Travel apps review: Monument Tracker and TripLingo

Monument Tracker 

This app will guide you to all the important monuments in the city you are visiting, and will provide you with useful information about them.

Sounds boring and like all the other similar apps you’ve seen out there? You’re wrong.

Monument Tracker lists different monuments based on your location, putting the closest ones on top of the list. By clicking on a monument, the app gives you the exact location of it and how to get there, as well as information on its history and cultural significance.

The maps you choose are downloaded to your phone, so they are available to you when you don’t have an internet connection, which can save you money on data roaming fees.

You can add different monuments on your “must-see” list, and some of them even have the option for a guided tour or a 360º view.

An interesting feature of this app is that you can walk around the city and explore it at your own pace, and the app will notify you if you are near a significant monument, so you don’t miss anything.

Besides important sights, this app offers info about different activities and events in the city which you can participate in.

What’s addictive about Monument Tracker is that you can gain points by visiting different sights, reading about them, taking photos, recommending places, etc., and move from “beginner” level where you started to a more advanced level. You can also share your profile with your friends to show them where you visited, what you liked the most, and what you would recommend.

There are additional, fun options, such as quizzes to test your knowledge about the city after all that exciting sight-seeing.

Monument Tracker is free, and it’s available for Android and iOS.
Download Monument Tracker for iOS
Download Monument Tracker for Android

TripLingo 

One of the most challenging things in a foreign city is communicating with locals if they don’t speak English. Triplingo makes this more comfortable and headache-free.

The app provides you with a wide range of useful phrases and expressions for everyday communication at your travel destination.

Besides phrases and expressions, the app has a built-in offline dictionary with more than 10,000 words per language. Additionally, it has audio lessons, so you can prepare yourself before your trip.

It also includes one very helpful feature that makes communication smoother and faster, especially if you’re listening to someone speaking in another language: voice translator. It instantly translates your, or someone else’s voice into another language.

Another useful feature is the image translator: it lets you take a picture, for example, a sign or a menu, and translates it instantly. Never get a wrong dish in a restaurant because of the language barrier again!

If that is not enough, the app also has so many other helpful features, such as tip calculator, safety tips (emergency numbers, medical terminology, etc.) and lots of other info about the country you are visiting.

Overall, TripLingo is an impressive app that makes sure you’re fully prepared for your trip.

TripLingo is free, and it’s available for Android and iOS.
Download TripLingo for iOS
Download TripLingo for Android

Holiday apps to experience European history and culture

Holidaying in Europe brings to mind thoughts of pretty cobbled streets, majestic castles, alluring mountains, and memorable museums. And while exploring a city or town on your own is wonderful, finding the best attractions is sometimes difficult. Add to that, some of us like to explore a museum, castle, or church on our own, instead of hiring a tour guide.

So we’ve shortlisted a few apps that help you find your way to the sites, but more importantly, act as a pocket-friendly tour guide.

Sygic Travel 
Sygic Travel allows you to plan your trip by selecting the location, then reading about and bookmarking the sights you’re interested in. Saving your trip offline before you leave home ensures you don’t have to pay for an internet connection or have to search for wi-fi spots.

The app boasts details of tourist attractions across the globe, from castles and museums to hotels and restaurants, and from waterfalls and caves to parks and beaches. You just enter your destination city into the app, and it gives you a list of attractions nearby with distances. Add in your hotel details if you’ve pre-booked, and Sygic Travel shows you the sights near your hotel first.

If you don’t want to bother with calculating the distance to the nearest museum or castle, the map format shows all the attractions with small images of the sights in the place of pins. Clicking on the pin pulls up the details and history of the attraction, along with timings, days closed, and more.

This app is free to use for most of its functions, and only requires payment for the advanced options. If you want in-depth guides to any cities, the app also allows you to purchase them. All in all, it’s a really handy app to have around!

Download Sygic Travel for iOS
Download Sygic Travel for Android

World Explorer Travel Guide
Quite similar to the Sygic Travel guide, this app shows you attractions in a city based on a 0 to 5-star rating, making it a lot easier to pick the best museums, castles or parks in any part of the world. It also gives you distances on a standard or satellite map, making it easy to navigate to where you’re going.

