Lets face it, backpackers these days have more tech than Bill Gates. Everyone is carrying a smartphone, many have tablets and some even travel with laptop computers. These days, few people truly go "off-grid'. And why would you want to? Our tech makes our lives so much easier. Having said that, I access my most useful travel tools from a four-year-old iPhone 5.
What is key here is that we are travelling on a tight budget of £25 per person per day. Therefore the main focus of these 5 apps is to track and manage our spending. It sure feels good to make your money travel as far as you do.
So here is my list of the 5 apps I can't get enough of whilst travelling. I literally use them every single day. It's so important to be money smart when you are travelling on a budget, and especially since the value of the £ has dropped in recent times.
Know live exchange rates and have them easy to hand for doing quick exchange calculations. Especially useful in countries which deal in more than one currency. For example, Cambodia uses both the US Dollar and the Cambodian Riel. This means you can pay and receive change in a combination of two currencies. Confusing? Especially after a few beers!
This is what we use to track our day to day spending. Each time we buy something we log it in the app. You can set a daily limit or a total spend for your entire trip and then try your hardest to stick to the budget. We find this invaluable. You get the first 25 inputs for free which really gets you hooked, but it's only £3.99 ($5) to buy the full blown app and boy is it worth it. It's also slightly addictive trying to stay in the green!
Be money smart. Revolut is essentially a travel debit card that you control from your smartphone. Be sure to download the app before you set off on your travels to ensure your MasterCard arrives in time. Then you're off. Free top-ups, no charges on transactions in over 90 currencies, fee-free cash withdrawals up to £500/month, and everything is tracked and monitored from your smartphone. It's too easy! It even uses your phone's GPS to know where in the world you are, so it can easily flag up and disallow any fraudulent transactions. Genius! Their online support is excellent as well.
This is an offline maps tool. Think Google Maps without the need for 3G or wifi. Although it's not without its flaws, maps.me is no doubt invaluable whilst travelling around. From finding a place to sleep or a nearby ATM, to calculating the best route to an attraction or to just ensure your tuk-tuk driver is taking you in the right direction so you don't get ripped off. Everything can be done offline from your smartphone. Simples!
If you are travelling with friends, Tricount makes it easy to log what each of you has spent. It calculates how much each person is owed or indebted to everyone else. This will stop a few arguments perhaps :). It has certainly come in very handy for my boyfriend and I!