Travelling Abroad: Why phones CAN be good

Rewind 10 years ago and I would never have imagined browsing the internet whilst abroad, it would have cost me an arm and a leg! I will never forget accidentally wracking up a bill of over £200 and feeling like my parents would murder me!

A few years ago a new EU law meant we could finally roam abroad in Europe with our phones at no extra cost, that coupled with the fact Three were offering a wealth of countries now in my plan, it has been a Godsend.

Whilst many people said the phone should be put down when on holiday, and I mostly agree, there have been times when I have really needed it!

Firstly, I travel solo a lot! My phone offers me a safety net, the ability to order a taxi, navigate and even translate when the need arises. Without all this, I would not feel comfortable going away by myself, I don’t know how they ever did it in the 70’s!

Why else would I use my phone abroad? Had you asked me a year ago I would have told you it was to keep in touch with Alex, and of course that’s true, but more importantly? Baxter updates! When I travel, Baxter spends time with his very loving grandparents, and like any dog mum, I worry about him when I’m not there. I insist on photographs and updates throughout the day so I can relax. Overprotective? Yes, but he is my pride and joy!

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, travelling with a phone means I can do work on the go. Remember when we had to go to cyber cafes? Ok, I was a bit young when cyber cafes were a thing, I just used them to email my friends or check my Neopets… Some may say you shouldn’t work when you are away, but a lot of the time I am in a location because of work, so I have no option. I am self-employed so don’t get paid leave! Even when I am holidaying with Alex there are times I need to spend a bit of time on my phone getting my work done, how else would I pay for Baxter’s toys?

My Favourite Travel Apps

Facetime: This one is a given, I need to coo over my puppy each evening! And make sure Alex is getting to bed on time of course.

The Trainline: When travelling in Europe I use the train a lot. This app means I can check the times and costs of trains all over Europe.

Instagram: How else would I keep you all updated?

Whatsapp: Did you know you can send your live location to a friend and they can track your movements for up to 8 hours? Pretty handy when I am walking around an unknown city by myself, I feel happier when Alex can see where I am.

Google Translate: Not every menu is English, Google Translate means I know exactly what I am about to order at a restaurant!

Sit or Squat: “What on Earth” you cry? No this isn’t a fitness app, squats are not a necessity on holiday! This app will tell you where the nearest public toilets are, surprisingly handy.

Tripadvisor: Just because a restaurant has a great smell wafting out from it, it doesn’t mean it will be any good. McDonald’s smells delicious but it doesn’t mean I went to eat there when I am trying to immerse myself in a new city. I always check Tripadvisor to make sure restaurants (and hotels) get decent reviews. Whilst I take all reviews with a pinch of salt, I tend to go with the advice of the majority.

Lightroom CC: This is one for the photographers. I use Lightroom CC that syncs with Lightroom CC on my laptop. This means I can edit my photos on the go without bringing a heavy laptop. All the photos are uploaded to adobe’s cloud so if the worst happened and you lost your phone, you wouldn’t lose these images.

Podcast: This app comes with all Apple phones, I am sure there must be one for Android too! If you haven’t gotten into podcasts before then this is about to change your life. No more boredom on flights, car journeys or trains. You can download podcasts and listen to them offline so if you are 40,000 ft in the air, that’s no problem either. If any of you, like me, love true crime, then I would highly recommend ‘To live and Die in LA’ and ‘Vanished’.

XE Currency: Make sure you aren’t getting ripped off. XE will give you real-time currency conversions.

Kindle: I’m going to be honest, I prefer reading on an actual Kindle than on my phone, but if I want to travel light then I don’t have the luxury of this option. Books are just one of the ways to pass the time when I am on a long train journey. I can read multiple books in the time it takes to fly to Japan.

Trip It: Trip It will pool hotel, restaurant and transport confirmations from your email and put them into an itinerary for you so you have all your confirmations on the go. I can’t be the only one who panic searches through my emails for a confirmation or booking number at the last minute and never finds it!?

Around Me: Ever needed to find a supermarket or a bank whilst overseas? The Around Me app identifies where you are and lists the nearest amenities such as hotels, banks, taxis, petrol stations etc.

Candy Crush: Just kidding, it will take over your life and before you know it you are 2000 levels up but 10 weeks behind on your work.

So, whilst I hate my addiction to Candy Crush, my phone is my best friend when travelling… other than my passport of course! If you manage the time you spend on it, it doesn’t have to interfere with anything other than helping your trip run smoothly!


This is a paid partnership article with Three, a mobile phone supplier in the UK as part of their Phones Are Good Campaign. Three believe that phones have been getting too hard a time recently. Far from bringing the end to humanity, they think they bring people together. Think about it. These pocket rockets help us plan our social life, find love, build relations, run businesses and make memories. They also keep us connected on the go, including 71 destinations worldwide with Three’s Go Roam proposition. As part of the paid article, Three asked me to share my personal experiences on why phones are good. These opinions, stories and images are my own.

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1 comment

  • J. Suzanne says:

    I finally caved and got a SIM card for my last trip abroad, and it made such a difference! I’ve successfully traveled without one before, but it’s so much easier when you can open an app and check on the train schedule or look up directions. I’ll have to check out some of the apps you’ve listed here, too!