Although it pulls up most of the information about attractions from Wikipedia, it also has an option to purchase City guides online. With geo-location to pull up nearby attractions, distances calculated in both kilometres and miles, and more than 350,000 attractions that have been rated to date, it’s easy to see why this app is quickly becoming a travel favourite.

Download World Explorer Travel Guide for iOS
Download World Explorer Travel Guide for Android

Rick Steves’ Audio Europe
This app gives you the benefit of having a professional guide at your disposal without paying for one. Rick Steves is much more than a guide, he is a respected authority on European travel. His audio guides are perfect for learning more about a city and its history, its attractions and its culture. There are a variety of audio guides to choose from, based on cities, cultures, or types of monuments.

The audio tours can be downloaded before you embark on your journey, so that you have perfect offline access throughout your trip. PDF maps built into the app complement the walking tours. Some of the recent additions to the audio tours include Sicily’s Essential Sights, Provence Markets, Authentic Greek Food, France beyond Paris, and many more.

With Rick Steves’ Audio Europe, it’s really easy to come away from a trip feeling like you have a good grip on a country’s history and culture.

Download Rick Steves’ Audio Europe for iOS
Download Rick Steves’ Audio Europe for Android

Have you heard of these new holiday essentials?

This month, we take a look at a few things to make your holiday easier which you might not have considered.

Charging your gadgets
So much of our life revolves around technology nowadays. We rely on our phones, tablets and laptops to find our way, for hotel bookings, contact information, to figure out where we want to visit and so much more, but it’s often difficult to keep your devices fully charged when you’re on the move.

Don’t forget to take plug adapters that are suited to the country you are visiting – don’t forget to check the electrical plug information for the country you are visiting). If you are visiting several countries, you can get a universal travel adapter which, via its various connectors, should work anywhere.

Battery packs can be very useful. Even if you’ve got a phone that doesn’t have a removable battery, such as an iPhone, you can plug your USB charging lead into the battery pack. This is particularly useful on a long flight, where you’re using your phone a lot for entertainment, and will need to charge it again before you get to your hotel.

Amazon sells a good selection of battery packs. The higher the mAh rating, the more charge the battery can hold. We’ve found that the Anker Power Bank Astro E1 5200mAhworks well, and can hold enough energy to charge an iPhone (or most other phones) twice. It only costs £12.99, and is very easy to use, so it’s well worth having. Don’t forget that you still need to take your phone charger cable, to use with the battery pack.

A battery pack is an extra piece of kit that needs to be carried around, which is why battery charging backpacks are becoming so popular. Yes, it’s a rucksack with a built-in battery!

With various options to suit any budget, there is a whole host of backpacks on the market that can charge multiple devices at the same time. You’ll normally have a backpack or bag with you while you’re on holiday, so it makes sense for your bag to double up as a portable charger.

Purified drinking water
Water can often be a problem when you’re travelling. It’s not just far flung countries that don’t have safe water to drink – often you’ll find that hotels or restaurants all over Europe don’t have water that’s safe to drink, and it can be hugely dangerous if you’re out walking and you don’t have enough water.

Taking a portable water filtration bottle with you on your travels is invaluable – no matter where you are, having a bottle with an inbuilt filtration system means that you’ll never be without the ability to have clean and safe drinking water.

Comfortable cushions
Adjustable seat cushions are an absolute lifesaver when you’re flying or sitting in vehicles for long periods of time. Memory foam cushions, electronically controlled cushions and inflatable cushions have been designed to make your life more comfortable; if you suffer from bad circulation or find that you ache when you’re in the same position for too long, then these cushions are for you.

The travel versions are designed to be compact and fold away easily, and give you the most comfortable travel you’ve ever experienced.

Sand-resistant beach mat
The new sand-resistant beach mat is an absolute essential when you’re going on a beach holiday. These mats are designed with filtration technology to filter out small particles through the mat, so you never have to worry about your beach mat being covered in sand again.

They’re available in a massive variety of colours and sizes so you can find one that you absolutely love and, while they’re not cheap, it’s lovely to be able to take a mat to the beach and comfortably sit or lie on it all day without having to brush endless amounts of sand off it.

