I bought a 3G Android Tablet before I flew to India anticipating that I might not have internet access in some areas that I’ll be going to. I figured that I could use it to at least check and respond to emails.
Since I left last March 2011 to backpack around Asia, I’ve been relying a lot on internet to generate funds for my travels. As much as I’d like to be disconnected form the online world for a long time, I just could not afford it. I have to constantly check emails to make sure that I could reply to them.
Turned out that I got to use the tablet for a whole lot more than just responding emails through a variety of free applications that Android has.
Here are some of the apps that I’m using and that I recommend you download (if it doesn’t come pre-installed with your smartphone or tablet):
EBook and PDF Reader
There are so many variety of free apps that serves as an ebook and pdf reader. It helps me carry lesser stuff since I wouldn’t have to buy and carry books anymore. I just download them and save them on my tablet. I also don’t print tickets anymore, I just also download them and save them. I also downloaded my own ebook about the Philippines and occasionally show them to fellow travellers who are travelling in Asia.
Hotel Booking Apps
I seldom book my accommodations online since I have the habit of just looking for a hostel once I arrive. But now, before even arriving to a destination, I check this app to read some reviews about hostels and to compare cost and value. In some occasion, I see some promotion and I get to stay in a nice place without paying the full price.
What I also like about this is that you get a lot of information that you need. For example, if you’re going to book hotels in Bangkok, you get information about the hotel, price, location and even some photos. Again, there are so many free apps available offering hotel booking and you choose whichever suits your liking. Some apps even provide additional info such as nearby sights and restaurants etc. this is definitely one of the most helpful kind of apps for travellers like you and me.
VOIP App for Free Calls (And SMS)
Want to save money on expensive phone calls. International Roaming might soon be obsolete since you can now use your tablet/smartphone to make calls or send messages using just Wifi or 3G. VOIP access is making communicating to our love ones cheaper and convenient. Especially now in our times when smartphones and internet tablets are becoming cheaper and more powerful as years go by. As long as you have an internet access, you could make a free call.
Currency Exchange Rates
It’s very helpful to know the current exchange rate to avoid being scammed and losing money unnecessarily. I used to just write down the current exchange rate that I get online before I go to any money exchange shops and sometimes I end up losing the paper where I wrote the info. Now, I can check it anytime using this app. Just like the first two apps mentioned above, there are multiple apps offering currency exchange info, just choose the one that works well with your phone/tablet.
This app comes pre-installed when I bought the tablet but if you don’t have one, you could just download from the Apps Store. This is very handy especially when planning your trip. I use maps not really to just to navigate my way towards an area but also to plot the places that I will go to. I don’t like going through the same road over again and I usually try to avoid doing it at all times and a good map helps me in my research in finding alternative routes.
Social Media Apps
This would probably be the main reason why there’s huge sales in smartphones and tablets. Social Media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc makes communication and sharing great travel photos like your awesome shot of some wild elephants in India (for example) so easy. In some apps, you could also customize and do some minor editing in your picture before you share it to your network. Make sure to download one so you could easily share your snapshots to your family and friends.
All work and no play makes life boring. LOL! Thousands of free games are available on the Apps Store for free or for a small fee. Download some to make your waiting time in airports and bus stations less boring!
How about you! What are the Apps that you downloaded in your smartphone/tablet?
Editor’s Notes: All photos are screenshot of my tablet’s screen.