Put your hand up if you can honestly say you could live without apps … exactly, no-one has their hand up!
At 19 years old myself and 5 friends packed up our backpacks and headed to Thailand on a 6 week summer adventure. We were armed with one copy of the Lonely Planet’s guide to Thailand between us and our common sense … and if I’m really being honest, that was probably in short supply!
Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time, and we scraped by. But nothing was booked in advance, travel blogs weren’t particularly a ‘thing’ (not that we knew of anyway) and we didn’t do that much research before we left.
We literally relied on our trusty travel book every step of the way! You can read more on that in my post Thailand 2007…What’s The Worst That Can Happen?!
Looking back now, I have absolutely no idea how we managed! Living in London there isn’t a single day that goes by when I don’t use an app to get around, whether is it City Mapper to get me from A to B, the Bus Times App to find out when the next bus I need is arriving or Uber for when I’m feeling lazy!
I can safely say I would be 500% more nervous setting off on my own to the other side of the world if my iPhone wasn’t loaded with things to help me every step of the way.
Below I have listed my top 4 Travel Apps which I literally couldn’t manage without!
If you can arrive in a new city, have a quick look at the map on the hotel wall and then navigate yourself around without using a map then you are a hero. I’m not one of those heroes. I need a map that moves in real time with me, so I can tell when I have taken a wrong turn, not a paper map that doesn’t alert me to the fact I’m lost again.
But turning your phone’s data on out of Europe is one of the most expensive mistakes you’ll ever make.(I know … dramatic! Worse things happen, but it really can be expensive when you’re out of the EU!) Luckily Maps Me was born and lets you download an area of a map to use offline. So for example knowing I am going to be arriving in Cambodia, I can save my hotel location, that really cool restaurant I saw on Instagram last week, and any other attractions I want to visit. I then download that countries map – when I get to Cambodia, whether I am in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh I can now wander around without my data roaming turned on and use my map I was so organised to plan out. Smug much??
‘Monzo, what is Monzo??’ I hear you ask cry? Well let me tell you Monzo is a wonderful thing!
If you haven’t yet read my post on Life with Monzo then you can read all about the perks of a Monzo card here in my post How my Monzo changed my life! But since this post is dedicated to the apps I love in terms of travel I’m going to keep this short, sweet and assume you have already read my post to get you in the know!
- Monzo doesn’t charge you to take cash out at an ATM in MOST countries (some ATM’s may charge you, but stick with the bigger banks and generally you’re fine)
- Monzo doesn’t charge international transaction fees
- Monzo is linked to an App and you can check your spending in real time, and see exactly how much those $189 shoes were in real life money
- Monzo only lets you spend what you have already pre-paid on to the card, ideal for when you’re keeping a beady eye on those finances
- Monzo cards come in a really cool pink colour
Rome 2 Rio
Don’t be fooled by the name, Rome2Rio doesn’t just work for these two locations. Rome2Rio is your new favourite app to get you from A to B by any means of transport you choose.
Simply open the app, enter your starting location and where you are heading et voila!! You will be given a list showing the mode of transport, the time it will take, and the estimated cost! Easy!
I love using Rome2Rio because you can easily see all the options available and when you’re travelling on a budget like I am it really helps give a clear picture of what you should expect to pay.
XE Currency Converter
‘Foreign money is still really money, remember that Helen, you can’t just blow it on rubbish’
Wise words I have heard from more than once source! Luckily I have my XE Currency Converter app which saves my life approximately 45 times a day!
While you are connected to the internet open the app, add the currencies you want to compare to the list. You can have up to 10. The one at the top is the currency you are currently using, so for example I am in Sri Lanka right now and Rupees are at the top. I type in the amount in rupees and underneath I can see how much it would be in UK pounds (and in all the other currencies I have saved below that). The exchange rates update when you next connect to the internet, so the rates stay as up to date as possible and you can keep track easier of your money.
This app is honestly so useful when you’re moving around countries, as once you get your head around the exchange rate you’ll be moving on to the next place and starting again, this way, you can keep checking back for reference and don’t accidentally spend £90 on face cream you thought was under £10.
Are there any apps you think I need to know about to help me out on my travels? Comment below if you think I’m missing out! Thank you 🙂