We hope you enjoy our suggestions, and that they make your travelling life even more fun!

Holiday like a local with these interesting apps

We look at some apps that can help give you specialist local knowledge and experience.

Pretty Streets: Free
The goal of Pretty Streets is to create an itinerary for city explorers who are on the lookout for beautiful walks. This app is for people who like to enjoy the journey before they get to the destination.

Instead of giving you the shortest possible route, Pretty Streets creates the most enjoyable path through the city, meaning you can soak up the sights on the way. For those visiting Paris, the app also provides 60 free audio stories that can be discovered at certain locations on the map.

Download Pretty Streets for iPhone or Android.

Spotted by Locals: Free
Spotted by Locals is a free app that offers city guides (at a price) that are created by local ‘Spotters’. Unlike apps like TripAdvisor and Triposo, the content on Spotted by Locals only contains local favourites with no tourist highlights.

Each Spotter lives in the city they write about, speaks the local language and regularly updates their tips. This ensures that you will have access to the newest restaurant and the most popular bars in the palm of your hand. Furthermore, the various maps and city tips are all available offline.

Download Spotted by Locals for iPhone or Android.

VizEat: Free
VizEat is the global social eating app. After entering your destination, you will be given dozens of various eating experiences that are available to you. The immersive experiences are all hosted by locals and include cheese and wine evenings, culinary classes such as pasta making, and rooftop dining.

The 20,000 accommodating hosts from all over the world are ready and willing to show you their local delicacies and traditional recipes. With an average rating of 4.9/5, this is one of the best ways of discovering new cities in a unique and exciting way.

Download VizEat for iPhone or Android.

Citymapper: Free
Citymapper is an app that will help you get from A to B via your chosen form of transport. The app uses live and real-time routing that updates every minute to give you a constant update of the quickest way to get to your destination.

You will be given information such as price, departure times, time taken and calories burnt, allowing you to decide how and when you’ll arrive. After being included in Apple’s ‘Apps of the Year’ in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, it is clear to see that this is an essential holiday app.

Download Citymapper for iPhone or Android.

Gadget tips for a spontaneous French road trip

Megan Thomas tells us about a holiday for the more adventurous and romantic, and shows how you can follow in her footsteps.

I’ve just returned from a two-week road trip from the UK to the South of France, and did it with absolutely no pre-planning except booking onto a ferry from Dover to Calais.

“Why?” may spring to mind – my answer is simply: these days, you don’t need to plan, provided you’ve got the right tools.

“How?” is hopefully your next question, because I’ve got the answers right here.

Legal requirement: get a driving kit for France
Amazon sells a driving kit, and this is roughly £25 you will never regret spending. Amazon does free UK deliveries, so there is absolutely no excuse not to have your Driving Kit packed in your car before you embark on your adventures.

I left on my adventures with only one breathalyser, and was informed by someone I met that if I didn’t have two, I would get fined. I got lucky, but I wouldn’t want anyone getting fined for something as minor as this seems to be (seeing as, hopefully, nobody will need to actually use them!)

Once you’ve made this purchase, it means that the pre-planning for a road trip is minimal and you can pack up and go – driving from Arras, to Lyon, to Montpellier was easy knowing that my car was well-prepared and within French laws.

Download MAPS.ME
One of my favourite additions to our technologically-infused society is the smartphone. With a car-phone-charger in tow, and preferably also a separate battery pack for charging, all your best travel plans can be kept on your phone.

MAPS.ME is what I’d describe as a hybrid between Trip Advisor and a GPS/SatNav. When you’re connected to the internet, you download maps of places you plan on visiting – the whole of France, for instance. This app saved me when I took a wrong turn, finding myself in the industrial area of Bordeaux with no internet access.

Whatever you do, don’t rely on internet access always being available – always have offline options available.

You can download MAPS.ME from the iPhone app store or the Android app store.

More on navigation
Good navigation is essential if you aren’t precisely planning your destinations before you leave – which I found to be is a perfectly viable option, provided you’ve got this app to make sure you are never in a situation where you don’t know where you are.

