Lifestyle Travelling light made easy using your smartphone

Travelling light made easy using your smartphone

There is no need for cumbersome documents as many things are easily accessible through a smartphone

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When travelling, it’s best to pack light because no one wants to lug around a heavy suitcase while seeing new sights.Travelling light means fewer items to remember, an easier time navigating crowded streets and you just don’t have to carry as much.Your phone is the key to travelling light as it can replace several items in your luggage.

  1. Boarding passes and travel documentation – Travel companies these days are more advanced now and this means instead of physical tickets, going digital is the way. You can access your boarding pass over email or an app. Hotels also have their own apps which lets you store your booking details and room charges. It also lets you check in early, can be used to request items to be sent to your room and let you use your phone as a room key. TripIt, which is free for Android and iOS, collects information from multiple source in one place. By forwarding your confirmation booking emails to TripIT, it will build a custom itinerary to tell you exactly where you need to be at what time and it helps you manage everything from flights to hired cars.

2. Maps and guides – Instead of carrying heavy maps and travel guides, you can access all that information and more on your phone. The Lonely Planet Guides (free for Android and iOS) and TripAdvisor (also free for Android and iOS), will provide the advice and travel tips you need. Do download map and guide apps for offline viewing as you may encounter expensive data charges if you download on the go. Visit A City (free for Android and iOS), is an app that covers more than 3,000 destinations and works offline, providing you a host of pre-made itineraries, lists of things to do and recommendations for the best attractions. If you are using Google Maps (free on Android or iOS), open the app menu and choose Offline maps. You can download sections of the map to your phone before you start travelling. If you are travelling with web access, use the Explore tab to look for restaurants, events, bars and more. In Apple Maps, tap inside the search box to find attractions and places of interest.

3. E-books and audiobooks – Bookworms can’t live without their books especially when travelling, whether on the plane, train or in a bus. However, physical books can be too heavy so it’s good to consider reading on your phone or listening to an audiobook. The free Kindle for Android and iOS app offers numerous e-books for sale or rent and if you have a Kindle e-reader you can sync your reading progress between devices. Amazon also owns the Audible audiobook platform so you can switch between audio and e-book versions of the selected titles as your read through them if you want variety. There is a 30-day free trial and subscriptions start at $15 a month with a free audiobook. Apps are available for Android and iOS.Other options are available, including Google Play Books (for Android and iOS), Kobo Books (for Android and iOS), and Apple Books (iOS only), which all support both e-books and audiobooks.

Ditch the camera – Using a dedicated digital camera is a thing of the past if you are just taking photos for leisure. Nowadays, every smartphone comes with a camera function so it’s recommended you use your phone to take photos during vacation instead. With the latest features such as optical zoom, optical image stabilisation and special night mode enhancements, you don’t have to worry about the quality of your photos. It never hurts to improve the quality of your photos with some extras like the Sweego Tripod Stand ($14 on Amazon) which will keep your photos rock-steady. Take photos with super-wide angle, fish eye and more with a pack of lenses from olloclip ($100 on Amazon). Apps such as Halide ($6 for iOS) and Camera FV-5 ($4 for Android give you access to extra ISO, white balance, aperture, and colour settings that you don’t get with the stock camera app on board your phone.

Other app recommendations – PackPoint is free for Android and iOS and it helps you decide what you need in your luggage based on your destination and weather conditions. For example it helps you avoid packing more wooly sweaters than you need. You can connect to TripIt and Evernote with the premium purchase ($3). Google Translate for Android and iOS replaces the need for bulky foreign language dictionaries. Supporting more than 100 languages it can use your phone’s camera to translate text if you point it towards signs and menu and can work offline with no data signal.

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