Take a vacation with your smartphone. Summer time = travel time. No matter whether you are traveling in Germany, in Europe or worldwide, it does not take much to enjoy a relaxed, eventful but well organized holiday. The destination is selected, the travel fund is filled and the suitcases are packed. So let it begin.
Only one thing is missing – and you should not forget – your smartphone.
Because your smartphone is virtually a multi-talent and can prove to you particularly important and good services when traveling. A little preparation and a check if everything works is necessary. In order to make this as easy as possible for you, I have put together the seven most important functions for using your smartphone on vacation.
1. Photos, photos, photos
Smartphone cameras have made an incredible triumph. The photo quality is getting better and the compact, separate cameras have almost disappeared in insignificance. Usually, the smartphone cameras are much more snapped than with the conventional camera models. There are tons of photos that need to be managed.
Tip: If you own a smartphone with low memory (ie 8 or 16 GB), you can use the option of an additional micro SD card. They are cheap and work for the vast majority of Android smartphones. A first selection can be found here:
To manage and edit your photos are the best cloud photo apps of the two largest providers Apple and Google. Both are free of charge up to a (sufficient) storage volume and offer countless possibilities for editing, cropping and arranging your photos. For iPhone owners, the Apple’s PHOTOS app is usually the first choice. For Android smartphones or for a mix of Android and Apple devices, Google Photos is the recommended option.
Tip: How do I effectively and save memory with Google Photos? I recently wrote a much-read post: Save storage space with Google Photos.
2. Navigation is the alpha and omega
The navigation is similar to the compact cameras. New, free and feature-rich apps have pushed separate navigation devices into the background. First and foremost the top dog of Google: Google Maps. Already on the way to vacation it is often the most used app, if you are traveling by car.
Google Maps recognizes congestion and construction sites reliably and up to the present day, and usually leads you very reliably to the destination, even if sometimes the route guidance seems a bit unusual.
Tip: Get an adapter for the cigarette lighter in your car that has a USB port. Then you can connect your normal charging cable for your smartphone there. Then your phone will not run out of steam even with intensive Google Maps usage. A first selection of such adapters can be found here.
Arrived at the resort, Google Maps provides you as a guide very good services. If you are traveling in Europe and have a mobile phone contract with EU roaming, you are always online and able to navigate at your own pace. By the way, all of my recommended mobile phone rates have included EU roaming.
Tip: If you can not be online at the resort, use the so-called offline maps from Google Maps. Download the maps of your vacation home at home and then use them locally without an Internet connection and only with the GPS signal of your mobile phone. How this works is explained here.
3. Travel documents always at hand
The hotel booking is done and the flight is booked. A shuttle for airport transfers to the property is also organized. As a rule, a lot of booking documents, tickets, vouchers and much more arise very quickly. You can and should also print for security, but it is certainly not wrong to always have them with you via smartphone.
The easiest way to do that is to use cloud storage apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, SecureSafe, or OneDrive from Microsoft. Most are free or linked to other products, such as Microsoft Office365.
Tip: Create a special folder for your trip with the cloud storage provider of your choice. Install the right app on your smartphone, sync once – done.
4. How is the weather going?
One of the most frequently asked questions before the holiday starts – for sure. As for most tasks, there are also apps for the weather, and unmanageably many. IPhone is a simple but reliable app already preset with the simple name: Weather. That’s enough for the standard questions about the weather. Otherwise, you are spoiled for choice.
5. Greetings to those who stayed at home
Finally holidays! Away from home and out of the usual environment. Just relax.
But at the latest after a few days, you want to know how the home stay is doing and if the weather at home is really worse than in the sunny south. And since postcards are no longer suitable for this type of communication, the messenger is often used on the smartphone even on vacation.
Whether Threema, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, all fulfill this purpose, as long as the other participants in the conversation are also with this service.
Tip: WhatsApp is and remains the most popular among the messengers. How to set up and use WhatsApp easily and above all safe, you will learn in this guide.
6. Travel reports always up to date
If someone does a trip, then he can tell a lot. To capture all the details and the diverse experiences, especially on longer trips, a travel diary is suitable. Of course you can do that with a notebook and a pen – or you can use your smartphone as well.
This is best suited to the note apps of various providers, such as Outlook notes, or the notes app Apple for iOS. Even notes are synchronized via the cloud and you can create, edit and complete your travel reports with any device.
Tip: I have been using Evernote for many years for this purpose. Evernote is virtually my digital memory for everything, including my travelogues. The app is free in the (completely sufficient) basic version. For Apple’s iOS, you can find Evernote here and for your Android device here.
7. Communicate via e-mail anytime, anywhere
It probably does not stay out, even on vacation, one or the other e-mail must be read or written. And if it’s just a request to your hotel or the flight announcement from the airline. That’s why you should have your e-mail address set up on your mobile phone.
Tip: When setting up the e-mail on your smartphone, it is very important that you select the IMAP protocol. Then the email processing on your computer and on your smartphone and / or tablet will be automatically synchronized and kept up to date. I have described in detail in this article how you basically set up e-mail on your mobile phone.
That was a lot of topics, but I’m sure you’ve already got one or the other set up on your mobile phone anyway and are well prepared for your next vacation.