If you have a SatNav for your car, make sure it covers Europe as well as just the UK – some do, some don’t. Even if you wanted to buy a new SatNav specifically for your trip, they are fairly cheap these days: for example, Argos sells the “Garmin Drive 50LM 5 Inch Europe Lifetime Maps” for £88.99.

Use Airbnb to find places to stay
Airbnb – which can either be downloaded from the iPhone app store or Android app store, or used online at airbnb.com – offers holiday homes and rentals. I consider it to be the easiest, cheapest way to find accommodation that precisely suits your needs in no time at all. Better yet, it means you can stay in a homely environment.

Each day, once I had decided where I would be travelling to, I’d simply type my budget and city into Airbnb and explore the many amazing houses and apartments on offer in the towns I was visiting. Before the days of Airbnb, a lack of planning could mean a lack of options.

This the perfect medium for spontaneous travelling, because Airbnb monitors its users diligently and you are unlikely to go somewhere you haven’t researched reliably. I found myself in central Marseilles, overlooking the Opera, and within walking distance of some of the most delicious snails and mussels I’ve ever tasted.

With these steps in place, your only concern will be finding a delightful spot to order a cold drink and a fresh baguette. The best way to find an authentic place is to ask your Airbnb owner (the person who owns the property that you will be staying in). All the pre-planning and research in the world can never match up to a local’s knowledge!

Our planning notes for the more cautious

  • Take a second phone or tablet computer to use as a backup.
  • Take a spare charger, and a spare battery pack. (Even if you can’t replace the battery on your phone, like with an iPhone, you can plug your charger cable into the battery pack to get an extra charge.)
  • Also consider carrying a SatNav (making sure it covers France, or the area you will be driving in).
  • Take a paper map to use as a last resort.
  • Ensure your car is roadworthy before you go, and that it has been serviced, topped up with necessary fluids and oil, etc.
  • Check your car breakdown cover to ensure that it covers you while you are abroad.
  • Check your car insurance covers you to drive abroad.
  • Check your travel insurance covers you to drive abroad.

Further information to keep you safe and legal
You should review the following information before you leave home, to make sure you stay safe and legally compliant:

New wine and food apps for travellers

There are three brilliant apps for iPhone or Android that allow you to immerse yourself into the culture of a travel destination through the delicious means of food and drink. A major part of experiencing the culture in an unfamiliar place is to sample the fare.

The first app gives access to information about wine, the second, local restaurants, and if you happen to be vegan or vegetarian, this third app is specifically for you.

Each of these unique travel app tools will present you with possible cuisine and wine offerings in Spain, Greece, Italy, or wherever your destination may be. You’ll probably find that one or more of these apps becomes a staple in your smartphone travel routine.

WineGlass: translate wine menus and get reviews
Use WineGlass when you arrive at a new restaurant. While waiting for your meal, you may be inclined to sip on a glass or two, but sometimes you find yourself staring at the menu, completely confused as to what you’re ordering.

Most restaurants will have an English translation, but often these are oddly written and confusing to decipher. So, pay £4.99 for this app, and find the information you need. Act as if you were a sommelier, and order the perfect bottle!

Here’s how it works: 

First, download the app. At this point, you are only required to photograph the menu with your phone. Immediately, the picture is translated, and you receive the rankings, reviews, and costs of each wine, along with an interactive list of food pairings.

With WineGlass, it’s easy to find the bottle that will complete your meal.

WineGlass is available for download for both iPhone and Android devices through the official stores.

CultureTrip: find the best places to go
This free app is a great resource for hunting down the best restaurants, bars and activities in your location. It’s very simple to use, and it’s free!

Culture Trip says that it, “goes beyond the obvious and ordinary, exploring the new, the intriguing and the exciting in your neighbourhood and around the world.”

Here’s how it works: 

Once the app is downloaded, press the Explore button in the top right-hand corner. A list of cultural experiences is generated, and you can click on each article to read more. It’s also possible to use the search tool and research your destination in advance if you’re more of the plan-ahead type.

If you’re looking for new holiday spots, this app is convenient for inspiration, as well. You can be notified of new articles when they are posted, and bookmark anything that stands out to you for future journeys.

