The reality of a life in movement, a life on the road, in the air, or on a different continent, is that you have to rely on new ways to function. You may have to learn to drive on the other side of the road, navigate public transport in a metropolis or quickly adjust to new life patterns.
Technology often helps us find our way around a lot of complications. Our smartphones have become instrumental to finding solutions to almost anything, allowing us to find our way, store data, communicate, and even pay. But a smartphone is only as useful as the options it contains, the applications that you add to it. Here are a few tech tips you may want to look into if you do not already use them.
This App/website is a currency converter. It allows you to constantly be up to date with exchange rates. And should you be without a network or without data, you can still get a conversion based on the latest rate available during your last connection. Needless to say that unless you have been off the grid for a few months, your conversion will be as accurate as possible.
The Google translate app is a very versatile one, that allows you to work on line and off line with words, with voice, and with the camera option in real time. Try going to a supermarket in China or Japan, open the camera option in the app and focus on the text or words you want a translation for. I won’t pretend it is absolutely on point, but it helped us in various situations, from supermarkets to menus without photos or translation.
If you are new to a city or traveling, Foursquare helps you locate things next to where you are. I am “old enough” to remember walking in Paris looking for a post office because I had been told there was one “near by”. Before phones started giving you maps, you just had to walk and ask, hoping to be pointed in the right direction. With applications like Foursquare (and, of course, Google Maps), you can navigate the big city on your own: find the closest post office, a supermarket or a restaurant, a gas station.
Yes, of course, but WHY? Because Amazon is not just that useful company you order part of your Christmas presents from. Move to a new country, and if you struggle to find your favourite spice, liquor or cosmetic product, wherever you are, Amazon will deliver it to you. Amazon is also a great solution to those business trips with long hotel stays. You packed but forgot to pack your PJs, lost your adaptor plug or need a mini/portable iron because the hotel refuses to lend you one. A few clicks later and your item is on the way. Talk to the front desk at your hotel and they will hold the parcel/sign up for you.
Now this is a tip, not simply an app. The photo App on your phone allows your photos to contain a certain number of information embedded in the photo itself. When you take a photo, you will notice it tells you where the photo was taken (Prague 01). Swipe the photo (the process depends on the type of phone you use of course) and you will see your photo is linked to maps and gives the exact location on a map. Perfect way to find the address and info a place you found by accident while taking a walk. Perfect way to retrace your path in a city, find the location of that office a taxi dropped you at last month, and from there, looking at the map, find the closest urban transport.