Why Your Smartphone Is the Ultimate Travel Companion
As a travel enthusiast, you have visualized your ultimate travel companion many times. You want a professional photographer, someone well versed in a variety of foreign languages, a budgeting master and someone who has never been lost a day in their life. What you may not have realized is that your ultimate travel companion has been in your pocket all along. It’s your smartphone.
Gone are the days of lugging around a DSLR or a point-and-shoot camera. Smartphone cameras are improving every day and are now leading the way in photography. Besides taking high-definition photos with high megapixel counts, smartphones such as iPhone, Samsung or the LG V10 take crystal clear videos using the Steady Record function, which ensures great footage even while you’re moving.
With a smartphone, you also have access to a plethora of professional-level editing apps (free and paid for) that enable you to make quick adjustments to your images and give you the option to edit the brightness, contrast, saturation, shadows and orientation yourself.
With some creativity and if you treat your smartphone with the right accessories, it really is a very decent camera, and most of the time, the best you have with you anyway.
Travel isn’t always glamorous. A lot of time is spent flying on planes, waiting around in airports and sitting in buses or trains. It’s nice to sit in silence, people watch and admire the beautiful scenery for a little while, but let’s be honest, a 12-hour flight gets boring. That’s when your smartphone comes to the rescue.
To pass the time, download music on apps like Spotify or Tidal to listen offline or purchase songs from iTunes. Be prepared with game applications, such as Angry Birds, Clash of Clans and Candy Crush. Download podcasts, books and educational and productive games, such as Duolingo, Elevate and Luminosity.
Traveling to a new city is difficult enough, but traveling to a new country where you’re not comfortable with the primary language that’s spoken can be a nightmare. With your smartphone, download the map of the area you’re in over Wi-Fi. As long as you don’t shut down the app, you can use it even when you’re on airplane mode. If your travels involve public transportation, apps such as Transit App and Moovit provide you with bus, train, metro and subway timetables. Waze has also become a must to help you navigate crowded cities.
If you’re traveling long term, money management is crucial to the success of your trip. Smartphone apps like Mint sync up your bank accounts, mutual funds, IRAs and other accounts to help you access and manage all your cash in one place. The app sends you notifications when bills are due, analyzes your spending habits and helps you create a budget to better manage your money, even while traveling.
Your ultimate travel companion would speak the native tongue of the country you’re traveling in, and your smartphone does just that. With free apps like Google Translate, any written translation is generated when you speak, type, photograph or draw onto your screen.
If you want to sound like a local, TripLingo not only provides the standard translation, but it includes the formal, casual and slang version as well. If you’re traveling to China, Japan or Korea, Waygo provides a translation when you hold your phone’s camera up to written words. It even saves your translations to access them later for practicing purposes and is available off-line, so you don’t need access to Wi-Fi.