Culture Trip’s ratings show its user-friendliness and practicality. It will have you eating outside with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower, or trying famous Portuguese pastries in the heart of Lisbon — whatever your heart desires.

Culture Trip is available for free download for both iPhone and Android devices through the official stores.

HappyCow: find vegetarian and vegan food

HappyCow does a stunning job of providing its users with healthy, easily accessible food. HappyCow holds almost 18,000 vegan and vegetarian restaurant listings in Europe alone, and covers over 180 countries, so you are bound to find places to go out and enjoy a meal in your destination. This app is priced at £3.99, a low price to pay for living a healthy life.

It can be hard as a vegan or vegetarian in a foreign country to ask for a tailored meal in a restaurant where you don’t speak the local language, so why not go to a restaurant that provides exactly what you need without the hassle or stress?

Here’s how it works: 

HappyCow will prompt you to allow access to your location. Once you have accepted, a list of local restaurants is produced.

HappyCow is available for download for both iPhone and Android devices through the official stores.

Regardless of where your journey takes you, rest assured that these apps will take the stress out of finding a stellar location to eat out or have a drink while enjoying your travel experience.

Great travel apps to help you plan your holiday

Here are three lesser-known apps that will help you plan your next trip, from finding the cheapest and fastest transport and organising your suitcase, to communicating in different languages.

Packpoint – Your packing assistant
If you always realise that you forgot your pyjamas or toothbrush when you arrive at the destination, this app will help you remember everything you need to take.

There are various apps to help with packing for your holiday, but we chose this one because of its multiple options. PackPoint is like your butler: you indicate whether you are male or female, where you are going, days of stay, whether it is a business or pleasure trip, and what activities you want, and the app gives you a listing of things to pack.

Once the list of luggage is created and organised, you can share it with family, friends or colleagues so that they can also help.

PackPoint is available for download for free for both iPhone and Android devices through the official stores.

Duolingo – Quickly learn the basics of a new language
There are many reasons why Duolingo is one of the most widely-used applications for learning languages. Duolingo is 100% free, well-designed, with no extra charges, no subscriptions, no commercials, and offers a high-quality education at no cost.

Each lesson includes different exercises for speaking, listening, and translating, and feels like you are playing, which makes learning fun. The application divides the languages into different themes, from food to business, so you can practice the type of language you need most. You can also choose to improve grammar using the adverbs and pronouns option.

The method is based on developing a knowledge tree in which the user goes from one challenge to the next. This app has won thousands of fans because the strategy used for learning is not memorising but practice. This makes it easier to learn a language.

In addition, this application adds a social component which can help you compete with your friends to see who advances more.

Duolingo works for both Apple iOS and Android and you can also use it from your computer.

Currently, you can learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Russian, Esperanto, Polish and Turkish, and can also learn pronunciation. This makes Duolingo a great app to get a basic grasp of a new language quickly if you are travelling to a foreign country.

Duolingo is available for download for free for both iPhone and Android devices through the official stores.

GoEuro – Easily find the cheapest and fastest means to travel in Europe
Traveling Europe from end to end, either by train, bus, or plane, is quite possible but not always easy to figure out.

GoEuro is an app that helps you travel in Europe in the fastest and cheapest way, not only from the airport to the city and back, but also to cities and towns that can only be reached by trains or buses. This is what makes it different from other search engines and travel comparison apps.

When you want to use the GoEuro search engine, you have buses, trains, and flights in a single search, so you only have to enter your intended start and end locations. You can filter the results by your schedule, and order them by the fastest and cheapest options.

Not only will this app allow you to see the prices offered by different companies and different means of transport, but also book directly without leaving the app. This means you will no longer have to pay attention to the different websites of many transport companies, but in just a few clicks, you will have everything planned and booked.

GoEuro is available for download for free for both iPhone and Android devices through the official stores.

Make your smartphone a travel force to be reckoned with!

Whether you’re a late adopter of 21st-century tech or a keen lover of the latest apps, your smartphone is one tool you don’t want to leave at home on vacation. Harness its power with the sleekest and most practical travel apps to make your next trip run smoothly.

