April 23, 2010

My backpacking iPhone apps list

When traveling abroad, how you use your iPhone changes. Not only should you be looking outside -rather than checking twitter/facebook- but also, your phone should be either in airplane mode, or with data roaming off.

Without a constant connection, it’s important to think ahead a bit so you can have most of the functionality you come to expect from your iPhone. There are also little apps that help you make the most out of your trip.

Below my most used ones:

  1. City Maps 2Go $1.99

    City Maps 2 Go is a perfect application for tourists on city trips and locals who need an offline-available, quick and cost-effective tool to navigate with their iPhone and iPod Touch.

    Google Maps for iPhone is amazing, but without internet (or a jailbreak), it’s totally worthless. This app uses the OpenStreetMap data, and while limited, it’s a lifesaver when you’re lost in a new city trying to find your hostel. Remember to download the maps of cities before hand, since they’re fairly large.

  2. GlobeMaster $0.99

    Offline world-wide travel guide for 260+ countries and 1400+ cities.

    This is basically a curated Wikitravel content for the iPhone. It’s no substitute to a good city guide. But if you’re just passing by, it has most of what you need.

  3. Global SOS $0.99

    Are you a traveler? Do you frequently go abroad? In an emergency would you know the right foreign emergency numbers to call for help?

    Luckily I didn’t have to use this app. But everywhere I went, it displayed the important numbers. It’s an useless app, until you need it.

  4. Kindle or Stanza

    I need to read to fall asleep, that’s just the way I’m wired. If you’re staying in hostels or sharing a room, you usually can’t turn the light on. With the white on black setting, these app let me read without bothering anyone. If you own a Kindle, you get the added benefit of picking up where you left once you get back.

  5. AutoStitch $1.99

    This application unleashes the power of your iPhone’s camera to create wide-angle views and panoramas with any arrangment of photos.

    Sometimes you want to record exactly what you’re seeing. I haven’t found a better way than a wide-angle shot.

  6. Skype

    Every so often you’ll find an open Wi-Fi: call your mom.

  7. Extended Battery

    Not technically an app, but without juice, you won’t be able to use any of the above for long. I have the RichardSolo 1800 ($69.95) which is on the expensive side, but it has a standard mini-USB connector and a LED flashlight. There are cheaper options, but do get one.

I used all of these with my iPhone 3GS, of course, your milage may vary.


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