Apps have become a huge part of the way we live our day-to-day lives. I can run my entire business from my phone if I need to, thanks to them! Anybody else remember the time before wifi? When you had to plug your computer into the phone jack and it took so long to connect with all that ‘weeee-aaaaahhhh, wee-ooh, wee-ooh, brrrrrrp’ business going on. Then, just when you got on, someone would call your house and you’d be kicked off and have to start all over again? That was a wild time. Now, we have everything we need, right in our hands. It’s amazing! I use quite a few different apps when I travel and wanted to share my 7 favourites with you today. These are the apps I know and love, the ones that really do make my travel life easier. What are yours?
Okay, so we all know Netflix is amazing and, quite possibly, the very best way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. But, Netflix really stepped their game up when they enabled the ‘download’ feature. You know when you go to book flights on a budget airline and the flight prices are super cheap but you know there’s no entertainment onboard? Netflix fixes this problem! Now, when Matt and fly on a budget airline, we download episodes of television shows or movies and watch them on the plane. It makes the flight easier but also saves us money as we can fly budget and not have to pay for in-flight entertainment. The only downside is you do need some space on your phone in order to download. I just delete a few non-essential apps, clear off my camera roll and then immediately delete all my downloads once I land.
If you’re keen to try and stay fit and healthy while you travel, this app is a good one. Matt and I use this one at the gym pretty much every second day, which makes it easy to transition it to travel-life as we’re already used to it. Basically, we come up with a workout then use the app to set it up. We might select 8 exercise movements and set the IntervalTimer up to give us 3 rounds, 1 minute per exercise with 1 minute of rest in-between each round. It’s a great way to make yourself stick to a workout and it helps you push yourself. Perfect for in-room workouts (think: push-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups, squat wall-holds, jump-lunges, curtsy lunges, glute-bridges, planks etc).
There are a million and one photo editing apps and if you load them all onto your phone, you’re going to run out of space and time very quickly. Seriously, I used to put my images through about 5 different photo apps, each doing something different. If like me, you’re sick of editing photos like a maniac, I suggest you look at getting rid of most of them and simply using the good ol’ iPhone photo app (I thought it was called iPhoto but my phone just says it’s called Photos). I’ve simplified my editing process a lot and now, for the majority of my photos, I only use iPhoto to edit. I use the fade filter then adjust the brightness, exposure, highlights and saturation if needed. All in the one spot! So easy.
4. Google Maps
I thought everyone knew how great Google Maps is for travel, but I told a close friend about this little hack recently and they had no clue! You can pre-load Google Maps while you have access to wifi and it will still work when you don’t. What does that mean? Well, imagine you’re in New York trying to find your way around. While you’re in your hotel room you can open Google Maps, search for New York and have the map load. Provided you’ve loaded it, it’ll stay there once you’re away from the wifi. More than just that, it’s still live and active – meaning you can see yourself as the little blue dot, move the map around and make sure you’re walking in the right direction. You can’t search, but you can save yourself getting horribly lost.
If I really need to do a bit more work on a shot, Snapseed is my go-to. It’s easy to use and just does a bit more than iPhoto/Photos/whatever the heck it’s called. The additional tools I think are great are the brush, which allows you to adjust the exposure, temperature and saturation in specific spots using your finger as the brush. Selective is great, you can drop a dot in a spot and adjust the structure, brightness, saturation and contrast (i.e I can adjust a shot that’s too dark in the background and too light in the foreground). I also really like the healing tool – it’s saved me a few times when I’ve taken a shot and realised there’s something gammy in it, like a big oil smudge on a plate of food or something embarrassing on my face that I didn’t see and I need to get rid off!
I feel like Uber is an obvious one but I still gotta put it on here because I use it so much when I travel. What’s great about Uber is just make things easy. You don’t have to worry about getting ripped off, having the right change or even the right currency. When travelling, Uber takes all the stress out of a dodgy cab ride, credit card fees or handing over cash. There are some place where you still pay cash, like Kuala Lumpur, but we still never had a bad experience with anyone trying to rip us off. Uber, man. It’s really changed the travel game for me.
Waze is an app Matt uses a lot and it’s actually really good. Similar to Google Maps you use it to find a route from one place to another. What’s especially great about this one is it takes into account traffic, road closures, time of day and all that other stuff that can impact travel time, giving you an accurate estimated time to get from place to place. The traffic info etc are all real-time, too, as they’re reported by other Waze users! Waze then suggests a few different alternative routes to help you avoid the traffic and get there faster and, if you set your notifications right, it’ll even let you know when it’s time to leave. But the thing I really like about Waze is you can share your trip with someone. So if I’m travelling by myself and just want Matt to know where I am, for my safety, I set my route then ‘send ETA’ and Waze texts where I’m travelling to and what time I should arrive. It’s just a neat little safety hack and can make travel easier too.
Want to know what camera gear we use? Watch this!
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer, YouTuber and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.