We’ve covered a lot of apps over the last few months, so we thought it would be useful to give you a quick roundup of everything you should be considering on your phone for your next trip, including some new goodies we haven’t mentioned before. There’s bound to be something here that you’ll find useful.

You can easily find any of these apps for iPhone or Android – just search for them on your app store.

Booking your holiday
Staying connected while travelling can be a lifesaver – literally – but your smartphone can be an important resource even before you’ve left home. Use a flight aggregator like Kayak or Skyscanner to search for plane tickets.

Search for a room on Hotels.com or get a cosier, more residential space with Airbnb.

If you’re comfortable winging it, wait until arrival and get deep discounts on your accommodations with Hotel Tonight.

TripIt will forward all your confirmation emails to a single custom itinerary, to help you stay organised.

When you travel
Skip the jet lag with JetLag Genie, which helps you adjust your sleep schedule before departure.

Generate a packing list with PackPoint to ensure you don’t leave anything behind, and prepare to hit the road!

In the airport, GateGuru can show you a map of the terminal, reviews of onsite restaurants, and even estimated wait times for the security line.

Find a prime spot to wait for your flight using Lounge Buddy.

Stock up on reading material for the flight by saving articles to Pocket for offline use.

When you’re on holiday
Once you’re back on solid ground, you may be used to using Google Maps to get around town. If you don’t have internet access in your new destination, try MapsMe instead, or Tripadvisor offline maps (you can download a whole city guide on TripAdvisor).

HopStop and AllSubway can help you navigate even the most mind-boggling public transport system.

If you’re renting a car, download GasBuddy to help you find the nearest fill-up station.

Are you hopping from city to city by bus or train? Rome2Rio (called FetchMyWay on Android), compiles a seemingly endless number of overland routes to any destination you can imagine.

Uber operates in many cities, and can be a quick and easy way to get a taxi. In some cities Uber is cheap, but in some cities like Dublin it’s very expensive, so keep an eye on costs.

Expensify can help you document expenses, but for keeping better track of your travel budget, install a more comprehensive finance app like Mint.

You’ll never be strapped for cash with the PinPin ATM Finder, and you can be sure you’re leaving the right tip with Tipulator.

Finding things to do
When the dinner bell rings, you may be tempted to rely on TripAdvisor and Yelp for restaurant reviews. These are good resources, but you can get specific dish recommendations on Tastespotting.

For a unique take on sightseeing, you can find locals’ favourite hotspots on Localeur and upcoming events on Goby.

Invite a local friend to join you on the WithLocals app.

Need help with a language barrier? Rely on Google Translate or hire an interpreter via Whym.

Safety
No matter where your travels take you, put safety first. TravelSafe hosts a database of emergency phone numbers around the world. You can even pin your destination’s police and ambulance contacts to your phone’s home screen.

So no matter which of our travel hotspots this month takes your fancy, keeping your journey in the 21st century is a snap with the right app!

Maps for your smartphone that work without wifi

While on holiday, many of us don’t have a mobile phone data plan that covers data while we’re out and about, and it’s not always possible to connect your phone to wifi. This can make finding your way around town difficult.

The solution is to download a map or guide before starting your European adventure.

If you know you’re going to be spending some time in Vienna, Siena, or thousands of other cities and towns, the following apps for both iOS and Android will allow you to expertly navigate like a pro, without needing an internet connection.

Additionally, assuming you have a sufficient battery charge, these apps allow you to plan your trip while you are still travelling, on your flight or train ride before arrival.

MAPS.ME has much better offline maps than Google Maps
Maps.me is very impressive in its scope, and covers nearly the entire world. The level of detail includes every statue in a park and allows for flawless navigation to your next destination, wherever that may be.

Additionally, pharmacies, supermarkets hospitals, and public transport options are all clearly listed and marked. The app allows for fantastic zooming in and out, as well as rotation of the map, on any device without ever freezing up in front of your eyes. You simply need to download your destination when you have a data connection, either before you go on holiday or using the wifi in your hotel.

Download MAPS.ME for iPhone
Download MAPS.ME for Android

izi.TRAVEL: offline maps and audio guides for museums and cities
Increasingly, museums are giving visitors access to high-speed internet, which lets you use GPS location and QR code scanning to provide information about specific exhibits. This makes for a more interactive experience to museum goers.

