My Top 8 Travel Apps – That I never leave home without

Hello Wanderlusters!

Well it’s a fine day here in Southern Vietnam. The sun is shining high in the sky, children are playing and laughing in the street, an old man on the corner is hard at work while scooters whizz through the small alleyways, locals on their way home for lunch (and nap time) and the neighbourhood rooster is crowing loudly, a harsh reminder not to forget he’s stuck living in a tiny cage on the street all day.

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While travelling the last few years I’ve become increasingly reliant on my iPhone and am constantly looking for new apps to make my travels easier. When you’re country hopping every four to eight days as I did earlier this year you want your travel plans to be as seamless as possible, so you have more time for the fun stuff.

Swimming with the Dolphins in Cancun

Swimming with the Dolphins in Cancun

I find that I no longer print off a single itinerary, hotel confirmation or tour/day trip confirmation unless a website SPECIFICALLY states you MUST have a paper ticket. This makes travelling so much more efficient, and drastically reduces the weight of your backpack (which makes a huge difference when you’re travelling carryon only, and have a 7kg weight limit).

Now I’m sure you all have a few travel apps in your phone but I’d like to recommend what I use.

1. Tripit – Travel Organiser

Tripit is the master travel app. With the capability to store all of your itineraries via a link to your email address, you will surely not find an easier way to have all of your travel confirmation numbers in one place for quick access at the touch of a button.

Price: Free on the App Store, Upgrade to Tripit Pro for $50.99 per year – includes Flight Status Alerts, Check-in Reminders, Alternate Flights, Seat Tracking, Frequent Flyer Cards and Point Tracking, Fare Refund Monitoring, Automatic Trip Sharing and VIP Perks.

2. Hostelworld

Students and Backpackers take note! This fabulous app lets you search and book hostels all over the world. Even last minute hostels (as I myself have booked a few times just hours before I showed up to check-in). It takes all of 30 seconds to search hostels in your area and less than 2 minutes to book, pay and receive confirmation.

Price: Free on the App Store.

3. Boarding Pass

This app allows you to mobile check in for flights and store all of your boarding passes in one place, with 50+ airlines available (each with a direct link to the mobile check in facilities) it’s quick and easy!

Price: $1.99 on the App Store

4. Photosynth – Don’t miss out on capturing that panoramic view of a once in a lifetime sight ever again! With Photosynth you can easily stitch photos together and create beautiful Panoramic Images to share with family and friends. Send them a 360 degree view of your surroundings no matter where in the world you are.

Price: Free on the App Store

5. Kayak

This handy little app is a one stop travel shop, like a personal travel agent in your pocket. Use Kayak to search flights, hotels, and car rentals. You can also store your itineraries, track your flights, set alerts to notify you of cheap flights when you are in the planning stages of your trip and theres even some handy travel tools, such as an Airline Directory, Airport Information, Airline Baggage Fees, a Currency Converter and a Packing List.

Price: Free on the App Store

6. Instagram

This app allows you to produce quality professional looking photographs, I especially love InstaFrame (another app I use in conjunction with Instagram) – which lets you make gorgeous collages, and add interesting frames, backgrounds and text to your photos. From InstraFrame you save and open your photo in Instagram, where you can then easily share your photos with family and friends across a multitude of social media platforms.

Price: Instagram and Instaframe are both Free on the App Store

7. urbanspoon

Urbanspoon allows you to search for cheap eats to gourmet restaurants where you choose the city, type of meal and budget you’re after. ┬áThis app also has a cool “Shake” feature which brings up restaurants at random just like a Slot Machine when you shake your smartphone. The only downside is that not all countries are featured.

Price: Free on the App Store

8. XE Currency Converter

Last but in no way least, this wonderful little app allows you to search and convert any currency you like. You can also store up to 10 currencies that you will either use often or for an upcoming trip for fast easy conversion rates.

Price: Free on the App Store

Please comment with your favourite travel apps! I’d love your input, especially if there is a new app I haven’t heard of and I should!

Happy travelling Wanderlusters

Xoxo Siobhan.

Travelling: expect the unexpected

That's me standing on a rock jutting out over a cliff, hundreds of metres in the air on the inca trail in Peru.

That’s me standing on a rock jutting out over a cliff, hundreds of metres in the air on the Inca Trail in Peru.

Let me just say now that the title says everything you need to know about travelling. This goes for everything, not just unexpected amazing adventures, but unexpected fast new friendships, random acts of kindness from strangers, free gifts and of course something we often forget… unexpected expenses!!

While it is highly important to sit down and plan your holiday, to list all of the costs involved like flights, accommodation, insurance, food and activities, something that’s so important and should be at the TOP of your list is… “unexpected events”.

The last thing we all want to think when heading on a new adventure is the possibility of a tragedy while on holiday, but they are more common than you think… for example there was one holiday I took when I was younger that saw someone in my family unexpectedly pass away less than a couple weeks after I left for a 4 month trip.

So remember to start your holiday savings with an extra account or stash of cash as your ‘fallback’ and first savings goal. I recommend having enough money for an emergency last minute flight to your home country and then doubling it. If you’re travelling somewhere and suddenly find an extra activity you did not know about or a last minute event that’s happening while you are there and want to go but haven’t budget for an ‘extras’ fund you might miss out.

Who wants to spend the rest of their trip regretting what they didn’t do. Not me, that’s for sure!!

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. – Sydney J. Harris

Until next time

xoxo Siobhan.