As a travel writer, I’m often on the road, managing my life from my iPhone. These are some of my favourite travel apps that make being on the road, flying frequently and organising my travels so much easier.
1. Google Maps
Free: iPhone, iPad and Android.
This is the app I use the most on my phone. Instead of taking a GPS with me when I travel, buying bulky mapbooks, or printing out maps and directions before I go, I use Google Maps to navigate. To avoid incurring massive data roaming costs while overseas, I usually buy a local SIM card and data. http://www.google.co.za/mobile/maps/
Free: Android, iPhone, iPad, Palm and Windows.
When planning where to stay, where to eat and what to do when I travel, TripAdvisor is one of my favourite resources. I use the app frequently when I travel – especially to find good local restaurants, and to review places while I’m staying there. A great function of the app is the “Near me now” feature, which picks restaurants, coffee shops, fast food places, hotels and attractions closest to where you are. It takes some of the spontaneity out of travel, but it does mean that you end up finding gems that you wouldn’t have otherwise come across.
Free: iPhone and Android
Instagram is my favourite social network and one of my most-used apps when I travel. I love sharing fun photos of my journeys on the platform, and being able to share the snaps easily with my Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts is great. I also like looking up the places I’m planning to travel to on Instagram using the “Explore” feature, to see what they look like, and get ideas for things to do and places to eat at.
This is a much needed app if you travel to hot, sunny climates like me. Sunscreen detects the UVI rating of your current location, and then sets a countdown timer based on your skin type and SPF of your cream, to let you know when you need to reapply sunscreen. 5.
Free, iPhone and Android.
On your next trip to Thailand or Tanzania you’re unlikely to write down the number of local emergency services before you leave home in case something goes wrong on your jungle trek or 4×4 route. This free app for iPhone and Android is a must for adventurous travellers: it sends your location to emergency services closest to wherever you are – a lifesaver in a sticky situation.
Free: iPhone, iPad and Android
Using Google Translate’s app is so much more convenient than carrying around a dictionary or phrasebook with you. It translates between 64 languages, and works a whole lot better than pointing and gesturing at communicating in foreign places (even though it doesn’t always get the translations exactly right).
7. XE Currency
Free: iPhone, Blackberry, Windows and Android
Get the latest currency conversions on this free app, which gives you live datat,a calculator and saves data for offline use.
Free: iPhone and iPad, Android, BlackBerry
I used to travel with printed out confirmations for my trips, stuffed at the bottom of my backpack or folded into my notebook where I couldn’t find them when I actually needed them before TripIt, an incredibly handy app that acts as an online travel itinerary and trip planner. You can either email your flight, hotel and car rental confirmation to the app, or use the auto import function if you’re a Gmail or Yahoo mail user, and TripIt will organise everything for you, and exports the information to your calendar. You can also use it to track your frequent flyer accounts and stay in travel-sync with friends.