How to enjoy your travels with the best iPhone apps
How to enjoy your travels with the best iPhone apps
Over the years, I’ve shed the tech as I travel light and lighter. I no longer take my laptop, video or SLR camera (nor any of those cables and chargers), nor do I take my iPad. Instead, I travel with only my iPhone.
I’m sharing with you how I use my mobile for all my travel needs: these are my preferred apps and tips.
Keep in touch with family and friends
Facebook and Messenger
Like most people, I enjoy photographing my trip and posting my photos and brief comments on Facebook. I keep this to a minimum, usually curating one or two good shots to depict the best of the day. If you enjoy writing a digest of your day, like my friend Debbie does, posting this on Facebook is a nice way of sharing the fun of your travels.
I like using Messenger for the more personal messages - there’s no need to tell the whole world every detail of your dinner!
Run your business while away
Email and calendar
If you run a small business, or if you need to stay in touch with your clients, email is the best way of doing that. Coupled with my calendar, I manage essential business needs (although I try to avoid doing that) when I’m overseas.
Instagram and ColorStory
I use Instagram to promote my business. I publish a select few images - curated and edited with ColorStory - while I’m travelling. If you prefer to schedule your Instagram feed while you’re away, Planoly will help you do that.
Research your trip
Even though I research and plan my trip prior to departure, inevitably I’ll need to find out more while I’m away. Whether I need to Google or search specifically, I use the inbuilt Safari browser - just like at home - to find anything, anywhere. Remember that using these apps is predicated on your having internet access. If you need to do any hardcore internet searching, use the hotel’s wifi to do so.
Manage your money
Remember the days when you had to buy and exchange travellers cheques? No? You’re too young! Believe me, it was onerous. These days I load my travel card with cash in the preferred currency to pay bills or draw money while overseas. Occasionally I check my banking app, which is useful if I want to top up my allowance.
Phone and message
I need a taxi! This is when having a phone is really helpful. Other than that, I avoid using my phone overseas as the charges are so high. Occasionally I use the message service, but check your provider’s charges as even SMS can be quite expensive.
Before I leave home, I research my destinations using Google Maps. Knowing I may not have internet access while walking the streets of the cities, I photograph the maps (screen capture) and keep them in my photos app for in situ reference. This is handy if you need to plot your path while walking or driving through a city.
It’s great to wake up in the mornings to a nice tune. I set my alarm for a range of wake up call times. If I’m having a nap during the day, I choose a relevant time, an hour or two after I’ve closed my eyes.
My iPhone light is an invaluable help. I use it at night in strange hotels to find my way from my bed to the bathroom. I use it in dark rooms and theatres to find my seat. I use it at restaurants to read the menu (those gloomy cafes). I use it to assist in DIY projects. I’ve even used it to help see a splinter so we can remove it. Just don’t shine it in someone’s eyes as it’s pretty bright.
When we arrived in Tokyo at Shinjuku station, I used my compass inside the railway building to find north (our exit) as we had no idea which direction we were facing. I’ve also used the compass when walking to check we’re going in the right direction. This is helpful if you don’t speak the local language.
Rest and recreation
Kindle and iBooks
I read almost exclusively on Kindle - and that’s at home as well as on holiday. I say ‘almost’ because I do like to have a magazine with me for those few occasions when I can’t use my mobile, like in the bright sunlight. I sometimes load documents in iBooks, particularly work reference publications.
TV and Netflix
I’m a bit of a video addict so I load up a few series from iTunes and watch them on my iPhone TV app. Remember to delete videos after you’ve watched them to minimise your mobile storage. If there’s good wifi available, I catch up on Netflix videos.
Like videos, I stock up on Audible books before I travel. I prefer to listen to a book on the plane rather than read one. It’s more relaxing on my eyes and sometimes I even drift off and sleep, which is great.
Procreate and Paper
I’m a digital sketcher so I use Procreate for my travel sketches. I use a Bamboo stylus for more detail than with my finger. If you’re just starting out as a digital sketcher, I recommend Paper, which is simple and easy to use.
LetterPress and Words2
At the moment I play a couple of games with friends. For a word strategy game, I recommend LetterPress. If you’re a Scrabble player, you might like Words2. As these are cloud based, you will only be able to play online. But there are many other games you can solo play.
Capture the moment
My most used app is my camera. I take lots of photos and video as well. I like to capture travel experiences in short videos, which I edit into longer travelogues when I’m back home. Capturing images for reference is handy too: you don’t have to write down any long descriptions; just snap the exhibition text.
I use Notes to capture my thoughts, ideas, points of interest. I’m not an on the spot blogger, although I have blogged using Tumblr. I prefer to write about my trip after the event.
During our trip to Japan, I decided to audio record our experiences using Audio Capture. This was good fun as I also captured various sounds, like running water and bells. Capturing audio is less intrusive than video.
We recorded our daily events and experiences. Even though it’s a bit amateurish, I published the recordings as a podcast, which you can listen to via this link or at Planepack Radio at iTunes.
I’m sure there are many more possible apps that make your trip better. What do you use? I’d love to hear from you.
About the author
I’m Slobodanka Graham, light traveller, content entrepreneur and iPhone fan. As you can tell, I use my iPhone for most things. I’m not sponsored by Apple, I just like their products a lot!