Beyond Basic,  the Must-Have Apps

Let’s be real.  There is basically one item we never leave home without, nor would we even consider it.  Who knew that we would ever become so attached to a device? If you would have told me growing up that I would always keep an electronic device on hand I would not have believed you.  Gone are the days where a mobile phone was just a mobile phone. It has become so much more than that.

Our phones have become the new normal.  They connect us on so many levels. Phones have become an extension of us and without it, we tend to feel lost.  Most are familiar with the constant state of anxiety of that time period without your phone. Constantly seeking an update.  We go to check out our nonexistent phone for a text, an email, to look up a fact, double check that song in the background way more than what we would care to admit.  Force of habit.

Nuestros teléfonos siempre están al alcance.

Our phones are always with us.

Phones allow us to travel sans planner, maps, camera or even personal documents.  They have become our go-to source of connection, entertainment, and tools. We all know there is an app for the majority of our needs or it is currently in development. There is a surplus of apps to suit your needs and the majority are available in free and paid versions. I prefer to test out the free version before diving in.

Never underestimate an app because it is free.  They can do the trick and be just as useful in times of need.  I have put together a list of the most underrated apps that you must have when traveling.   Keep in mind that the setup is just as important as the download when you are traveling because you will have limited access to WIFI. Make every GB count in your favor.  Download before you go!


iPhone users can connect with other iPhone peeps using the FaceTime Audio and Video options when a WIFI connection is available. This makes me nervous!  I am afraid I will dial out as usual and blow my bill out of proportion.  International calls are ridiculously expensive and will come back to haunt you if you are not careful. It does not matter if you answer the call to let someone know you are not able to talk. I switch off my Cellular data capacity for peace of mind.


Whatsapp is my go-to for text and calls when traveling abroad.  Easily handle regular calls and text messages with direct access to contacts. A downfall is that it only works for those who have the app.  Obvs, tho. Whatsapp is a great alternative to Facetime Audio and Video that is fueled by WIFI. Granted, it will not allow you to call a landline if you have to call the hotel but consider emails as the best solution.  Hotel staff constantly monitor their emails so you can expect to get a swift response if you need to reach out.

Easily connect with others while traveling with Whatsapp text feature.  Group texts are a breeze keeping everyone on the same page when needed. You can also share photos easily during the trip if you are avoiding social media. Not all moments are meant to be shared on the Gram nor does everyone strive to be so open with their life.  Share what you want with who you want!

Google Maps

Maps are one of the most convenient items to have when traveling into uncharted territory.   They allow you to scope out a destination before setting foot there so you can properly prep. I’m all about the prep.  I need to know what I am getting myself into before arriving. Download maps to your phone using Google Maps to move freely from one spot to next.  Be sure to check out your ideal spots to download a reasonable radius of the area. You will not be in the dark and still have room for photos and other apps.

Digital maps should not replace an actual map but meant to compliment them.  Always grab maps at the hotel to have a visual of the area. They are great to make notes on and keep track of plans before heading out for the day.  Make sure you check in with hotel staff to confirm which areas should be avoided while exploring new destinations. They will always point you in the right direction and can recommend local spots to visit.

Google Translate

Traduce con facilidad todos los letreros sin importar el idioma.

Easily translate all signs in any language when traveling.

Google Translate is another vital app to have on your phone when traveling.  Similar to having an interpreter handy, this app is convenient to help decipher words in other languages.   Easily translate signs to find your way around and even understand menus at local spots.

Google Translate is a great asset for everyone.  It doesn’t matter if you are fluent in one language or multiple languages.  The bilingual brain is complex. Especially when you are not able to recall the actual word or phrase in the language you need at the moment.  Sometimes there is no way to fully express a thought or explain a concept because it can’t be translated. These situations are manageable when you are communicating with other bilinguals but can get complicated.  This app has helped me express myself when I get stuck.

Find My Phone

Find my Phone may be one of the most underrated apps and least thought of until you actually need it.  Losing your phone is not the best feeling in the world. Panic can set in rapidly when you are not able to pinpoint the last time you saw your phone. We have all been there at some point.

Recently encountered a state of panic when I could not find my phone.  This feeling is comparable to how your body reacts to finding a bruise.  We are typically oblivious to pain until we see the actual bruise. I lost track of all the times I plummeted to the ground on my skateboard.  Nothing could convey I had actually hurt myself until I saw the bruise. Find My Phone pinpointed the place to where I had left my phone. TBH, this app was something I never thought about until I needed it.  Better to have it ready to go and never use it but it will come in handy.

I can’t think of a more inconvenient situation to deal with while traveling.  It is really easy to take for granted communicating with anyone at the push of a button until you have to actually dial someone’s number.  Gone are the days where you had to jot down a number. There is something about writing that allows us to retain the information better. I find that writing down information leads to better recall than just typing it.


Traveling and the anticipation of travel will lead us to neglect crucial details for the trip.  Planning out what to wear, where we want to visit or what to eat are all important factors to map out but don’t forget about your phone. Prep your phone for that upcoming trip.

Spring clean your phone just like you would your closet. Make room for photos, videos, and the new apps. Discard any apps you hold on to but never use.  Same rules apply but you need to be honest and evaluate how useful it is. You can always download later on if you realize you really need it.  While you’re at it, do yourself a big favor and backup your phone.  This may be the farthest thing from your mind but make sure to have a current phone before heading out on your next adventure.

I want to know what your favorites apps are and why.  Tell me what you can’t live without.

Join me on my journey!


Leave a Reply