What’s the second thing you must pack after your passport? I would argue it’s my smartphone. It still amazes me how one itty bitty gadget can actually help lighten the load the next time you’re travelling as it replaces so many things that you just don’t need to bring. I am already lost without my smartphone at home but when I’m travelling, I need my travel companion more than ever and here’s why (in no particular order).
Watch and Alarm Clock
I can’t be bothered to figure out how to use the in room alarm clock or pick up the germ ridden room phone to ask for a wake up call. If you can’t keep track of the time difference in your head, World Clock will display the local times of cities you select so that you don’t call home at 3 a.m.
Camera and Video Recorder
The camera and video functions on smartphones have come a long way. I appreciate two less items to carry around all day long as I play tourist.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest – I’m addicted. Enough said.
WhatsApp is the perfect solution for those who want to stay in touch via text, picture or video while travelling. There are no fees to send messages but you’ll need Wi-Fi or data.
Want to know what the landmark you just saw is? Take a picture and let Google Goggles tell you.
Restaurant and Hotel Reviews
If you’re lost as to where to eat and sleep, Tripadvisor is loaded with user reviews of restaurants and hotels around you and will even give you directions from your current location.
Tripit will organize your hotel, air, car rental, train and even restaurant reservations in one central place and create a travel itinerary for you. This will save you from having to print confirmations or be fearful in losing them.
Electronic Boarding Pass
If you’re travelling by air or train, chances are you can check in from your smartphone. One less thing to remember to bring.
Whether you’re using the native weather app or an app like Yahoo Weather, set up the cities you’re travelling to for quick access to the local weather.
What’s Near Me?
It’s now easier than ever to see what’s near you with apps like Around Me. Quickly find stores, coffee shops, malls, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, parking and more. Comes in handy when looking for public washrooms.
City Maps 2Go Pro gives you unlimited access to city guides that don’t require data to use. Browse city maps and find local places of interest and attractions for just about anywhere in the world. A must have.
Travelling will undoubtedly equate to waiting at some point during your travels. What a better way to kill time than to read books, magazines and newspapers from your smartphone? Or play a game of Candy Crush or Angry Birds while you wait. Or better yet, kids can entertain themselves quietly while waiting.
Please note that most of the apps mentioned requires a data plan to use. Be sure to check with your mobile provider and look into purchasing a data roaming plan if travelling outside your country. This will alleviate any surprise charges on your bill.
What are some of your favourite travel apps?
About Wendy Morelli
Wendy loves her 2 kids and her iPhone, not necessarily always in that order. She is an app obsessed mom who loves everything tech and is (unfortunately) old enough to remember the brick Motorola cell phone and the Commodore computer. Her love for technology stems back to the 10+ years of working for technology based companies. Wendy's alter ego, "AppHipMom" has been featured in Canadian Family, iVillage, Women in Biz, EverythingMom, BlogHer and Savvy Mom.