Keep Calm and Travel On: Our Favorite Apps for Life on the Road

Technology is inextricably linked to everyday life, a truth made even clearer when you are living out of your backpack. These are the services and apps that we found absolutely essential to our life on the road. 

Entertainment

Netflix

Easily our favorite subscription service on the planet. Some of the best shows and movies are being produced by Netflix, and they have made them all available worldwide. Add in the fact that you can download any original content directly to your tablet, making Netflix & Chill a reality anywhere.

Spotify Premium

A huge library of songs, the ability to share playlists, and offline listening sealed the deal for us. We snagged a family plan and split the cost with our siblings. Worth its weight in gold when you find out your Airbnb is located above a bar.

Security

NordVPN

When connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, use protection people! At least, that is the boring, official reason to use NordVPN. Others might point out that it offers unlimited bandwidth and video optimized streaming technology, making it a great way to grab a US IP address to unlock access to most major streaming services.

Photo Editing

Snapseed

So you’ve taken a photo on your phone and you’re ready to upload it to Instagram, but you feel like it could use some enhancing – what’s your answer?  Snapseed. We use it with every photo we take with our iPhones and the best part is it’s free.

Put plainly, Snapseed’s general editing tools are excellent. Typically, all of our photos get the brightness and contrast lifted, while slightly lowering the saturation.  We also play with the shadows and highlights as well, depending on the shot.  Lastly, we like to play with the ambiance setting.  This acts almost like a filter of sorts. If you lift it, the photo turns lighter, brighter, and the colors are more saturated.  And if you lower the ambiance, you’ll tend to get a darker/moodier shot.

Adobe Light Room CC

Truthfully, We’ve only recently been using Lightroom to edit our photos, but man, it has made a HUGE difference! It is available for purchase via subscription form, and in our opinion, is totally worth it. At first, it can be a little overwhelming (as there are so many settings) but there’s plenty of YouTube tutorials out there to get you started.  Another great way to get your feet wet is to download some presets (from VSCO, for instance) and start fidgeting with the settings from there until you find a style/aesthetic that you like.

Travel Resources

XE Currency

Great for those traveling in regions with multiple currencies, the XE Currency app is free and functions without an internet connection. Intuitive UI that shows you live mid-market exchange rates for up to 10 currencies at a time, XE helped us stay on a budget between shifting currencies and gave us a baseline rate to make sure we weren’t getting ripped off at the cash register.

Google Maps

With offline features added in 2016, and its ability to work with capped or slow data speeds, Google Maps is our go-to navigation app. We’ve started out using Maps.me but found the business listings to be very limited, and sometimes just absolutely wrong. Google Maps also syncs with your Gmail account and auto-loads reservation locations and times into its interface.

Rome2Rio

Our first stop when researching how to get from point A to point B, Rome2Rio shows the quickest route between two points for multiple types of transportation. We’ve found that the prices and operators they show aren’t always accurate or the best deal, so make sure to shop around before booking.

Google Translate

Translate works with or without an internet connection and can utilize your camera to become a visual translation tool. Can be hit or miss, but it does an admirable job of giving you a general idea of what you are reading. Great for menus or beefing up your vocabulary on the go. Make sure to download necessary languages before disconnecting from wi-fi, as they are large files.

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