway place. This app helps you do just that without the trouble of finding a post office. You can take a photo of your surroundings, your food or anything else you want to share while on holiday and send it to an address straight from this app. It’s relatively cheap, and it saves you tons of time.
Blackberry Travel. Even though I didn’t have a travel agent, this app turned out to be the next best thing. I was able to enter information about my accommodations, flights and ground transportation so that I didn’t have to keep checking my email to get reservation codes and confirmation numbers. And this app even helped me update my travel plans when I got off track.
If you’re searching for even more apps to take with you on holiday, HuffPost has some ideas. Even if you can’t afford the roaming charges on your wifi, you can still use your smartphone abroad when you find free wireless Internet. The best places to go for free wifi are hotel lobbies, restaurants and–yes–the all-powerful coffee shop. You can still take advantage of these apps by staying connected at these common areas.
My smartphone, like my passport, is a must when I travel. And with these tried and true tips, I’ve been able to make the most of my trips. So can you.