Bare Bones Apps for Travel

Aug 18, 2011
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I’m really hoping that the new iPhone 5 comes out before I head to Nicaragua this year. If that’s the case I’ll get it, save this old phone and likely switch back to it before I leave, thus leaving the expensive new phone safely away from beaches and other environments no conducive to expensive electronic devices. That said, my old 3GS is sloooowwww at this point and I’ll want to keep it lean so it will operate as well as it possibly can. These are the apps that I will take with me both to Nicaragua and likely to any other place I’m travelling.

Facebook

Not too long ago I took a solo motorcycle trip through Baja Mexico. At the time one of my friends gave me a bunch of crap about disconnecting. “Get off Facebook and enjoy your travels- that’s what I did.” What he failed to realize is that his trip was drastically different from mine. You see, he was travelling with his best friend in the US. While the miles and the mode of transport was the same there’s one very huge difference. HE COULD TALK. He could have a conversation with people, both his friend and others, about things other than “where’s the bathroom” and “two tacos”.

While the idea of unplugging is great and important when you’re travelling somewhere alone and you don’t speak the language it’s nice to connect with others, to think other thoughts and to communicate. For this reason alone FB will always be on my phone when I travel to a country where I don’t speak the language. Especially if I’m travelling solo.

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Skype for iPhone

This app saved me so much money in Baja. I love being able to call home on occasion. Friends or family like to hear your voice and making calls from pay phones is a pain and calling from your regular phone will cost you a fortune. In most countries however you can find wifi and with that connection and a dollar or two you can call home for hours. My entire trip in Baja (3 weeks) cost me $5 to call home on Skype. This is a must for travel. As a note I was calling people’s cell phones and land lines. Had I connected Skype to Skype I would have saved that $5!

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Flickr

While the mobile uploader isn’t awesome (it’s painful slow… or is that my phone!?) it’s nice to be able to upload a photo or two while you’re stopped for coffee or breakfast. With Flickr updating to Facebook you can keep your friends updated on pictures without having to upload everything or find a computer. It’s a nice way to check in without really checking in.

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Spider Solitaire by MobilityWare

This will never leave my phone. No matter where I am, woods, other countries, in my own house, this game comes out when I want to relax. The fact that you can play it without a connection makes it something that sticks on my phone and the use of brainpower oddly helps me relax at the end of the day. While this might not be your game having a distraction like this for when you need to be distracted is well worth it. Just make sure your game works without any sort of connection.

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