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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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                                  Published on November 14, 2018

                                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                  With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                  For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                  In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                  Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                  Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                  It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                  For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                  Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                  Symptoms of Fatigue

                                  Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                  • mental blocks
                                  • lack of motivation
                                  • headache
                                  • dizziness
                                  • muscle weakness
                                  • slowed reflexes and responses
                                  • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                  • moodiness, such as irritability
                                  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                  • reduced immune system function
                                  • blurry vision
                                  • short-term memory problems
                                  • poor concentration
                                  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                  Causes of Fatigue

                                  The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                  Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                  Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                  If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                  Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                  Anemia

                                  Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                  Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                  There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                  This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                  Diabetes

                                  Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                  Sleep Apnea

                                  Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                  Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                  Thyroid disease

                                  An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                  Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                  • Lack of sleep
                                  • Too much sleep 
                                  • Alcohol and drugs 
                                  • Sleep disturbances 
                                  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                  • Poor diet 

                                  Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                  Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                  Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                  How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                  Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                  1. Tell The Truth

                                  Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                  To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                  Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                  The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                  One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                  • How you feel
                                  • What time of day it is
                                  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                  • How your mind and body reacts

                                  This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                  2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                  When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                  If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                  When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                  Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                  3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                  If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                  Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                  If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                  Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                  Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                  4. Express More Gratitude

                                  Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                  It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                  Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                  5. Focus On Yourself

                                  Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                  There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                  But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                  We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                  6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                  Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                  Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                  The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                  Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                  7. Take a Power Nap

                                  When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                  Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                  This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                  8. Take More Exercise

                                  The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                  Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                  The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                  You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                  9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                  To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                  Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                  My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                  10. Improve Your Diet

                                  Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                  Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                  On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                  To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                  Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                  Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                  11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                  Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                  When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                  Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                  My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                  12. Get Hydrated

                                  Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                  Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                  If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                  The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                  If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                  [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                  [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                  [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                  [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                  [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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