EST. 2007

The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.

EST. 2007

The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.










March 14, 2017

Essential Travel Apps

Hey hey!  We are establishing something NEW around here on the Journal.

It’s time for a TUESDAY TIP!  We’ve been getting a lot of new questions with the new brand, how we travel, the person behind the camera, entrepreneurship, etc.  It’s time to start doing more than just posting pretty shoots… You deserve to not only get eye-candy around here but some things of value for your own life.  So Tuesdays is where it’s at…

Those Tips will cover various topics of interest that three different groups of people might find valuable:

  1. Those who have adventurous hearts (and love to travel)
  2. RTP Couples
  3. Photographers + Entrepreneurs


We’ll cover things like travel tips, photography tips, tax tips, how to get the most out of your engagement photos, what’s in my carry-on, or the most photogenic places in Iceland, and SO much more.  Anything specific you want to know?? Leave it in the comment box below! 

Today we kick things off with a question that Meghan had as she prepares for a big solo international trip to Germany & Austria.  Meghan wants to know,

What are you essential travel apps??

GOOD question, Meghan!  There actually are about 11 that I make sure are downloaded and ready to go before my plane takes off.  And as I prepare to journey to Australia & New Zealand TOMORROW, these are definitely on the forefront of my mind!


So here are my TOP 10, plus one for photographers at the end that takes some questions out of shooting in foreign places! I’ll share each one, with a screen shot of a reason or two why it’s a must have!

  1. Skype
  2. Google Translate
  3. Uber
  4. Google Maps
  5. Lounge Buddy
  6. Measures
  7. Trip Advisor
  8. Airbnb
  9. Your Airline’s App
  10. Seat Guru
  11. Tides Near Me



1. SKYPE — While I definitely recommend getting a local sim card for your phone or an international plan while traveling, it’s still a good idea to have Skype installed and CREDIT PURCHASED ahead of time.  There were days, years ago, when my Verizon phone was NOT a CDMA phone, meaning it was pretty much worthless internationally.  So WIFI + SKYPE were my friends… because you see, Skype enables you to make phone calls to your hostel, airline, train ticket office, your family, ANYWHERE to ANY COUNTRY for only a few cents a minute.  And it’s totally worth it!  I’ve been calling Australia & New Zealand lately to book my local farm stays – they’re low-tech and don’t do reservations online! Skype for the win! Just make sure you purchase some credit before you take off, cause it’s a pain to do it when you’re in a pinch abroad.  I usually purchase about $10.00 a time and it lasts me for at least a years worth of travel.

2. GOOGLE TRANSLATE — This is definitely ESSENTIAL if you’re traveling to a place where they don’t speak your linguity! First, it has about all the languages.  Second, you can type in your phrase, convert it, and LISTEN TO HOW TO SAY IT.  Now, some of these features only work with data/WIFI, BUT you can download a language and make it available offline – definitely recommend doing this too before your plane takes off!

I also love that Google Translate stores all my phrases, and I can “star” a phrase if it’s one I use a lot.  ALSO… this next part was a GAME CHANGER for me!!  Thank the technology gods for this one.. this is something I actually learned in from a local while in Germany.  YOU CAN SCAN A WORD AND IT WILL LIVE TRANSLATE IT.  It uses your camera and READS the foreign words and converts it.  GAME changers when you’re not sure if you’re buying a bottle of milk to go with your sandwich or a bottle of nasty yogurt… Yes, that happened.

When I was in Florence creating a bouquet for Nicole & Josh’s Anniversary Portraits, I used Google Translate to communicate with the florist – a sweet little, old, Italian, flowershop owner.  I just typed in what I wanted to say and showed him the app. :)  Mission accomplished.


3. Über — If you’re in a big city and not getting a car, download Uber and learn how to use it.  It’s taking all the guest work out of local transportation… I mean, if you want to figure out a train schedule in the German language, by all means, you do that, but Ubering around is great and they’re available in a lot of European cities.

4. Google Maps — Speaking of Google, you need to have Google Maps on your phone.  Apple Maps is a giant mess and I don’t recommend it; Google seems to be more internationally with it.  It’s a good idea for getting around, obviously, but also monitoring you Uber driver from the back seat to make sure he doesn’t give you the run around. And of course, it’s invaluable for navigating while on foot!!  If you don’t have data, cache your maps, or screen shot them, from your hostel before heading out to explore.  You will thank me.

5. Lounge Buddy — This is a great app if you play the credit card points and airport lounges game.  There is nothing better than spending a long layover with a free glass of wine, good WIFI, and peace and quiet away from the throngs of commotion in the terminal.  With Lounge Buddy, I can input all my flights and Lounge Buddy tells me which terminals those plane land in, what lounges are available, and how I can access those lounges.  It saves a lot of time standing in the middle of the terminal searching on weak airport WIFI for which lounges are near.  I’m all bout planning ahead!

6. Measures — Oh how this app has paid for itself time and time again!  Especially in my days of travel when I did not have cell phone coverage/data while abroad.  This guy works offline and converts ANYTHING… currency, speed, weight (think luggage limits), and even crazy stuff like density and pressure.

7.  Trip Advisor —SO handy to see the top rated attractions near me.  I love being able to quickly access things to do and what people have to say about them.

8. Airbnb — I mostly have this so it’s easy to communicate with my Airbnb hosts, you can chat with them in the app.  And of course, it’s handy to have all your lodging, address, and details on how to access the property, in one place.

9. Your Airline’s App — Probably one you won’t use much except on travel days, obviously, but it’s handy to check flight status, check which terminal you’re arriving in (incase you have a short connection and need to know before getting off the plane), and to checkin to flights.  And while we’re at it, make sure you download ahead of time your airline’s entertainment app.  Some have their own apps, but with United, it’s all-in-one.  Get that before jetting out of service.

10. SeatGuru — Don’t you have it when you book a seat and realize it doesn’t recline? Or it’s actually really close the bathroom?  Or the space beneath the seat in front of you is limited because there’s a power box under there?  Seat Guru is so helpful when choosing airplane seats.  Get it.

11. Tides Near Me — Lastly, this one is good for photographers, and anyone who loves the ocean really.  There’s been several times I’ve gone to a favorite beach to do a shoot and tide has come in and the beach I wanted to shoot on is gone!! Tides Near Me helps me know what to expect before I get there… and have clients meet me there.

So those are my essential travel apps that you must download before your plane takes off!  Any others that I’m missing? What are your favorite travel apps that have saved your bacon before?! Leave them below in the comments section – I’d LOVE to know!!


comments so far, leave yours

  1. Brooke says:

    While I don’t do the extent of traveling you do inLIVE a few of these suggestions. I’m particularly excited for Trip Advisor for an upcoming road trip we have planned. I’ve been looking at everything online, including Trip Advisor, and it will be so handy if plans change on the fly!

  2. Nicole Lamb says:

    Josh have used the PocketGuide app. It works offline, and gives walking tours of a bunch of big cities. It gives history or stuff and allows you to do a walking tour at your own pace, and you don’t have to pay someone! If you’re headed to smaller cities it doesn’t have those walking tours, but it does have maps that can be accessed offline as well (this is handy for me because I don’t have international coverage, luckily Josh does, but if we get separated it’s nice to have!)

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