Technology and our smartphones in particular are becoming so much more than a way to keep up with friends. They are in our classroom, they can give us quick access to information and they even make traveling more accessible.
The five apps below have made my travels much easier and range from tracking your steps to tracking your cash.
I am one of those who love it. Love both hosting and staying with people. It usually takes only a couple of messages until you’ve found a knowledgeable companion that will help you get immersed into the country’s culture. And if you stay with somebody particularly welcoming, you may even end up with a home-cooked native dish.
Couchsurfing’s app puts the power of finding hosts, getting through their profiles and references, and messaging in your palm. It makes traveling on the cheap and keeping in touch with hosts easy as pie.
Moves is not an app that would be impossible to travel without, but it certainly makes it more fun especially for metrics junkies.
This activity tracker uses GPS to track your movement throughout the day and it’s most commonly used as a fitness app. However, the feature that marks the stops you make proves quite useful for geotagging photos. It can also help you find out more about that monument whose name you can’t quite remember.
It’s easy on the battery life— my old iPhone 4 lasts a full day with the app in precision mode, and the map that it draws is something to brag about.
Deciding how much to tip and dividing it between you and your friends is hard enough as it is, and things only get worse when you go abroad. Conde Nast Traveler has an extensive guide on tipping abroad, but I dare you to read through it at a restaurant.
This is where GlobeTipping comes in. It has information about the tipping etiquette for over 200 countries and a calculator that will help you split the bill.
There’s always the threat of being ripped off when exchanging currencies abroad. Sometimes avoiding shady is not enough but don’t worry, there’s an app for that.
Xe is the perfect tool if you are backpacking through several countries with different currencies. It will give you accurate and up-to-date information about exchange rates. The feature that makes the app better than the rest is that you can download all the data via WiFi for later use, eliminating the need for pricey data roaming fees.
Things go out of hand financially surprisingly easy when traveling abroad. Keeping an eye on your travel budget is the key to successfully making it through the whole journey.
Trouble is, you don’t always have access to your bank account, but that’s ok because Mint takes care of this problem. As long as you enter the cash or pending transactions, you get an approximation of your financial state, without having the need to be constantly connected to the Internet.
The app comes in handy even before you set off – you can set saving goals and analyze your spending habits thanks to the great graphs that Mint generates.
You’re almost ready to set out
Now that you are becoming the tech-savvy traveler, don’t forget to keep your phone or tablet’s battery charged. As handy as USB chargers can be, a couple of days away from electricity is all it takes to lose the advantage of being exchange rate expert. Get yourself a foldable, solar charger or a dynamo charger, and empty batteries becomes a thing of the past.
I’m sure that you have a travel app that has saved your life abroad. What is it? Share it in the comments below and help me and others on the next big journey.