Ever ask yourself what is the one thing you can’t live without? I’ve asked myself this and of course, it’s my family, but in terms of technology, it’s definitely my iPhone. Yup, I LOVE my iPhone because I literally can do anything and everything in the palm of my hand. It allows me to keep in contact with my family, check-in with my finances, book trips, and more importantly creep on friends from different parts of the world (Don’t act like you don’t do this lol). My cell phone is the real MVP. Not to say that I need it, but it’s valuable because of the connections it allows me to make especially when I travel to different countries.
Think about the times when smartphones weren’t even a thing. The struggle was absolutely real to get in contact with your family “back home.” Remember those trips to the corner store or the gas station with your Mom to buy $5.00 phone cards? If you’re Haitian “Ou konnen sa m ap pale” aka “You know what I’m talking about” lol. Thank God we now have different modes of technology, which makes it much easier to communicate.
TRAVEL APP BENEFITS
Now if you’re already traveling internationally or you’re planning to take your first trip, there are so many awesome apps to help you stay connected and navigate the world around you. All you need is WiFi, which is available everywhere for the most part.
Let’s just say what made me begin to appreciate my phone more while traveling was my trip to Curaçao. My cousin, friend, and I rented a car so that we could get around the island. All 3 of us were able to drive but had and still have zero sense of direction. We were literally driving around in a different country with no idea where we were going. It was funny at first but got old real quick, which is why we learned quickly how to use GoogleMaps in offline mode.
Geography Lesson: Curaçao is a Lesser Antilles island in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region. It is part of the ABC islands, which includes Aruba (most are familiar with), Bonaire, and Curaçao.
- GOOGLE MAPS | iOS + ANDROID
It usually comes with Android phones, but with iPhone, you have to download it to your phone. Not to be confused with the standard iOS Maps. What I like about GoogleMaps is that you can save all your favorite places in that app for a reference. Therefore, if you’re planning your trip ahead of time you can put all your favorite spots in your phone. Another amazing feature that it has is if you’re going where the Internet is slow, mobile data is expensive, or you can’t get online, you can save an area from Google Maps to your phone or tablet and use it when you’re offline. This is a major key! No one likes paying international fees on their cell phone so the offline feature is amazing! Download it to your phone and try it out now.
- GOOGLETRIPS | iOS + ANDROID
Let’s backtrack a little bit because navigating is important, but having your trip details all together is crucial. The last thing you want to do is to have to dig through your email for your flight and hotel information. GoogleTrips is the jam because it actually combs through your emails and finds all the travel info for trips you have coming up. The app even puts together recommendations of places you should visit the area. Super creepy, but it’s awesome. Everything in one place. Voila!
- AIRBNB | iOS + ANDROID
Now let say you have your flight details, but you’re like crap I need housing. Airbnb is a great place to start. I know it’s been in the news a lot, however, I haven’t had a bad experience with them at all. I’ve used it in Cuba, Colombia and other places in the U.S. and it’s great. I’m actually gonna use it when I go to Texas in a few weeks. It’s a cheaper option if you don’t want to spend a lot of coins on a hotel and want a home-ish feel.
Pro tip: When looking for Airbnb’s try to look for ones that you can do Instant Book, which allows you to book without waiting for host approval. Remember to read the reviews before you book as well. The last thing I would say is to check out the location to see if it’s in a great and easy location for you to access what you want. However, if you’re not into Airbnb and I completely get it…
- HOTEL TONIGHT | iOS + ANDROID
Let me introduce you to HotelTonight. It’s great for last minute hotels deals, especially for luxury hotels. You get a discounted rate because the hotels aren’t packed and they want the rooms occupied to make money for the night. The app basically helps the hotels fill their vacancies.
In terms of my experience, I used this when I went to Los Angeles, California and literally booked a hotel at like 12 Midnight while I was on the plane. I received my confirmation and we were good to go as soon as we got to the hotel. I even used it DC when the day of I randomly decided to take a trip down there. I booked last minute hotel and it was well-priced room, date, and location. It was during the weekend so you know hotels are more expensive, but the rate was $150.00. Coins saved let me tell you.
- TRIPADVISOR | iOS + ANDROID
Now you got your hotel and you’re trying to figure out what the hell you’re going to do. Get the TripAdvisor app out. This is the perfect app to find out what the best restaurants, activities, locations etc. They have reviews from people all over the world. You also have the option to book everything through their site and you’ll know price wise how much everything will cost. So, if you’re ever trying to figure out your travel budget for things. This is the perfect app to get a range of pricing.
Pro tip: I’m big on reviews because it provides credibility. So if you’re looking for the top spots I highly recommend reading the reviews and rankings on here.
- LOCALEUR | iOS + ANDROID
Now if you ain’t with the touristy areas download Localeur and check out the best local places according to the locals. This app is another fave because you’re hearing from people who actually live there instead of the tourists. They have suggestions ranging from restaurants, hotels, bars etc. They aren’t in every city, but they’re expanding slowly, which is great. Check it out for your next trip.
- FUDGET | iOS + ANDROID
Last but not least you’re going out of the country and you don’t want to be blowin’ money fast. This is understandable because I like going on vacation not having to worry about spending money that I shouldn’t be spending. This is why you should create a vacation budget ahead of time. It’s not about being deprived, but being aware of your spending habits on a day-to-day basis. This is why I recommend using Fudget, a manual budgeting app to help you keep track of your coins.
Essentially it allows you to do is create envelopes electronically for your money. So let’s say you have $500.00 for your trip and you want to spend $100 a day for the 5 days you’re there. You can create an envelope for each day and keep track of your expenses as you go.
Wait a minute even though you have these coins, not all currencies are created equally. The currency around different countries vary and in most cases the U.S. dollar allows you to get more for your buck depending on where you travel.