Travel blogger Matt Gibson joins RedBoard for a guest post sharing his top tips for Android-toting travelers.
Guidebooks – once a necessity – are quickly being rendered obsolete by the wealth of information that can be accessed online and by the multitudes of travel apps available on our smartphones.
As a professional travel blogger, I travel a lot and have come to rely heavily on my Samsung Galaxy SII Android smartphone for information. Here are a few of the apps and tricks I use on the road.
Find great restaurants
The days of taking a chance at an unfamiliar restaurant are over. Yelp (free) has become far and away the most-used app for user-generated bar and restaurant reviews. Yelp is hooked into your smartphone’s GPS, so it will find restaurants near you and recommend the best based on other people’s reviews. When you choose your restaurant, just push the ‘get directions’ button and Yelp will open up Google Maps and auto-load driving directions. You can also try Alfred (free), which is similar to Yelp but is programmed to learn your taste and make suggestions based on the restaurants that you enjoyed in the past.
Checking your email and Facebook from your phone on the go is convenient, but if you spend a significant amount of time online like I do, you need to find Wi-Fi. WiFi Finder (free) finds both free and paid hotspots near you so you can plop down and crack open the laptop to really get some work done.
Save Your Battery
Using maps to navigate can drain your battery and power sources aren’t always readily available on the road. Getting the most out of my battery is a top priority, and Juice Defender (free) is an exceptional power saver. When I installed it, my battery life appeared to last 20 to 40 per cent longer. You can also purchase second batteries fairly inexpensively.
When you find yourself lost on a back road in Minnesota, you won’t need to worry about the potential costs of opening up Google Maps for a couple of hours, thanks to the Rogers U.S. roaming rate. Rogers offers a $7.99/day roaming rate for Canadians traveling in the United States, which allows for up to 50 MB of data download per day (way more than most people use). For more information visit Rogers.com/roaming.
On some trips, everything seems to go wrong. It’s as though Murphy’s Law applies tenfold while traveling — so it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. You can also protect your smartphone from loss or theft using Lookout Security (free), which enables you to remotely lock your lost or stolen phone, locate it using GPS, or wipe all the data.