The days of using your phone just for making calls and sending texts are long gone. Today, we rely on our phones to organise much of our lives—and nowhere is that truer than when we’re travelling. From spotting the best deals to seeking out hidden gems, our trusty iPhone 6s Plus or Galaxy S8 is always there to help out. Here are just a few of the ways that phones have revolutionised the way we travel.
Once upon a time, the only way to plan a holiday was to visit your travel agent. No longer. There are a plethora of travel planning apps for every aspect of your trip. Looking for a flight? Try Kayak or Skyscanner. Accommodation? Sorted, thanks to apps like Airbnb and Booking.com. All of this means more choice for you — and more money in your pocket.
On your way
Say goodbye to reams of paper tickets. Airlines from BA to Ryanair now allow you to download your boarding pass onto your phone, while many countries also offer mobile tickets on train and bus services, too. And, should you find yourself needing some entertainment on your journey, then there’s a wealth of options on your phone, from Spotify and podcasts to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
No more maps
Remember the last time you packed a physical map in your suitcase? Neither do we. Our phones now make it easy for us to make our way around virtually any destination. Apps such as Google Maps make navigation and route planning a breeze, and even include the ability to pre-download maps — saving vital data. Other great apps to check out include Stay.com, which lets you map local points of interest, and Citymapper, which demystifies public transport.
Breaking the language barrier
Let’s face it: getting by in a foreign country can be tricky — especially when you don’t speak the language. If you’re feeling truly proactive, then you could always download an app such as Babel or Duolingo before you go and try and pick up a few key phrases. Unfortunately, not all of us have the time.
This is where smartphones step in. Using services such as Google Translate can save you tons of hassle in everyday situations, such as eating out or going to the supermarket. Better still, the app now offers much more than simple dictionary-style text translation. Photo and even audio translation are now possible, making it easier than ever to communicate — even if you don’t speak a single word of the language.
Protect yourself against potential losses
Another feature of modern smartphones that could prove invaluable during your travels is the ability to store important documents in digital form. After all, theft or lost baggage can happen to even the most organised travellers, and can leave you in a real tight spot.
Having a copy of all your relevant travel documents could be hugely important in an emergency, and with many encrypted cloud-based storage services now available, you don’t have to worry about security either. This a simple precaution that we think everyone should take!
Take advantage of audio tours
Walking tours can be a great way to experience a new city, but sometimes it’s not practical for you to join one. However, apps such as Detour now allow you to listen to a guide, but also walk around at your own pace. This gives you every opportunity to learn about exciting cultural delights, without being tied down to other people’s schedules. Truly the best of both worlds!
It’s easy to see just how useful your phone can be while travelling. Now, with the end of roaming charges within the EU, there’s no need to switch the data off on your iPhone 6s Plus — you can stream and post to your heart’s content. If you are leaving the EU, however, remember that you’ll need to read the small print of your contract to check if you’re still covered. However, as long as you’re smart with your phone — and make sure to keep it safe! — then it can be the perfect travel buddy. Happy travelling!