When we go travelling we like to think of ourselves disappearing off the grid, disconnecting from the world, and living like adventurers of old. The truth is that we remain glued to our phones, using them for everything from posting pictures of our latest cocktail on Instagram to checking our bank balance and booking a spur of the moment bungee jump.
The truth is, keeping our phones with us can improve our travel experience immeasurably. We’ve put together a list of the apps you must download before you leave home. Some are obvious, some aren’t hugely exciting, but all of them will improve your backpacking adventure.
If you want the best discounts and cheapest fares for student and youth travellers, look no further than the StudentUniverse app. Search easily, and if you have any questions you can get in touch straight from the app!
Keeping track of elaborate travel plans and documents can be a huge headache. Forward all your confirmation emails to TripIt and they’ll put together a master itinerary accessible on your phone. Sorted!
Turn photos from your phone into physical postcards to send to your loved ones anywhere in the world. Old school travel communication meets the 21st century.
It’s always wise to learn a few phrases of the local language when you travel, and Bravolol makes it easy by letting you tag your favourites, all accessible without an internet connection.
Calculating foreign exchange rates is tricky at the best of times, so on the move it can be a nightmare. The XE Currency app is an easy and reliable converter to carry with you.
Navmii is designed to take the hassle out of driving, by providing detailed satellite navigation shaped by constantly updating traffic information and more. It’ll even rate your driving ability.
Okay, it’s not foolproof, but Google Translate can comfortably translate simple phrases. Add it to your Android phone and it’ll tie into other apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
You’re probably already using TripAdvisor to look up the best hotels, find the most interesting sites, and post your snottiest reviews of them all. Keep it up!
You might have heard of a little app called Skype. It lets you keep in touch with friends and family all over the world, usually for free, as long as you have an internet connection. It’s good!
Get ideas for the next leg of your journey by watching live video from other travellers, or broadcast your own experiences to an audience all over the world, as they happen.
TravelSafe gives you a huge database of common emergency numbers to carry with you, all available without an internet connection. Better safe than sorry.
Foreign cities can be confusing. CityMapper offers constantly updated info public transport, walking and cycling routes, and more, to help you get around quickly and easily. Essential.
Craving a particular dish while you’re overseas? Foodspotting not only tells you where to find it, but lets users post images and reviews of individual dishes to help you find the very best.
Imagine a comprehensive travel guide updated every three months with new content to reflect the current season. Now meet Seasonal Cities! You’ll always be up to date.
We know, you probably have this already, but it still deserves a mention. Instant communication, for free, anywhere in the world, allowing you to be together even when countries apart.
Flying can be stressful, so keep up to date with all your flight details in one simple app. You can even set push notifications to inform you immediately of any changes.
You’re going to be taking a lot of photos while you travel, and Diptic is a great tool for turning them into fun and attractive collages using a huge range of features.
A lot of these apps – unbelievably – require the internet, so make sure you can find it! This app will seek out accessible Wi-Fi, tell you which is strongest, and take you right to it.
Worried you’ll forget something? Tell PackPoint where you’re going, for how long, and what you’re doing, and it’ll give you a checklist of everything you need to pack. Better than a fussy parent.
This comprehensive global trip planner can help you get pretty much anywhere, showing you every travel option along with estimated travel times and cost of fares.
Sleep Talk Recorder
Sharing a dorm isn’t ideal for people who talk in their sleep. This app springs to life when it hears talking to record you – or others, for blackmail purpose – so you can listen back when you wake.
We all love a map, and Roadtrippers uses maps to help you plan out a road trip, or to find an amazing place on the spur of the moment. It’s USA-focused right now, but hopefully it’ll expand soon.