As promised, here are the apps that we have either found invaluable to planning so far or have loaded up on the phone for use while away.
- Trello – this is a really handy list making tool that has completely overseen our preparation and kept us on track.
“Trello is a free web-based project management application made by Fog Creek Software. It uses a paradigm for managing projects known as Kanban”
- Tripit – Discovered this fairly recently when we started booking up accommodation for the trip over to the UK. This is a really good tool if your itinerary is fairly complex as it brings it all together in one place with minimal effort by just forwarding your confirmation emails to the app.
“The TripIt trip planner keeps all of your travel plans in one spot. It creates a master travel itinerary, and enables access to your itinerary planner online or on your mobile”
- Toshl – this is a really simple and user friendly finance/budgeting app. When searching for this, the top of mind priority was that it should be easy and quick enough that the Husband would actually use it! This hits the mark and provides a quick entry widget so it is sooo easy to add you expenses. This is the only app that we paid for but it’s a critical component to managing the money.
“Know where your money is going. All those coffees, car fill-ups and restaurant meals really add up. Get to know how much money you spend and for what.”
- XE – this is a currency converter so you know how much stuff is in real terms.
“Get free live currency rates, tools, and analysis using the most accurate data.”
- Airbnb – this app links you up with people that are renting out accommodation in their homes, either rooms or whole apartments or basements for instance. It is so much cheaper than standard accommodation options and you get to meet some interesting people along the way.
“Discover amazing, unique accommodations in 192 countries. With more than 10 million nights booked worldwide, Airbnb is the world leader in travel rentals”
- Symbaloo – this is a visual-based bookmarks manager so that you can quickly access websites you need as you are traveling such as the local train timetables. It is web-based so you can add the bookmarks on your computer with a quick button on your browser bar.
“With Symbaloo you surf with one click to all of your favorite websites. Symbaloo is an easy to use app and best of all, it’s free.”
- Pocket – given that most of the online stuff we will be doing with our phone will be through wifi hotspots and at our accommodation, this app is great for downloading something that you will need later offline. For instance, we can save the bus timetable to pocket or the information about a building we are visiting. It also syncs with our eReaders, which is handy.
“When you find something online that you want to view later, put it in Pocket.”
- Bank apps – we have also installed the phone apps for things like banks and credit cards that we will need to deal with while we are away. We have a couple of different accounts to build in redundancy in case of emergencies such as the Husband loosing something!
I also found out that our bank, ASB, has an electronic vault service free of charge where you can put important numbers and information such as passport numbers, credit card details and passwords etc. This seems like a great idea and very secure form what the blurb says … it’s probably safer than putting it in your sock.
- Dropbox – this is our online storage for documents and information we will need while we’re away. Things like CVs (just in case), files I need for the website, and receipts and itineraries etc.
“Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily”
- Hootsuite – this app is good for managing twitter and facebook accounts so we can stay connected and snoop on Daughter No.1 and No.2 to make sure they are ok.
“Enhance your social media management with HootSuite, the leading social media dashboard”
- Skype – this app provides communication, either video calls or phone calls, to family, friends and potential hosts.
“Make internet calls for free and cheap online calls to phones and mobiles with Skype.”
- Wifi Finder – shows you where you can find free wifi near your location
“Wi-Fi Finder is simply the best app for finding free or paid public Wi-Fi hotspots online or offline—perfect for Skype users on the go!”
- WordPress – this app gives me access to the website so that I can answer comments etc.
“WordPress for Android puts the power of publishing in your hands, making it easy to create and consume content. Write, edit, and publish posts to your site.”
- Trip Advisor – this app is mainly useful for the reviews I think. It lets you know about attractions and accommodation etc. but the key thing is that people add ratings for each place based on their own experiences.
“Unbiased hotel reviews, photos and travel advice for hotels and vacations – Compare prices with just one click”
- Hotel Tonight – this provides last minute deals on accommodation
“Book awesome last-minute hotel rooms at incredible rates in 12 countries and 150 destinations.”
- Hostel world – this is another option for accommodation finding when on the road.
“Heading off on your travels? The Hostelworld.com app is a quick and secure way to book a place to stay while on the go”
- Trivago – shows you where to get the best prices on accommodation
“trivago’s hotel search allows users to compare hotel prices in just a few clicks from more than 200 booking sites for over 700,000 hotels throughout the world.”
- Google Translate – this is a no-brainer given that we will be travelling around non-english speaking countries …
“Break through language barriers with Google Translate”
- Google Maps – again a no-brainer
- RMaps – Offline maps – these maps are off line so usefull when you don’t have wifi or a paper version.
“RMaps is an on and offline navigation tool that works with a range of maps such as Google Maps (Incl. Satellite and Terrain), MapQuest, and Open Street Maps (standard, cycle, transport etc…)”
- DB Navigator
- Direct Ferries
- London Tube and Bus
- British Airways
- My Train Companion
- National Rail Enquiries
These ones are all to do with travel in Europe but seem to be the best of the bunch from the research I’ve done.
- Seat Guru – this app tells you which are the best seats on different airplanes so when you sort your seat allocation, you’re not stuck with the one that doesn’t recline …
“Pick the best seat on the plane, find low airfares, and get real-time flight status alerts with the free SeatGuru(R) app”
- Field Trip – a great app for finding free things to do around where you are.
“Field Trip is your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you. When you get close to something interesting, it pops up a card with details about the location.”
- Viator – This one lets you know all the top local attractions and tours etc. in your location. It also shows any available deals going at the time.
“Our team of travel insiders is obsessed with finding the best things to do everywhere we travel. From Paris to Phuket to Perth, from traditional tours to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, we have something for every kind of traveler. And we are proud to say that after 17 experience-packed years, we are the world leader.”
- WC toilets – this is a useful app when you are in a new place and … well, you know
“Caught short? Search for the nearest public toilet”
- Toilet/Bathroom Finder – does the same job as the one above so I am waiting to find out which one is more accurate
“This is the biggest world toilet database.” (who new such a thing existed!)
- Onavo count – lets you know how much data you’re using on your phone
“Onavo Count is a stunning app with intuitive reporting to help you understand how you use mobile data”
- Battery Doctor – great little app that helps you set up and save the battery life of your phone. It has a neat little widget that lets you easily turn on and off power hungry functions such as wifi. It also runs power checks and will optimise the phone for you.
“Battery Doctor, the professional power manager, is the best FREE battery saving app capable of extending your battery life.”
- Speedtest – this app checks the internet speed that you have found in a café for instance. However, apparently it does use up data if not on free wifi.
“Use Ookla Speedtest for easy, one-tap connection testing in under 30 seconds—accurate anywhere thanks to our global network.”
We also have a ‘dark wallpaper’ app because apparently dark backgrounds on your phone use less power to run. Light backgrounds obviously require light, which consumes power. Simple … and good to know.
Let me know if you have found any other ‘must-have’ apps and I will check them out. I will probably also put this list in the resources area so it’s easier for you to refer back to if you find it useful.