For quite a while I refused to take my phone with me when I travelled. I actually liked being away and feeling like I was truly away. And I certainly didn’t want to sit in a cafe with a beer in hand and update my Facebook page about sitting in a cafe with a beer in hand. I resisted for a while then one day, a few years back, I flew into London for a connecting flight to Zurich and all the planes were grounded because of fog and I was put up in a hotel. The problem was that someone was picking me up from Zurich airport. I couldn’t call or text until I got to the hotel, but by then it was too late because they were already on their way to the airport. I had to call them from the hotel phone to tell them what happened. That cost me 80 dollars. A text would have cost me 50 cents. From then on I took my phone with me when I travelled. Then along came the iPhone and I now sit in a cafe with a beer in hand and update my Facebook page about sitting in a cafe with a beer in hand.
But, I have to say, I do love having my phone with me now when I travel. And mostly because of the great travel apps available. Here are my favourites that I use quite a bit:
I jumped on Instagram when it started and I love that you can add filters to your happy phone snaps and turn them into professional-looking photos that a hack like me would have no idea how to take. You can also tag your photos so you can brag about where you are in the world.
iTranslate Voice ($1.99)
This new app is amazing – but it does take a bit of the fun out of travelling. It’s quite simple: you talk into your phone which then quickly translates it into one of 31 languages. And when that person replies in that language it will translate it back into English. Yes, I’m guessing that it will save a lot of hassle, but I actually enjoy being totally and utterly confused in a foreign country.
Trip Advisor (Free)
An oldie but a goodie. Yes, some of the reviews are a little suspect, but overall it’s a great app to find places to stay or eat. I’ve eaten at some absolutely wonderful restaurants/cafes in my travels because of Trip Advisor that I wouldn’t have ’stumbled’ on otherwise. And I love the ‘Near Me Now’ button. Also, found some great hotels as well.
Once you’ve found that hotel on trip advisor just go to the Hotels.com app and book a room. Earlier this year I walked up to a hotel desk in LA and asked how much for a room. The price was $110. I then stepped back, used the hotel’s free lobby wi-fi, opened up my Hotels.com app and booked a room at the same hotel for $70. I then waited a minute and walked up to the same front desk and checked in.
You can book flights, book hire cars and book hotels with this app (it’s the No.1 travel app apparently) , but I love it for it’s ‘flight tracker’ which has up to date plane departures and arrivals. The one time that it saved me sitting around the airport for five hours made it worth it alone.
I’m really bad at maths, so this app is handy when I’m trying to figure out how much 23,000 Dong is in Aussie dollars. You can also create your own list with the countries that you will be travelling through and watch the exchange rate rise and dip along the way.
Swingers Club ($3.99)
This app is great when you are out of town and hangin’ out for a bit of swingin’ action. I’ve used it a lot and…..okay, I don’t even own this app, but if you are into swinging then you can find swingers parties all over the U.S. And it also has all the critical information you need, including rules and descriptions of each “lifestyle establishment” so you know exactly what to expect when arriving at the “social gathering”. There’s even a ‘wife swapping’ section. Hmmm, maybe I will join….