Smartphones have changed many things about the way we travel. We no longer have to wait for camera film to be developed or plug our digital camera into a computer when we get home to see our holiday snaps. Instead, we can share them instantly with friends, loved ones, and complete strangers through apps like Facebook and Instagram.
We no longer need to use fiddly maps to find our way around, we can just open up Google Maps or another navigation apps and see the best route to take.
We also don’t need to clutter our bags with tickets, boarding passes, and booking reservations. Instead, we can use digital versions stored on our phones and breeze through airport security.
Even staying entertained while we travel is now also much easier thanks to smartphones.
With all of this in mind, here are some of the best apps you can take with you on your next journey.
Playing a game while travelling used to mean something like “I Spy”, taking a “travel” version of a game like Scrabble, or keeping a pack of cards in your bag. If you’re on a plane, I Spy doesn’t last very long and travel Scrabble can be quite fiddly.
Smartphones offer you an almost infinite library of games to play, from simple puzzle games like 1010! to battle royale games like Fortnite. It’s even possible to play retro console games like Mario Kart and Grand Theft Auto right from your mobile device.
Playing card games in your hotel or on a train is a great way to have fun with your travel partners, but if you’re travelling light or don’t want to have to tidy up, then mobile poker apps could be your answer. These apps also allow solo travelers to enjoy the travel tradition of playing cards, take part in tournaments, and try out different strategies by playing with others online.
Another great travel tradition that millions of people enjoy each year is reading. No matter whether it’s getting lost in a great novel, flicking through a magazine, learning a new skill, or reading biographies of interesting people.
Books are great because they work anywhere, don’t need to be charged, and are often much more rugged than a smartphone. But for all their perks, they can really bulk out of your luggage if you’re carrying more than just a couple.
Thankfully, there are plenty of smartphone apps you can use to carry hundreds of books without being weighed down. Both Apple and Android devices come with the default Apple Books and Google Play Books, but there are plenty of third party options too. Amazon’s Kindle app gives you access to its extensive library, while others like Aldiko, Nook and AlReader offer more flexibility and unique features.
If you’d prefer to listen to books as you stare out of a train window or relax on the beach, then Amazon’s Audible is a great option. Alternatively, Blinkist is a service that condenses the main points of non-fiction books into short 10-20 minute books and audiobooks so you can cram in a whole book into a short journey.
Movies and TV
Airlines don’t always offer great in-flight entertainment, and if you’re flying with a low-cost airline, you won’t get any. Thankfully, your smartphone can carry all the movies and TV shows you could possibly want to watch.
While it used to be quite awkward to watch content on the go, streaming services have made it a piece of cake in recent years. If you want to watch offline, just select a few movies or shows to download and then open them up when you’re ready to watch.
You can even use a VPN while you’re connected to WiFi to get access to the content that’s available in your home country, so you don’t need to miss out on your favourite shows while you’re on the go.
Some of the best streaming services available to travellers are Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+. Services like Eros Now and Hotstar also offer a great selection of regional content, including in Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi, and Bengali.