With a smartphone and the abundance of apps out there it has never been easier to travel than now. While years ago I used to print out maps, hotel reservations, sunrise and sunset times and whatever information I needed during travelling, now I have all that information accessible on my selfphone.
On our journey around the world it was especially helpful to have a set of apps, which, for example, helped us find our hotels, put me in the right spot for sunset or simply made information available when I didn’t have internet.
So before I take you along our travels through Bolivia and Chile in the upcomming articles I want to share my most used travel apps on my Android phone during our world tour.
Screenshot of the screen which houses my travel apps
I started using Uber while travelling through Chile. When staying in Santiago I installed the app and since then frequently used Uber as transport in cities. It’s just so easy and convenient.
While with other taxis I always have to talk to the driver to get an estimate of how much the ride will cost, with Uber the app already provides it before I reserve my ride. Connected with my Paypal account I don’t have to use my credit card or cash either. I just get off at my destination and that’s it.
Another thing I like are ratings of drivers and the interactive map which shows me exactly when my Uber arrives. When time is short that feature really helpes to ease my mind.
For one thing I have all my reservations available offline and with it a good overview about upcomming stays. The app is also interconnected with Here Maps, Google Maps and Uber. So I can, for example, start a navigation to one of our hotels in a few clicks directly from the booking app.
And when I have internet it’s easy to use it to change booking dates, do cancellations or book another hotel.
With six months of travelling there were a lot of dates to keep track of. There were flights and busses to catch, an occasional boat ride to a destination on an island, hotel stays and some other things we didn’t want to miss.
During the planning phase I meticulously filled my google calendar with all this information. For example, for our flights I added our eTix numbers, seat reservations and the departure terminal in the comment besides the departure and arrival times.
All this information was then synced to my phone so I had all the dates available offline. For longer stays at a location I also added some possible photo locations and helpful links.
So this app isn’t just a calendar for me, it’s more like a notebook.
Sure, there is Google Maps. So why use Here Maps? The answer is simple. I was able to download all the maps for the countries we were visiting during our journey around the world (except for Laos and Cambodia) and thus always knew were we needed to go even if I didn’t have internet.
This was especially helpful in South America to navigate taxi drivers to our hotels. Because quite often they didn’t know where our hotel was. In Australia and New Zealand I used offline navigation for our campervan tour. This was quite handy, because it helped safe data on our prepaid sim.
All the maps only took up around 2GB of data from my phones internal memory.
There’s no denying that google has more detailed maps than Here. For this reason I use Google Maps mainly when staying in urban areas. For such defined areas it’s also easy to save an offline map.
I wouldn’t use Google though to download maps for a complete country. This is quite cumbersome and takes up a lot of memory. Thus my preference of Here Maps when it comes to contrywide navigation.
The good thing with the new versions of Google Maps is that I can now download a complete navigation while having access to a wifi net. Then I can use offline navigation similar to Here.
All in all both apps are important for me and together provide great navigation during travelling.
When it comes to navigation during hikes, I needed another application though. I was looking for a free application with access to the very detailed outdooractive maps, which I like a lot.
While the Alpenverein App is more focused on the european Alps when it comes to the catalogue of pre-defined hikes, it can easily be used to plan hikes in other places around the globe. Using the topographic maps of outdooractive, which contain a detailed net of tracks, I was even able to put together the hikes I did in Vilcabamba.
Saving the planned routes together with the maps for offline access and navigation is another nice feature. When hiking to my photo location in Tongariro National Park at 3am in the morning this was especially helpful because I always knew exactly how far I still had to go. With a 10km hike this was important because I wanted to be on location an hour before sunrise.
The app also provides some other basic functions like compass and altimeter, which I used a lot in the Andes.
This app is so helpful and so easy. I did a lot of research about the next places we visited during travelling. Very important were, for example, location guides for photography. With Pocket I downloaded those onto my selfphone so I had them always available even without internet access.
Trip Advisor has maybe the most complete database of ratings of hotels, tours, places to eat or locations in general. While I don’t agree with some of those ratings – just for the fact that people expect different things while travelling – there’s no denying that those ratings can help to avoid bad travel experiences. Usually the star rating alone is no good indicator for me though. But browsing the comments often gives me good hints.
I use Wunderground for weather forecasts for some time now and I find it quite accurate. Especially for New Zealand I was able to successfully adjust our route based on the forecast I got from this app.
A very popular app for landscape photographers and for good reason. I need to know exactly when and where the sun will rise or set to plan my photo shoots and the Ephemersis app presents me that information. From all the apps in this list it’s the only app, which is not free. But it’s really worth the few bucks.
To quickly calculate prices in Euro while travelling countries with sometimes very confusing exchange rates I frequently use this app. It’s just reassuring to know that the 2000000 Dong I just withdrew from the ATM were really just 80 Euro or the 100000 Chilean Pesos 145 Euro. It’s crazy what numbers you sometimes find on bills and when travelling to another country every two to four weeks it can be really hard to correctly do the math without some help.
The Nut Tracker* is one of the coolest and simplest travel accessories I own. I bought it because during our journey around the world we had many bus rides and I wanted to make sure that our luggage would arrive with us. In each of our large bags I put a tracker. When we were in the bus I could check on our luggage using the Nut App to make sure it didn’t accidentaly get unloaded during a stop or that it got loaded into the bus in the first place. Because with Cruz del Sur, for example, we dropped the luggage at a counter and it got loaded by the employees.
The tracker even worked on some smaller planes. Loosing luggage is always a fear and knowing that the luggage is on board helps to ease my mind.
I should mention though, that I would never solely rely on apps and my selfphone. I had an encrypted archive with all reservations, flight tickets and whatever information I need for our travels available on my dropbox. Redundancy is always good!
* This is an Amazon Affiliate-Link. If you use it to buy or book something, I’ll get a little commission