Technology for the win! I know many people have qualms with technology and social media. I totally get it and you do you. I've met travelers who don't even have phones. For me, I put a lot of trust and information into my phone for smoother travels.
In no particular order, these are 10 apps I use either daily or weekly while traveling.
Maps.me is a *drumroll please* maps app. You can download any map while you have data or wifi and then use it offline at anytime. I use it on the daily. I pin places on my map while driving or walking around a city and make a note of it like, "cool building--revisit" or "my hostel" so I can redirect to it while offline. It tells you how fast you're walking, how much farther you have to go, the time, etc. It's as good as any online map.
Google Translate can download a language so you can use it offline. Right now, I have Italian downloaded through the app and when I can't get by with my simple knowledge of the language in public I refer to this app. It's very useful!
WhatsApp allows me to text, call, and Facetime locals and my friends and family back home. It relies on wifi. If you have a local sim then you don't need wifi to use it and you can simply send texts like normal.
I am always on social media for specific reasons. I love keeping in contact with people but I'm also a photographer constantly looking to network with others. I also like to keep my IG updated.
I use Instagram hashtags to contact locals, photographers, travelers, and models. I DM them and have even scheduled shoots and meetings with people this way!
I use Meetup to attend photography, language, and social events! Meetup is amazing. You can find yoga, Instagram walks, happy hour and bar nights, language exchange over coffee, and more events through Meetup.
I also love using Couchsurfing. It's not just for finding a place to crash. You can meet locals, start discussions, help people out who are looking for places to live or give them tourist advice in your listed city, and more. I recently began a thread in Couchsurfing asking if anyone wanted to model for a photoshoot and got about 20 responses in 2 days!
"How do people make their IG travel photos look so good?" you ask! It's called VSCO. It's an app on the phone that helps edit your phone photos. You can even upload them straight to your VSCO grid. It's great for transforming a bland photo. I also love Snapseed for more fine tuning in an image.
I've recently discovered that it's basically impossible to listen to music on your phone without paying about $10/month now. Or maybe at least for me because I have an Apple iPhone. Long gone are the days of simply downloading music from your iTunes straight to your phone as you should freely be able to but NOOOOO. So I use Spotify, or to be honest, I bum off my friend's Spotify which is super nice and cool haha. You can download playlists and songs and listen to them offline. (yay offline!)
Podcasts & iBooks
Podcasts and iBooks are life saving while traveling. If you're like me then you don't pay for extra data to use while traveling. You simply rely on wifi. In that case, you sometimes go hours and hours without wifi. You can download iBooks and Podcasts when you have data or wifi and then use them offline! I use these when I'm at a cafe, walking around a city, at the beach, or if it's a transportation day. These offline apps are seriously the best.
Favorite podcasts so far:
Coffee Break Spanish + Coffee Break Italian
Sooo Many White Guys
2 Dope Queens
TED Radio Hour
This American Life
(suggest me more if you have them!)
These are so important! I use FlixBus, Treni Italia, NJ Transit, Go Euro, Skyscanner, and more depending on the city, state, or country I'm in! You can buy tickets online, check timetables, and get deals with these apps.
Hostelworld + Couchsurfing +Airbnb
These are my go to apps when I'm looking for a place to crash. Couchsurfing is the cheapest but takes the longest to use and schedule with people. Hostelworld is simple and amazing for finding the right hostel for you. When I'm more financially stable or splitting the cost with friends then Airbnb is awesome!
If you have any questions about these apps then let me know! I love helping!
I always always always check the weather while traveling. For some reason on my mom's side of the family we are pretty obsessed with the weather but I digress. If you plan to take a boat tour, hike, take a walking tour, or anything really then you need to be prepared. I'm much more active outside while traveling so I rely heavily on the hourly forecast to monthly forecast.
There are so many more apps to use while traveling and I would love to know what other travelers use! Safety apps? News apps? Social apps? Maps and language apps? List them or your blog post about them! It's so good for other travelers to be connected to help and entertainment if they so choose.