Travel light: How to use your smartphone to plan, guide, and document your trip
The easing of South Africa’s lockdown to level two means that interprovincial travel is once again on the cards, opening up more holiday options for the upcoming long weekend on September 24th and the school holidays at the end of the year.
With your smartphone in your bag or your pocket, you can travel light this September, which is also tourism month.
Here are some ways your Android smartphone can make travelling easier and even more enjoyable:
1. Itinerary planning
Thanks to your smartphone, you no longer need to print out confirmations for air tickets, car hire or accommodation. You can use an app like TripIt to manage all the paperwork and keep it in one, easily accessible place. As soon as you book a flight, hotel, car or other reservation, simply forward it to email@example.com to be added to your master itinerary. You can easily sync the details with your calendar or share them with other people.
2. Maps and guides
Say goodbye to folding out unwieldly maps or carrying hefty guidebook tomes around. Chances are your Android smartphone came with Google Maps preinstalled. It gives you real-time GPS navigation and traffic and public transport info, plus tips about where to eat, drink and refuel. There’s also a lightweight version called Google Maps Go (requires the Chrome browser), designed to run smoothly on devices with limited memory and on unreliable networks.
If you’re exploring our beautiful country, the South African Travel Guide is the official traveller’s companion to South Africa. The Android guide includes information on over 2,000 accommodation establishments, over 1,500 attractions and over 5,000 official tourist guides. Looking for tips on unmissable attractions and places to eat? Download Tripadvisor’s handy app.
You don’t need to drag heavy novels around with you anymore. With Amazon’s Kindle app, you can choose from millions of books to download to read on the beach. And Audible brings storytelling to life with a massive selection of audio books and original podcasts – great for the plane or a car trip. Don’t forget Spotify for tunes and Netflix for your evening binge-watching pleasure.
Of course, you’ll want to take lots of pics of yourself and your loved ones on your well-deserved break. There’s no need to pack a separate camera because nearly every modern smartphone has one included. There are many wonderful apps you can use to kick up the quality of your photos a notch. Use VSCO’s editing tools like Contrast and Saturation to make your photos pop or use Grain and Fade to add texture and mimic analogue film effects. Google’s Snapseed is another powerful photo editing app.
PackPoint is a free app that will help you organise what you need to pack in your luggage and suitcase based on length of travel, weather at your destination, and any activities planned during your trip. Once your packing list is built and organised, PackPoint will save it for you, and then you can choose to share it with your friends and family.