Cameras, books, speakers, wallets, games and maps. The number of things that our phone has replaced over the years when it comes to travel packing is almost endless. Well, not quite, otherwise this article would go on forever.
That mad rush to pack your suitcase at 1AM because you are too disorganised do it earlier. Sound familiar? We’ve all been through it in years gone by, but with our phones now being multi-purpose tools for all occasions, has that suitcase shed a few pounds?
At Three, we want you to Go Roam, and explore the great continents. With Feel at Home you can use your phone abroad in up to 50 destinations (with another 10 coming in June), covering 86% of all trips from the UK. So with the world at your feet, it helps if you don’t have to pack your entire home into your suitcase.
Here are some of the things that our phone has basically replaced.
Let’s start with the obvious one, as we’re so thankful that we no longer have to take our film to get developed. The camera that was so essential now fits into our palms and allows us to take hundreds of selfies with our cats/dogs and maybe a couple of holiday photos, made much easier with camera-led designs from the iPhone 7 or Samsung S8. We can vouch for that. Not only are the devices great, but there are apps and gear like 360 cam that take our photos to a level that we just couldn’t reach before.
Manual Camera is another one of our favourite apps, which allows you complete control over focus, shutter speed, white balance, ISO, exposure, and more.
Curling up on a sunbed and catching the rays by the pool with a good book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, if you were a quick and avid reader, it often meant carrying a heavy suitcase full of books and not much else. The Kindle changed all of that. You can now read all the books and have enough space in your suitcase for your inflatable swimming pool ring. And travel guides? Forget about it, these days you don’t have to get lost in the middle of nowhere. Download the Tripadvisor or The Lonely Planet app and you’ll be sorted. Do we even have to mention Google Maps?
Communication is always one of the trickiest and most vital elements of travelling to a foreign language country. Having an English to Portuguese dictionary used to be paramount when trekking through Brazil. But now apps like Duolingo can help you learn the language in your spare time and converse with the locals.
In case you make the odd friend on your travels and exchange numbers, SMS Translator lets you translate your texts to a foreign language. Type out your message, enter a phone number, tap translate and converse away. It can even translate incoming messages for you. Your suitcase gets emptier by the minute.
UNO! Board games take up a lot of room, especially ones that require two people. It’s pretty sweet having a whole list of games stuck inside your mobile. While it was previously impossible to get a board game out on a long-haul flight, lest the person in front of you gave you a death stare for encroaching on the back of their seat, now chess, cards and Monopoly all reside in your phone. This packing malarkey is pretty easy, do you even need a suitcase? (Please bring a suitcase, unfortunately due to technological limitations you cannot store clothes in your phone).
Enter Sonos/Spotify. Playing your music through speakers or your smart TV at your hotel has effectively eliminated the need for hefty speakers. Especially if you’re backpacking. Take the iPhone 7. Fitted with two speakers, one at the bottom and one in the earphone slot, you can expect a full, booming sound (double the top volume of the iPhone 6S, in fact) that’s pumping enough to get an impromptu beach party started. HTC is another leader in the superior sound field, with its BoomSound speakers (in the HTC 10, one speaker is located at the top and the other is at the bottom for a balanced stereo sound experience).
Airline apps now tend to let you check in online and store your boarding passes on your phone. Not only is it one less thing to carry but you should be OK if you forget some of your documents. Disaster averted. Once you’re at your destination, you can take full advantage of LiveTrekker, keeping a sharable GPS map log of where you’ve been along with geotagged photos, videos and audio. The perfect travel diary.
Carrying a wallet abroad has always been precarious. Losing it or getting it stolen is a MASSIVE headache for anyone. Using apps like Apple Pay mean none of the stress and unnecessary admin has to haunt you through your holiday. Apply Pay typically has a maximum spend of £30 in most shops, but some retailers like H&M and M&S will let you spend more with it. In terms of security, it’s better than you’d expect: all secure data is hidden from the retailer and staff members, who won’t see your card number or name when you pay, and your iPhone will provide a one-time, transaction-specific security code, so there’s no need for any of the stores to keep track of your data or purchase history. And if your phone gets lost, you can remotely stop the use of the card through Find My iPhone.
As for the Monzo card, it lets you use your card abroad for no charge – it’s a double whammy.