Long gone are paper maps, traveller’s cheques and having to work out complicated currency conversions in your head. In today’s technological savvy world, most of what you need to plan your trip and venture out to see the world is available at your fingertips.
Here are the best mobile apps I’ve found to assist me in my globetrotting adventures.
This app will change a traveller’s life. No longer do you have to rely on having a data connection to find your way, or pulling out a crumpled paper map – all you need is the Maps. me app on your phone.
Firstly, you need to use Wi-Fi to download a map of your next destination – then you’re good to go without data. Depending on the country size, there may be one map for a country or it will be broken into several maps.
Then you can easily find where you want to go whether it be accommodation, train stations or a tourist attraction. The app will find the best route whether it be on foot or on wheels, and tell you how long it takes you to get there. The app relies on GPS so as long as it can find your location, it’s good to go.
Maths is not my strong point and after moving countries every couple of days when travelling through Southeast Asia, I’ve concluded that I couldn’t live without a currency converter app.
I simply choose the currency of the country I’m in and figure out how that much is in Australian dollars. It’s definitely helpful when you have to figure out how much 200,000 Vietnamese Dong is in Australian dollars!
This app is particularly useful when you arrive in a country and you need to figure out how much to get out at an ATM.
Booking.com and Hostel World are my go to apps for booking accommodation.
The Booking.com app is very easy to use. You can easily filter results by how much you want to spend or even type of accommodation. For me, I just stick on the Hostels filter and then search for a place to sleep based on ratings and reviews.
HostelWorld is also simple to use, and offers ratings and reviews just like Booking.com.
Need to call a phone overseas? Then Skype is your best friend. It uses a Wi-Fi connection to make the call and all you need to do is load credit up. Most calls work out usually about 50 cents each. I loaded up $7.99 in Skype credit and it lasted me six months of calling my parents back home in Australia every few weeks.
If you need to call someone that’s on your Facebook, just go via Facebook Messenger. The app uses the Wi-Fi connection to make the call at no cost.
Figuring out the best way to get from A to B? Rome 2 Rio is my go to site to figure out if buses or trains are a viable option to get where I want to go.
You simply type in your start and destination point and Rome 2 Rio will give you a list of options from buses, trains, planes, ferries or a taxi.
It’s a good starting point for research and is also a great resource if you don’t have access to a Lonely Planet guidebook on the road.
It’s no longer necessary to lug a phrasebook along on your travels. To use the Google Translate app, download the language file you need to your phone before you leave home.
For example, for South America I would download the Spanish language file. Once the file is downloaded, you can translate words or phrases on the spot without data.
It’s also handy to translate signs and menus. Simply click on the Camera icon, hover over the words you need to translate, and then boom, you can now understand what you’re looking at. Mind blown.
You’re not likely to use this one often but it might just come in handy. This app enables you to take a photo of a document and then it will convert to a PDF so you can easily email it – and it can be easily viewed by the receiver.
It came in handy when my cards got skimmed and I had to submit paperwork to dispute charges on my cards. It may also come in handy if you need to submit travel insurance claims, or any other unexpected paperwork.
This is not something to help me travel as such, but it’s a handy app to help show your family and friends what you’ve been doing on your overseas adventures. Snapseed is an easy to use photo editing tool to give your photos an extra boost. It’s much better than the Instagram filters which degrade photo quality.
There you have it, some of my favourite apps to use when globetrotting! They really can make your trip easier to navigate and make the planning process a whole lot less daunting.
Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 60 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @thelittleadventurer. Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.