If there's one thing that I make sure I never leave home without it is my phone. Naturally, we live in a society where technology is advancing rapidly and our mobile phone's are becoming an ever more integral part of our life. No longer restricted to simple calls and texts, the mobile phone is replacing the guide book as the best travel guide. With thousands of apps available this post is here to help you sift through the masses to uncover some hidden gems, which I honestly could not travel without. Best of all, all of these apps are freeeeeeeee!
1. Google Maps; Okay, starting with the obvious which most of us will already have on our phones. Before you sigh at the obviousness of my first choice, I bet not all of you will know that you can download maps to use offline. This is perfect for if you are travelling somewhere where you are unsure about the internet or whether you will have wifi. Even better if you are travelling to another country and will hardly be able to use your phone at all. Simply download your destination before you go and you will be able to search for and plan routes in that area no matter where you are or if you have signal.
2. Touchnote; This is probably my favourite discovery on my list. Gone are the days of pouring over postcard stands trying to pick the perfect one from each family member, then having the often confusing experience of trying to navigate the local post office and then still arriving home before your postcard does. Touchnote lets you create your own postcards using photographs from in whichever layout you wish, then customise a message and send it all from your phone! Handy eh?! What's even better is that your postcard normally arrives within 2-3 days of you sending it! At £10 for 5 postcards (slightly more if you buy them individually) including making them and delivering them I think this one is such a winner.
3. Flixbus; This one is particularly for those of you in Europe with a serious case of wanderlust. Flixbus is a European travel company that lets you travel around Europe for an incredibly cheap price. With tickets starting at five euros it allows you to do some serious travelling without breaking the bank. The app helpfully allows you to store your tickets so no need to faff printing off tickets simply make sure your phone is charged and get it scanned as you get on the bus. Do be warned though, I would always add an hour on to the time it says you are going to arrive. Although cheap and incredibly comfortable, it is not necessarily the quickest form of travel.
4. Caxton FX; If you are planning slightly longer trips or want to visit multiple countries with different currencies this is a great app for you! As a currency card, you can easily load your card with whichever currency you require and use your card anywhere that accepts a Mastercard. This has been essential throughout my year abroad so far as I can load it with euros and then use it in almost all shops and restaurants and for online purchases. With the current volatility in the exchange market, features like the buyback guarantee make exchanging money and travelling that little bit easier.
5. Free Prints; Now how are you going to document all those travelling memories? The free prints app gives you 45 free photo prints a month and all you need to pay for is the delivery. I know, I'm yet to find a catch too! Simply upload the photos from your phone or link it to your Facebook and Instagram and you're set. A few days later you're prints will arrive at your house all nicely packaged and ready to be scrapbooked, stored in an album or passed round all your relatives who can't wait to hear about your trip!
If you have any travel app recommendations then please leave them in the comments. Hopefully these are helpful particularly for those fellow year abroaders out there! XOXO