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My Favourite Travel Apps

In most cases, you can use a phone app to do just about anything – from booking a flight to buying a house, finding your partner, and getting WOKE. I can’t remember the last time I actually had to sign-on to a direct website or a bank’s website to actually do something since apps have replaced opening up a web browser. I mean, unless the app is just absolutely useless. Which I’ve come across a few haha.

Travel apps are amazing – from airlines, to hostels, to transportation, to storing documents it makes travelling so much easier. Especially as a backpacker, you really have to save space when traveling as a minimalist.

This post contains a list of the BEST free travel apps out there, for an even better travel experience in 2021.

I’ve listed the apps in order starting with Hostelworld.
  1. Hostelworld

This app is great for booking hostels on the go when you’re travelling place to place. It is also a good app to use if you know you’re going to one place and just want to book through here. They also show if the hostel offers any day-trips or excursions which makes it a lot easier on you.

2. Google

Google is a good app to have when travelling or backpacking. I find the safari searches better then using the one meant for my Apple products. It can also redirect you quickly to Google Doc’s which is also very important to have on your phone.

3. Skyscanner

Is a great app for finding cheap apps, you just have to be sure that you’re also looking at the ‘layovers’ at times, you can have a long layover/short layover/ or no layover. There are benefits to all of them. But, I will save that for another post.

4. Maps.Me

Is a offline mobile site that offers Maps for virtually anywhere in the world. The only thing you have to do, is download the country/city map you will be using when you have wifi and then you can use it whenever you’re ready!

5. Airbnb

This app is great for looking up alternatives to hostels/hotels and you can read reviews and see overall ratings. ** Just be mindful, that some hosts will do ANYTHING to get a good review. Therefore, look for both the good and the bad.

You can also use this app to book excursions, which me and my friend have used and I’ve used a few times and I have run into any problems yet.

If this is your first time using Airbnb to book your vacation here is a code for $45 CAD off your first booking plus you get $17 to use towards an experience booked through Airbnb as well.

6. XE Currency

This is an awesome tool for currency exchange without being bombarded with ad’s. Add the currencies of the countries you are visiting before you leave home! or when you have wifi. You will be able to put a price in and see it in your currency almost instantly.

7. Google Translate

This is probably, my favourite app I recommend you download when visiting another country. It helps support you with language barriers and allows you to read signs when you’re trying to figure out your location and how to get to a specific location.

8. Worldpackers

Is a “collaborative network for those looking for a unique travel experience. Develop skills, learn languages and meet others through cultural immersion with local hosts”. It’s an awesome way to travel and learn new skills, or simply to volunteer within countries local communities and learn the true culture outside of touristy attractions.

9. Audible

On audible you can download audiobooks for your kids or even yourself for long flight, drives, train rides, or even when you have that morning coffee alone at a cafe.

10. Your bank institution.

Typically whatever bank you’re associated with will have an app and it is very important that you monitor your spending on your trip as you can get carried away fast with all the excitement.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, I decided to give a hack which I found while travelling Europe.

11. Rick Steves Audio Europe

Okay.. Rick gives the most corny jokes on this app. But it’s TOTALLY FREE with NO AD’s and it’s honestly, the best thing I ever found. He provides FREE walking tours with maps which is great for parents as well as older kids. Included in the app is: various tours, maps, historical sites, museum you name it. Just download everything you need while you have wifi. This app got me through the Vatican City without having to pay for a tour.

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post!

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How to Start a Solo Adventure?

This was my very first inquiry, when I decided I was going to travel solo. There were so many question’s and so many thoughts in mind. Here are a few things, that quick-jumped my solo planning.

I decided I would start a series through a few posts breaking down each of these things. However, for suggestion number one, see here how to ‘cheat your vacation time’.

Here is how I started my solo adventure:

  1. I had to decide how much time I had.

Now, not everyone has the same amount of time off. But, I was graduating and I wasn’t going to start working until September so I had months. I decided two months was going to be good enough for me.

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2. Research Countries

This is really important. Especially, being a black female I had to research other Black female travellers experiences in different countries. This is a sad reality for many Black people travelling as we don’t have the privilege to just go ANYWHERE! That being said, Everywhere has racism, the question is how much of it am I willing to tolerate in order to explore a country?

I joined a few travel groups and searched a few hashtags. Overall, I found it comes down to personal experience however, here are places I found where Black/Women felt uncomfortable:

Countries where BW felt uncomfortable: (just a few)

Barcelona, Spain
Morocco
South Africa
Southern, Ireland
Naples, Italy
Cambodia
Parts of Vietnam

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With that information (which there was many more places) and people are very willing to share their experience, I decided to search for the SAFEST countries to visit. Here’s what I found:

Portugal
Denmark
Thailand
Veitnam
Slovenia
Indonesia

I know you’re probably reading this list like, huuuh?! But, this is what I mean- research is the biggest part of starting your back-packing journey because honestly, you can spend hours watching Videos of peoples experiences or blog posts about it and learn a lot so while, it may take you away. In the end it’s really helpful, and I highly recommend it.

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3. Budget

This is BIG, I can’t emphasize this enough. Budgeting is what will help you make this a smooth process. I recommend if you’re from Canada. SEARCH OUR DOLLAR CONVERSION. GOLLY, this was depressing! our dollar doesn’t go far in some places. That being said, I was broke graduating from my undergrad but, I had this trip in mind for over a year so I’ve been saving. **Don’t worry I’ll post how I budgeted for a year for this trip.

Budgeting for a solo adventure, is much like doing a monthly budget if you ever done one. You input your daily costs (activities, hostels, food) and you calculate how much you’ll be spending daily and then you go from there. Keep in mind, this also takes research to see how much it costs daily as a back packer or solo traveller. There is a lot of information out there, and I’ll share how to find the best info.

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4. Growth Mindset

I learned this concept in my B.Ed and while we mainly use it for our students, I think its important to use it for other areas in our lives. It basically means, being open to learning and growing, and with that comes the possibility to reframe your previous understandings.

Going into solo travelling I had to get rid of certain thoughts and messages being sent when I shared my news:

“WHAT?!: You can’t go alone you’re a female”
“Maybe, you should just wait until your friends can go”
“I don’t think it’s safe”
“You wont like [insert country]”
“Go with a boyfriend, and enjoy life together”

The list goes on.. Don’t let it discourage you, continue your plan to travel and to make memories that can last a lifetime. I once had a cousin who told me, in life to “Make Memories to Last a lifetime” and if there’s anything I want my travel journey to do, is to inspire you to do, just that.

Source: Drew Doodles (2020)


Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post