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16 Best Travel Apps You Need For Your Next Trip

16 Best Travel Apps You Need For Your Next Trip

Do you remember travel before smartphones? Well, I do. Although it was arguably a simpler time, the stress of finding an internet cafe to check your email / train timetable / tour booking was an unnecessary waste of precious holiday minutes.

Sure, it’s great to switch off and de-tech if you’re relaxing on a beach in Bali or Mexico. But if you’re planning on (for example) sight-seeing in Europe or road tripping through the USA, the modern-day conveniences of WiFi and a smartphone can make the journey that much better.

Now, I’m no technology guru but travelling – well, that I know. Here are 16 travel apps you need for your next trip:

1. Check in: Social media (free)

It goes without saying, really. What’s the point of going on holiday if you can’t make all your friends jealous with perfectly filtered, hash-tagged snaps of cobblestoned streets or crystal blue water? Make sure you’ve got your preferred social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) in app form so you can snap and post instantaneously along the way.

instagram
    Available on iPhone and Android

    2. Escape the selfie: Timer Auto-Camera (free)

    If you’re travelling solo (and why wouldn’t you, it’s awesome!?), there are only so many selfies or plain scenery shots you can take before you wish you had your own photographer. Enter, the Timer Auto-Camera. You can take multiple shots and choose a timer delay (5, 10, 15 or 30 seconds) so you can make it into the frame. It’s got front and back camera support and is simple to use. The obvious limitation is finding a steady surface at the right height so you can jump in the shot…

    timer auto
      Available on iPhone and iPad. 

      3. Postcard memories: Rhonna Designs (AUD$2.49)

      I’ve always wondered how those brilliant travel snaps you see on Instagram with quotes and messages get created. Forget Photoshop, just download Rhonna Designs for postcard-esque holiday snaps. There’s a huge range of graphics, quotes, texts and frames with an entire section just for travel snaps. You can add messages or quotes to your photographs to really capture the holiday moment. It’s modern day, transportable scrapbooking.

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      rhonna3

        Available on iPhone and Android

        4. Speak the lingo: DuoLingo (free)

        Over 25 million people are learning Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portugese, Italian and Dutch for free with Duolingo. According to a recent study, 34 hours of Duolingo can give the same reading and writing capabilities as a 130+ hour university semester! The app is divided into skill sets, with the occasional test. Although it’s mostly reading, writing and listening, there is the odd speaking question. The app monitors your progress and tracks your mistakes to identify patterns, so it can test your weaker skills. Great for longer term trips and combating airport boredom.

        duolingo
          Available on iPhone and Android

          5. Get un-lost: Google Maps (free)

          Although I highly recommend getting lost in a foreign city (such as Verona or Santorini), it’s not as fun when it’s not on purpose. What did we do before Google Maps? It saves money on renting a GPS with your hire car or carrying around pesky fold out maps that scream tourist. It knows where you are (which is always a good start) and lets you switch between map, street or satellite view – even 3D view. Not paying for data or roaming? Just download the maps you need before you leave the hotel/hostel lobby to use offline for up to 30 days. (Make sure you’ve got the latest version, iOS 3.0 or Android 8.)

          googlemaps

            Available on iPhone and Android

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            6. Stay in touch: Viber / WhatsApp (Free)

            I honestly couldn’t decide between Whatsapp and Viber, so I’d recommend getting both. These must-have travel apps allow you to send texts and communicate with family, friends and new travel buddies through WiFi or cellular data, rather than eating into your call plan. You just enter your phone number and the app searches your phone contacts for those also using the app. Whatsapp (owned by Facebook) is great for text and picture messaging – you can also send pre-recorded voice messages by tapping and holding the microphone button. Viber (now owned by a large Japanese e-commerce company) is ok for texting but, more importantly, you can make voice calls to other mobiles that have Viber. You can also “Viber Out” when you want to call a landline or mobile that doesn’t have Viber by adding credit (through the app and your app store) and dialling the number as usual – super cheap call rates. Viber displays your credit balance and, best of all, it doesn’t expire! No excuses for not returning your Mum’s call on holiday now.

            viberout whatsapp

              Available on iPhone and Android. 

              7. Beat jet lag: Jetlag Genie (AUD $3.79)

              Recent studies have suggested that the best way to beat jet lag (besides staying super hydrated) is to adjust your sleeping patterns to the new timezone a couple of days before you leave. Sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago, Dr. Lisa Medalie, told Forbes that “If flying east, passengers should gradually advance (i.e. move bedtime earlier) and if flying west they should gradually delay (i.e. move bedtime later)”. The Jetlag Genie lets you input your travel dates, destination and usual sleeping times to produce a personalized alarm clock for the week before you fly. The hardest part is actually adhering to the recommended sleep schedule!

              jetlaggenie
                Available for iPhone

                8. Keep the change: XE (free)

                Trying to work out if VND$98,453.64 is an absolute rip off for sunglasses in Vietnam can be tricky at the best of times (it’s AUD$5). A must-have travel app, the XE app gives access to live exchange rates, so you can keep track of your precious holiday savings. You can use it offline too, because it stores the last updated rates. It’s super easy to use – just tap on the currency you want and it provides comparison values in up to 10 currencies.

