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My smart phone has become part of my life and is such an important tool these days, it is hard to imagine life before I had one. A smart phone is such a valuable travel companion and it has got me out of trouble on more than one occasion. I thought I would put together a list of apps that I find are helpful on my trips. As travellers are usually budget conscious, all these ones are all free as well.

1.       PD Maps Worldwide Edition

With all the troubles of iPhone maps lately I went in search of an alternative and found a great navigation tool in PD Maps Worldwide. A very simple program that uses GPS to give you a map of where you are. It will give you invaluable information like street names and suburbs, as well as highlight businesses and transport in the area. It will put a blue pin on the map where you currently are and an arrow in the direction you are going. Very helpful in cities you are not familiar with.

2.       Currency+

A currency converter app that allows a user to convert five currencies at once. Choose whatever five currencies you like, put in an amount and the converter will tell you how much it is in each of those five currencies. It is true that the longer you stay in a place, you will get a feel for roughly how much an item is, but I have found this app to be great when first arriving or want an exact amount. The app also updates itself so it always gives the most up to date price depending on the exchange rate.

3.       Banking App

Most financial institutions have their own app these days. Once registered it is an easy way to see how much money you have or transfer money between accounts or externally. It is much easier and safer than an internet café and is very convenient.  On more than one occasion I have stood out the front of a shop, transferred some money from my high interest online account, into my everyday account, and because internal bank transfers happen in real time, it is then possible to walk into the shop or go to the ATM and use the money instantaneously.


4.       Pocket Expense

This App tracks where your money is going. You plug in how much budget you have, and then whenever you buy pay for something, you enter in the amount, category and a memo (optional). The app will then tell you how much budget you have left. The beauty is that at the end of your trip or the end of the month it will then give you an overview of how much money you have spent and in what category. It is then possible to send the data to your email address in a summary report that can be in various formats including excel or PDF. It is customisable and can even change the type of currency you are using.

5.       Social Media App/s

This is a personal preference, but if you are like me, you enjoy the social media. I would be lost without my SM apps and they are often the first I will open on any given day. My staples are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare. Great for staying in touch with family friends and your online community. Add a picture in real time and your mum can see exactly how much you are enjoying your trip and where you are. Other apps in this category that I have on my phone include, WordPress (for my blog), Pinterest, Facebook messenger, StumbleUpon, HUDLD, Facebook pages and Twitbird.

6.       Camera

I like taking photographs and I have been able to get some fantastic shots with my camera phone. Gone are the days of 1.2 megapixel grainy shots. The iPhone 4S is an 8 MP camera and comes with a range of features unavailable with previous models. It will not rival an SLR for those professional shots, but is great at capturing the moment. Often I leave my camera at home and just take the phone with me for the day. It does drain the battery quickly, so I put the phone in airplane mode and turn off Wi-Fi to extend the battery life. Sure no one can call you, but often I am in a country where no one has the prepaid SIM card number anyway.


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