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Little pocket rockets, modern smartphones are amazing computers that have changed the way we live. In just about every corner of our society, the smartphone has found a place that enhances our lifestyles. No matter what your profession is or what your hobbies are, the smartphone is perhaps the most useful thing you can carry around with you. It’s no different for traveling either, it’s by far the most helpful tool you can take along for the ride. Travel gear is extremely important. You need to have a great backpack that feels comfortable even when fully loaded, a small pillow to help you sleep while on the move in trains and planes, and taking water purifiers with you are just some of the things required for an enjoyable adventure abroad. However, each of those things are separate and they perform one task at a time as is their role and function. The smartphone can fill numerous roles in your travels, it can become your compass, newspaper, thermometer, map, contact with the outside world, flashlight, translator and so much more. 

The best reason why?

A decade or so ago, if you wanted to take amazing snaps of your adventures you had to take a DSLR camera with you. It was bulky, heavy and you needed so many other things with it that it almost required it’s own luggage bag. Things have changed drastically as modern smartphones have incredible cameras. They may not be as advanced as a big photography camera but they do about 90% of the job. Smartphones that have been designed around landscape photography offer you the best camera quality and true capture of what you’re looking at. Bear in mind that some phones do have post-op software that edits the image to look what the manufacturer perceives to be the best quality. However, if you really love your travels, the Google Pixel series is by far the best smartphone that you should take with you. Of all the things a smartphone can do, taking high-quality pictures that will become amazing memories of your time abroad is the best reason to have it always on a full charge.

Stay in contact

You may be hundreds of miles away if not thousands of miles away from home. Who knows where your travels may take you. One day you could be hitchhiking on a Vietnamese country lane, a couple of days later you could be walking through Times Square in New York City. regardless of where you are, your phone must function in its most basic right. To stay in touch with people at home, you’ll want a plan that is suitable for your lifestyle and the fact that you’re constantly in a land far far away. So a plan that has unlimited calls and texts per month is the best option. A SIM with a commitment-free plan means your top-up is capped at £7.50 so it remains affordable. You can choose from 2, 3 or 4GB of data, so you can use a mobile-network for your internet needs. This will help with basically everything, allowing you to search for weather news, watch videos, use apps that require a 4G connection, etc. 

Your bird’s eye view

Travelers of previous generations may have taken a GPS with them on wild trips where they went on trail hikes into forests and mountains. They would use these to navigate their path through the dense foliage and explore places that not many people had seen. However, things have changed, now your phone has GPS and map apps that become your bird’s eye view. Google Maps and ArcGIS are apps that can be downloaded into Android and iOS devices. These two are the leading apps in map software which allows explorers to find their way when they’re lost or just keep track of where they are headed. With in-built compasses, you can also see which direction you’re facing on a map. This is critical for orientation in the thick jungle or perhaps just remote highways such as in the Australian outback.

It must be noted that when your smartphone is using the ‘location’ feature to utilize GPS you must also use some kind of network data, so remember to have credit and a full battery whenever you plan on using these apps. The battery can be quickly drained using both of these features, so switching them on for long periods of time is not advised. But, for all intents and purposes to have the ability to navigate using a moving map with a device that can fit into your back pocket is quite an amazing feat.

Don’t know the language? 

What has sometimes prohibited some people from traveling in distant countries is not the culture shock but rather the language barrier. If you’re lost, hungry or in trouble, how can you communicate with people that don’t speak the same language? This has put many people off going into remote parts of the world and kept them loitering in mainly tourist hotspots when they go abroad. In this day and age, with your smartphone in your hands, there is no excuse. There are plenty of apps you can download that will translate what you’re saying into the local language and dialect. For example, Google Translate does a great job of understanding your speech and playing out a text-to-speech of what you just said. So if you’re trying to find the subway in France, you can speak English into your phone and then it will play out in French. By simply holding up your phone so a local person can hear it, you can ask for directions. TripLingo and PapaGo are also apps you may want to use for this endeavor.

Payment made easy

Remember in the 90s and early 2000s when you had to worry about the exchange rate? Now, for the most part, you don’t have to. Since banks have made apps that allow you to pay for things purely with just a scan of your phone screen, everything is faster and safer. You can pay for a cup of coffee in euros even if you have an American bank account. The exchange rate will be factored into the purchase and many times, you’ll know prior to using the app how much something is going to cost in local and your currency so you make a wise purchase. This means, you the consumer are less likely to get ripped off by local merchants that may try to prey on clueless tourists. You also don’t need to carry any money with you although a little hard cash is still advisable. But, this decreases the risk of your being seen as a target by pickpockets and thieves while you’re gallivanting around the world. If there is economic turmoil in the air and currency exchange rates are changing by the hour, you will know how much your currency is worth abroad i.e. a prior warning to how much something is going to cost you in your home currency.

Of all the things you could take with you on your travels, the smartphone is fast becoming the most important item. You can navigate cities and landscapes using the GPS feature and map apps. You can pay for things using your digital bank scan app and carry a lot less money around with you. At all times you can stay in contact with people at home with flexible affordable big data, unlimited texts, and calls plans. On top of all this, your smartphone can act as a camera that takes amazing photographs of your adventures and uploads them to your online photo album. 


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