                XE
                  Available on iPhone and Android

                  9. Keep organized: My eVault (free)

                  This is an award winning personal inventory, travel and insurance app that lets you store warranties, tax receipts and photos (like for that really expensive SLR camera you decided to take backpacking through South America or the Tiffanys purchase you just had to make in NYC). Plus, you can backup photos of your passport, bank cards, frequent flyer cards and licences so they are all safe and handy if/when you need them.

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                  evault
                    Available on iPhone.

                    10. Stretch it out: Pocket Yoga ($3.79)

                    Now you can travel with your own personal yoga instructor. Pocket Yoga lets you pick a theme (Ocean, Desert, Mountain or Sun Salutations), duration (30, 45 or 60 minutes) and difficulty (beginner, intermediate or expert). It talks you through the postures, with gentle music and an animated instructor. The voice over is a little robotic sometimes, but all in all this is a great app that can help you channel your inner-yogi from anywhere in the world. Namaste.

                    pocketyoga
                      Available on iPhone and Android

                      11. Rain, hail or shine: AccuWeather (Free)

                      Holidays are not always weather-dependent, but it helps to plan your days knowing if you should be making the most of the 30 degree sunshine at the beach or checking out the art galleries to avoid the torrential downpour. AccuWeather gives a minute-by-minute weather forecast that is “hyper-localized” to your exact street address.

                      screen568x568
                        Available on iPhone and Android.

                        12. Dine right: Foodspotting (free)

                        Fancy paella on the street of Barcelona? Authentic gumbo in New Orleans? Best goulash in Prague? This app will help you satisfy any craving on the road. You can search through user and expert reviews to find the best recommended dishes in your area. The app focuses on dishes, rather than restaurants, which is great for travelling and exploring the real taste of a city.

                        foodspotting

                          Available on iPhone and Android.

                          13. Be (over)prepared: TravelSmart (free)

                          This app is a bit like having an over-protective mother as a kid – it feels slightly lame and unnecessary at the time, but if things go horribly wrong, you’re glad she’s got the hospital on speed-dial and is on a first-name basis with the pharmacist. TravelSmart gives you details of reputable local hospitals, emergency numbers, a drug dictionary and first aid language translations.  It’s also sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance – a must have for any holiday.

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                          travelsmart
                            Available on iPhone and Android.

                            14. Explore: World Around Me (free)

                            The ultimate travel app, “WAM” was rated as the Top Traveler App by National Geographic Traveler. You hold the phone at eye level, point the camera at your surroundings and select what you’re looking for – restaurants, bars, ATMs, galleries, stations, pharmacy, gym etc – you name it and WAM uses augmented reality technology to find it. Just tap to see reviews, opening hours, directions, contact details and a whole host of other information (such as WiFi availability, outdoor seating, accepts credit cards etc). You can also vary the distance from 100 meters to 50 kilometers, depending on how far away you’re willing to venture (it’s most accurate when used outside). Whether it’s a gym in Monaco, a bar in Kenya or a synagogue in Barcelona, just WAM it.

                            WAM
                              Available on iPhone and Android.

                              15. Uber (free)

                              Uber is now available in over 44 countries and 130 cities – everywhere from Memphis to Lima to Johannesburg to Stockholm – and the list will continue to grow. Just like at home, you open the app and order a car, receiving an estimated arrival time and courtesy text message. The driver’s photo, name and contact number will pop up once accepted. You don’t need cash (just a credit card linked to your account through the app). Word of warning – apparently the Uber cars in Asia are much more high-end, so perhaps get a fare estimate first to avoid ruining your holiday with a nasty bill.

                              uber
                                Available on iPhone and Android

                                16. Lost in translation: iStone Travel (free)

                                You should always at least try to speak the local language when travelling. But sometimes asking for a ham sandwich or directions to the bathroom can be trickier than expected and it gets lost in translation. The iStone app lets you record sentences and translates into 12 languages, with more than 300 pre-recorded common phrases. The voice-overs have native pronunciation and it works even without WiFi.

                                istone
                                  Available on iPhone

                                   

                                  There are so many more apps out there designed to make travelling that much easier. I think there’s a fine line between technology being a help and a hindrance on holiday, so make sure you select the right tools for you and your trip!

                                  Featured photo credit: PhotoPin via flickr.com

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                                  Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                                  20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                  20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                  Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                                  If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                                  1. Create a Daily Plan

                                  Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                                  2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                                  Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                                  3. Use a Calendar

                                  Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                                  I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                                  Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                                  4. Use an Organizer

                                  An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                                  These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                                  5. Know Your Deadlines

                                  When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                                  But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                                  6. Learn to Say “No”

                                  Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                                  Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                  7. Target to Be Early

                                  When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                                  For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                                  Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                                  8. Time Box Your Activities

                                  This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                                  You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                                  9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                                  Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                                  10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                                  Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                                  You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                                  11. Focus

                                  Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                                  Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                                  Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                  12. Block out Distractions

                                  What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                                  I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                                  When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                                  Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                                  13. Track Your Time Spent

                                  When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                                  You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                                  14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                                  You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                                  Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                                  15. Prioritize

                                  Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                                  Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                  16. Delegate

                                  If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                                  When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                                  17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                                  For related work, batch them together.

                                  For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                                  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                                  2. coaching
                                  3. workshop development
                                  4. business development
                                  5. administrative

                                  I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                                  18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                                  What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                                  One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                                  While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                                  19. Cut off When You Need To

                                  The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                                  Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                                  20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                                  Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                                  More Time Management Techniques

                                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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