For our travels we have used a number of phone apps that we now considered essential. In no particular order here are the apps we recommended based on our experiences.
Trail Wallet: This app has allowed us to keep track of our spending and Katie has become religious in her use of it. The app allows you to set a daily budget and will track your spending over the time of your trip. It also provides useful summaries at the end of each trip. We created ‘a trip’ for each country and you can set specific spending categories to allocate various costs e.g accommodation, food, alcohol etc
By using Trail Wallet we have been able to work out if we are under spending, on target or (more likely) over spending. It is great to reflect on what has been our largest expenses and adjust where necessary.
Cost: First 21 transactions free, then a one off payment of NZD$6.50
Pocket Earth: We learned about this app on a bus in Nicaragua and has become invaluable to us. Prior to this we were muddling along using our guide book and google maps.
Pocket Earth lets you download maps onto your phone to use offline. The maps have locations for hostels, restaurants, bar etc as well as public transport routes in major cities. The app is also GPS enabled so you can pin point your exact location. The app also provides you with speed and elevation information along with map coordinates.
The other great features is that you can also download Wiki Travel Guides to use within the app. The travel guides are not as detailed as Rough Guide but are handy to have when we don’t have our guidebook or wifi.
Cost: The app can be downloaded for free and then pay per map or download the pro version for XX NZD which provides free access to all maps.
Online banking apps: Having easy access to our bank balances has been very useful. Within seconds we are able to check on our accounts and see what we have left. Even in New Zealand we made great use of our bank apps and still consider they are useful when traveling.
Our account is with BNZ (Bank of New Zealand) and can say they have one of the best banking apps I have ever used.
Cost: Free (depending on your bank)
Oanda currency convertor: Being able to understand the various exchange rates is very useful when travelling. For this we have used the Oansda Currency app. The conversion rate updates when connected to the internet but the app can also be used offline. It also has all the currencies you could want and it is easy to change them around to suit your travel.
Having assess to this app has ensured that we don’t get ripped off as we can check the prices in our local currency. We can also check if its better value to pay in USD or the local currency of the country we are in (Costa Rica and Nicaragua for example). We generally found it cheaper for us to pay in local currency but without having access to the app we might have not known this.
Social media apps: Maybe not essential but very useful for keeping in touch with the outside world. We have both been using Facebook, twitter, Snapchat and Instagram to share the joy of our travel with everyone.
Calculator: This app is generally free and pre-installed on most smart phones. We have used the calculator on our phones more times than we would like to mention (poor math skills perhaps) but allows us to check the total costs of hostel very quickly and easy as well as restaurant bills as you would be surprised how many places get it ‘wrong’.
Cost: Usually included on your phone
Games: There are thousands of different games available and they can be useful for those long bus journeys.
There are thousands of apps out there that will assist you when travelling but the above are the ones we have been using most often and really like. One final point, no one has asked us to endorse any of the mentioned apps and the above is purely our option.