Last month I had the good fortune to travel to Australia for a three-week holiday. Whilst I was away, I had limited internet access (I chose not to use 3G because of the roaming charges) and could only access WiFi in certain locations.
With limited internet access and a lot of travelling, I was forced to use my iPhone differently and came to rely on a just few essential apps.
Although I blogged about iPhone apps at the end of last year, this post is more about the experience of using an iPhone on an extended trip abroad and how good apps can help you stay connected, entertained and up-to-date.
As my social media dashboard of choice on the iPhone, I first used Hootsuite to schedule tweets prior to my travels and then used it whilst abroad to check up on them as well as add new updates.
The great thing about Hootsuite is that I could access it via my iPhone or any other computer through a web browser, making my social media management convenient and hassle-free.
This was one of my most essential apps. Because of the amount of travelling I was doing, Instapaper was an absolute godsend as it allowed me to save a lot of articles and blog posts to read later when I was offline.
Although I’d often save posts by social media, business and marketing bloggers, I’d also save articles from newspapers and magazines about sport, news and culture so that I’d always have something different and interesting to read whilst I was out and about.
Although not quite ‘essential’, I like to check-in to different locations and it was fun to tag myself into new, ‘exotic’ places rather than the usual supermarkets and shopping centres I check-in to at home!
Checking-in to Foursquare (as well as Facebook Places) also encouraged others at home and abroad to offer me tips and ideas on what to see and travel to next.
I often use my smartphone like a notepad to jot down ideas and observations. Instead of using Evernote (with which I have sometimes had synching problems), I decided to use the much more simple native iPhone Notes app.
Because of its simplicity, it was easy to open and update my notes wherever I was – regardless of internet connectivity – without having to worry or wait for anything to load or sync.
Along with Instapaper and Notes, Instagram was one of my most used apps and was brilliant for documenting my experiences through pictures (the picture for this blog post was taken by me in Sydney using Instagram).
The ability to capture a moment using a photograph and share it with friends and followers through Instagram and other social channels (Twitter, Facebook and Flickr) was fantastic and allowed me to tell a much richer story about my Australian adventures.
I rarely use the Facebook iPhone app when I’m at home yet whilst I was on holiday it was great for staying in touch with friends and keeping them updated as to how I was getting on.
Many of my friends commented on my Instagram pictures as well as my Facebook Places and Foursquare check-ins and gave me advice on where to go next or what to do when I went somewhere new.
Although we live in a far more connected world, I still found that I struggled to keep up-to-date with everything that was going on in Britain from Australian TV and newspapers.
The BBC News app was excellent at proving short, detailed articles on UK and world events so I could keep on top of everything that was happening in sport, business and entertainment.
What iPhone apps can you not live without? Which ones are essential to you when you go away?