I’m not really sure how I traveled before I got a smartphone. I vaguely remember walking slowly through the streets of strange cities with an unwieldy ancient tome called a Lonely Planet or with a fold out map that needed a graduate degree in volume design to compress back to its original shape.
Perhaps I ate my meals as chunks of raw meat back then, or I may have progressed to searing them on an open fire – that’s how primitive it all seems to me now in the world of the always connected smartphone and the ever-amazing app.
Want to find your way around? Google Maps will steer you right. Want to know the correct route by tube around London or the status of the line? Tubemap knows all.
Need to book a room in Flagstaff, Arizona; find a Sushi restaurant in Houston or have a desire to find a flight in a hurry? Try something like Airbnb, Urbanspoon, Yelp and Kayak or any one of a number of similar free apps. You can pay for apps if you like but there are enough free apps to cover just about any requirement. You can also use the phone to access email, update social media and apparently, it’s even possible to send txts and make calls if that’s your thing.
The running costs are minimal; I just strolled into a mobile phone shop and grabbed the best deal, which was a free prepay sim card, which gives you 300 national txts and 500mb of data with a ten pound airtime top-up. Half a Gig of data goes a long way when you’re downloading movies and music.
There’s a Lonely Planet app to replace the dusty old tome, which pretty much caps the mobile travel experience…as long as you’ve got a decent connection, and that’s the rub. In London, no problem, in Ecuador, hmm that’s a possible problem but if you can find a Wi-Fi connection at a hotel, hostel or cafe, you’re able to do a lot of planning and arranging on the phone, so you’re still ahead of the game. I’ll never leave home without a smartphone again, that’s for sure.