However, even if this is not available to you, izi.TRAVEL allows you to download these audio guides before your visit to make the most of Europe’s finest museums in nearly every country.

While the app also provides city maps, Maps.ME is considerably better for that; the real treat is the audio guides, which are made by travel professionals, art history professors and a community of over six million users.

Download izi.TRAVEL for iPhone
Download izi.TRAVEL for Android

Both apps offer a lot with no price tag

Just because you don’t have a mobile internet connection when you’re in Europe, either due to cost or wanting to get away from your phone for a while, these two apps give you a sense of direction and “being in the know” before your arrival.

Preparing your phone for your holiday

Before you go on your next trip, taking some time to prepare your smartphone will help you to get the most out of it while you are on holiday. Here’s what you need to do:

Synchronise and delete unwanted data
Synchronise your phone with your computer before your trip. This will back up all your photos and other data, in case your phone is lost or stolen. (Your travel insurance or gadget insurance can never replace the magic moments stored on your phone.)

Once you’ve backed up, you can delete some things from your phone, to make sure there is lots of memory left for the photos and videos you will take on your holiday. As well as deleting unwanted apps that you no longer use, consider deleting photos and especially videos, because these take a lot of memory. You can also trim videos, just keeping the best bits, to reduce their size.

Roaming
Check that you have roaming turned on for your phone. This will allow you to use calls, text, and data while you are on holiday. You will often need to phone your network operator to arrange for roaming to be turned on. If you have recently changed your phone or your network, roaming will probably be turned off.

Be aware that charges apply for roaming, and it can be expensive. Fortunately, new EU legislation means that your network operator is now more limited in how much they can charge you, and from 15th June 2017 roaming charges in the EU will be abolished. (More information here.) You are best to use wifi abroad whenever you can, rather than your phone’s data connection, to be on the safe side.

It is most useful to turn data roaming off, but leave call and text roaming on. This means that your phone will not be able to keep using data to connect in the background, to retrieve emails etc, unless you are connected to wifi.

Apple roaming information is useful, and Google will give you Android roaming information too.

Know how to work your phone
Two very useful features are Flight Mode and the torch. (The torch illuminates the LED flash on your phone.) Make sure you know how to find these quickly. Search Google if you’re not sure.

Load up with travel apps
In previous newsletters we have covered some of the most useful apps. As a reminder:

  • Download TripAdvisor, open it, then download the offline city guide for the place you are visiting, if one is available. It’s free of charge. Then you can still read TripAdvisor when you don’t have an internet connection.
  • Download some kind of communication app to stay in touch with folks back home. Skype, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger would be useful. Make sure you add your family and friends to the app before you go, so that you can actually contact them!
  • Download a currency converter app such as XE. Load it up before you go away to get the latest exchange rates into the app before you travel.
  • Put a couple of games on your phone to pass the time. Go to your phone’s app store and you will quickly see the latest trending games. Many are free. Make sure the games don’t need the internet in order to work (test it before you go by turning on Flight Mode then playing the game).
  • Use the Sky TV app to record any TV programmes that you might miss while you’re away. (You can often use iPlayer to catch up when you get home, anyway.)

Social media
Just a word of caution: don’t write about your holiday publicly on social media until you get home. Otherwise you are advertising to the world that your house is unoccupied, and you might be in for a nasty surprise when you get home!

Reading material
Put the Kindle app onto your phone. It’s free, and you can get some free and very low cost books, including travel guides to the place you are visiting. This lets you save weight when packing, by leaving your books at home.

If you use Dropbox for storing your files, the Dropbox app has an offline mode, where you can download files for reading without an internet connection. This can be useful if you have newsletters or other files in PDF format that you wish to read.

Pack your charger, adapter and battery pack
Don’t forget to take your phone charger and its cable. You will also need a plug adapter for EU power sockets (check it fits the exact country you’re visiting).

You should also consider a spare external battery pack. These are quite cheap, and are readily available for iPhone and Android phones. The higher the capacity (measured in mAh), the more charge the battery pack will give you. Don’t forget to charge up the battery pack before you go away, because most do not come pre-charged.