Any traveler can benefit from packing lightly, but backpackers and travel nomads are the ones who have made it into an art. In this day and age, advancements in technology have allowed travelers to reduce the weight they carry in their packs; while traveling once demanded the use of a different appliance for every task, now most of those can be accomplished with a mobile app on a single device.
While it depends on your electronic needs while abroad, the many uses of smartphones and tablets can almost always fit the bill. Bloggers, photographers, telecommuting travelers, and even those traveling explicitly for business can utilize these mobile devices to stay connected and satisfy needs that arise when away from home. And in this day and age, there are enough apps on the market to close the gap between tablet and laptop functionality for most everyday uses.
For example, there are a whole bunch of physical objects you can cross off your packing list, such as maps, novels, and MP3 players, if you bring a tablet or smartphone abroad. Save room in your backpack or suitcase with digital app replacements such as:
Transform your tablet into an e-reader, replacing heavy books and paper. You can download guidebooks for travel preparation and novels for entertainment during those long flights.
2. Google Earth or Google Maps
Leave heavy, clumsy maps at home and turn a tablet into a GPS navigation guide to find your hotel, airport, and nearby points of interest. Google Maps will be getting a nice makeover this summer, which will merge Google Earth, Street View and Maps, bringing a more unified experience to roaming travelers.
Through the use of digital notes and notebooks, you can easily keep track of flight routes, itineraries, e-tickets, boarding passes, visa requirements, etc. Download the browser companion to “clip” articles, photos, and maps and export them directly to a specific notebook.
Mobile devices can also keep travelers connected, provided they have a roaming data plan or WiFi connection. Consider these apps:
Instantly chat with friends and family back home for free with real-time face-to-face video chatting. You can also get a Skype phone number and call land or mobile lines at a cheap, discounted rate.
2. Facebook Messenger
For Facebook users, this free app can be a great substitute for SMS. As long as you have a WiFi connection, you can instantly chat with friends and family back home, and receive alerts/notifications just like you would with a text message.
Functioning like a modern-day walkie-talkie, this push-to-talk app integrates multimedia so you can send voice, text, and photo messages to individuals or groups in real time.
And of course, travel-specific apps make it more fun to use mobile devices on the go. Whether you need to find good eats in a new city, book a quality hotel, or research the best last-minute flight deal, there are a myriad of travel apps at your fingertips. Check these out:
Gogobot is a ravel social network where users share travel tips and reviews, plan trips, create a digital passports, and engage in local community networks. And while on the go, you can use their fantastic app to read up on where you are and where you’re going, or snap a picture and upload it as a digital postcard to Facebook and Twitter.
Keep track of your travel itinerary, including hotel and flight bookings, confirmation numbers, and schedules.
Find cheap flights on the go, and book directly from the app.
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