When we started travelling South America in December 2016 we only had 2 or 3 apps like banking apps and Google on our phones. Nowadays the list has developed into a whole pletora. While we got around without them 3 years ago, apps have now just about become indespensible and make your life on the road so much easier. Below are a few that we use, and a few more that we may use in future.
- Google Translate – Absolutely indespensible for travelling in countries where you do not speak the local ligo. South America is all about Spanish and Portuguese (Brazil). Google Translate builds on a massive database of machine learning to create a vocabulary in 103 languages. It also offers a conversation mode in 32 languages, but the killer feature is that you can take a photo of text for an instant translation – exceptionally handy with restaurant menus or transit stations. Be sure to preload the languanges that you are going to need so that you can use this app offline.
- iOverland – We use this app virtually a few times every day in South America. See here how our tablet has been fixed in front of Hanlie so that it is readily available. The information is uploaded by fellow overlanders just like us on the go, so the information is normally current. Here you can find formal, informal and wild campsites, hostels, fuel stations and many more. Fellow overlanders also tell you how to navigate borders as well as a host of other features. The best is that this app can be used off-line, by making use of the GPS of the tablet. Once have read through the options for nearby campsites and have chosen one, the app will link you to Google Maps or Maps.me (our choice) and provide you with directions for getting there. When overlanding in South America this works brilliantly, but the app is also gaining popularity in Southern Afica.
- Maps.me / or Google Maps – We use Maps.me a lot, both when driving as well as when walking in towns and cities. Make sure that you have downloaded the maps for the area that you will be travelling in so that you can use the app while off-line.
- Uber – suffice to say that we use Uber a lot when exporing larger cities. We love the Uber service and found this to be very efficient espcecially in daunting cities such as Sao Paulo.
- Booking.com – Excellent for booking accommodation, especially in the bigger cities.
- Collect – A very handy app for storing all your documents – passport, yellow fever, car documents, insurance etc right on your phone. And you can sync this with your travelling partner and even share / forward to others if needed.
- TripAdvisor – Excellent for choosing between available options.
- XE currency converter – we found this app quite handy, but there are other similar ones.
- Travelstart (flapp) / Skyscanner – Our go-choice for booking flights.
- Amazon Kindle – We each have a Kindle for reading but also have the Kindle App installed on our phones as well as the Tablet for those instances where we need to kill some time and the Kindles as not nearby.
- Apple Music / Spotify – we spend many hours in the Landy.
- Altimeter – nice to know your altitude especially when waling high in the Andes (by the way the Andes mountain range has exactly 100 peaks with a height of 6000m or more).
- YR – or a similar wheather app.
- Waze – a handy app for dodging the worst of the traffic, but because you need to be online we seldom use this while on the go (we normally only have access to data when are are in range of Wifi spots).
- Flight Tracker – to see whether you flight is on time
- Panamerican Travellors Association – not an app, but a very handy Facebook page where you can ask any travel related question when in South America.
- Canon Connect – for controlling our brand new Canon M50 from our phones!
- You tube videos – handy to download a few youtube videos, such as tutorials on doing field repairs on the Landy (luckily we have not needed this yet, but it will happen some day and then we are going to wish that we have downloaded that…. video onto the tablet!).
- News 24 & Business Day – keeping us abreast of the headlines at home.
The following apps we have not used as yet, but will probably test in our upcoming trip to Brazil:
- Hostelworld – when we are in cities and larger towns where camping in our Landy is not an option, we normally stay in hostels.
- Places around me – tells you which places in various categories you can find in the near vicinity.
- Hotel tonight / Trivago – we seldom use hotels, but this might come in handy on occasions.
- Wifi Map – tells you where to find (free?) Wifi closeby. Wifi is like bread and butter to overlanders and they make all sort of plans to access a free network,or to hack into a password protected one!
- Travelspend – keeps track of your travel budget.
- Hopper – Hopper is a booking service for flights and hotels and offers an algorithmic apparently very accurate fare prediction feature.
- Mobile passport – apparently quite handy when travelling in the US.
I am sure this list will grow even more during our next trip! Let us know what we are missing out on!