Our Top 5 Travel Apps

There is a lot of debate surrounding technology and travel. Some lament our constant connection to the Internet, and claim that our obsession with social media stops us from truly experiencing travel the good old-fashioned way. Others claim that technology has made travel far more accessible. Our school of thought is somewhere in between. So, for those tech gurus out there about to embark on a trip, here are our top travel apps…

Google photos

If you take lots of photos on your phone, get Google Photos. We were only a third of the way into our trip and I already had to delete everything expendable on my phone in order to take one photo. Google Photos allows you to delete your precious memories off your phone *gasp* and stores them in their handy app. Regardless of what device you’re on, all you have to do is log in, and they’re all there, safe and sound. Get it now and snap to your hearts content.


Ninety per cent of our accommodation was booked through Airbnb. So for us, checking Airbnb for new places to stay, messages and reviews became a daily routine. The app made this so much quicker and easier. It’s much simpler to navigate than their website, so if you plan on using Airbnb regularly, we suggest you download their app.


In Japan we had to go a week without Internet, and boy was it tricky to navigate our way round Tokyo without Google (such is the millennial way of life). In an attempt to look on the bright side I said to Jasper, ‘Christopher Columbus found America without the internet!’ to which he replied, ‘yeah but he was trying to find India’. Needless to say we soon downloaded Maps.me. It’s essentially a sat nav that uses your phone’s GPS, so you can find your way around without being connected to the Internet. It even has lots of off the beaten track trail maps, so you won’t get lost in the depths of a National Park (unless that’s your plan!). We would really recommend this app, especially if you’re road tripping for a long time. In the US for instance, car hire companies will try to charge you an extra $10 a day for a sat nav- that’s $300 for a month! Just download this (free) app and you’re sorted!


When you are travelling long term, you simply cannot carry around months and months worth of cash. The only other option seems to be to use your regular debit card, but most charge a hefty fee for using it abroad, which will add up quickly! So what next? Get a prepaid travel card. There are plenty on the market which will allow you to upload cash at an interbank rate, without fees. But Revolut has an amazing app that makes transferring cash, checking your balance and paying others really easy. Your Revolut card will be accepted most places, as it has a Mastercard logo.


Arguably the more ethical sibling to the infamous app Über, Lyft lets you book a taxi, pay for it online (so no more swindling taxi drivers), track the taxi’s location and rate your driver. You can even car pool. If you are travelling around a big city, and want a safe ride home, Lyft has you covered. Oh and they don’t support Trump, so that’s good too.


Technology generally doesn’t enhance the excitement of travel, but it does make travel easier and much less stressful. And remember you always have the option to disconnect- switch your phone off for a few days and get lost, just like the in the olden days!

Dear Travel Bloggers: Please Stop Saying ‘Anyone Can Travel’

Travel Is Not For Everyone

There are plenty of travel bloggers out there that will claim ‘anyone can travel if they really want to’. Although these posts are inspirational pieces of writing, rousing people to just save up and get out there, I find it quite difficult to read them without being reminded of this –pretty hilarious- sketch from College Humour:


Just like the girl in this video, lots of bloggers fail to appreciate that going travelling is disproportionally difficult for some people. Disproportionate being the key word. Lots of bloggers claim ‘anyone can travel if they really want to’ as though everyone has the same opportunity to travel and therefore the only reason people don’t travel is that they simply can’t want it enough. Which is wrong. And not only is it wrong; it’s condescending, narrow-minded and reeks of privilege. Here is –in true blogger form- a list of every claim I’ve read on travel blogs, and what is wrong with them.

Travelling isn’t that expensive. Just save up!

Ok, so first of all the term ‘expensive’ is relative. I recently read a blog post that called expensive travel a ‘myth’, quoting the fact that flights from America to Europe are only $400 USD. Is that cheap for what it is? Yes. Does that mean it’s cheap? No. For some people $400 USD is what they need to survive for months, it is not cheap.

In terms of saving money, Jasper and I are very proud of the fact that we saved up the money for our trip whilst supporting ourselves. But the very fact that we had any expendable income at all, means we’re already ahead of many others. For a lot of people the amount they would be able to save means they would be saving for years. I have to be honest, if it were that difficult for Jasper and I, we probably wouldn’t have bothered.

You don’t think you can travel because that’s what society wants you to think.

One main reason it was so easy for us to travel was because we have no responsibilities: no children, no elderly relatives to look after, no one that relies on our continued, stable presence in their lives. Neither do we have any physical or mental conditions that would make it difficult to travel. All of these factors, although they do not make travelling impossible, do make it substantially harder, and that can make all the difference. And when you combine these responsibilities with lack of funds (because so often they go hand-in-hand), travel is basically a no-go. So no: it’s not just society, it’s life.

The world is your oyster!

Privilege affects peoples’ ability to travel in another way which, I am ashamed to say, I didn’t fully appreciate until recently. There are plenty of places in the world where just being who you are, is a problem: whether that is being a member of the LGBT community, a POC, of a certain religion, or a woman travelling alone. So, it is important to remember that whereas some people are able to look at a world map and see boundless opportunity, others look at it and, through fear of this very real increased danger, are forced to block entire areas of it off to themselves.


One of the main reasons these articles really get my goat is because usually the authors are part of the privileged few who are making assumptions for the masses, without thinking for a moment that perhaps their situation is different. It makes the people who are struggling in their everyday lives feel like, surely, they must be doing something wrong because according to these debtless college-grads, anyone can travel- right? No, unfortunately not; even in 2017, long-term travel still belongs to a small minority, and claiming otherwise contributes to a society that blames the single mothers for being so tired, the minimum wage worker for having no time, and ultimately, the poor for being so poor.

8 Ways To Save Money For Travelling


Good news: You do not need to be a rich kid to go travelling! Bad news: if you are not a rich kid, getting the funds together for your trip can be hard graft. Although we count ourselves very lucky to have expendable income, we both earn less than the average teacher, and our bank account can look very sad after our rent and bills are paid, that’s for sure. So, although you will not hear us claim ‘anyone can travel!’, we believe we have proved even those on the lower end of the pay bracket can make it happen!

Our decision to travel Japan and the US made money a tricky subject. Not only had we picked two expensive countries, but we’d also picked countries that do not allow you to work on a tourist visa. As we had no way of earning while we were away, we ideally needed to have saved up the entire amount we would need before we left. This was a daunting prospect- but we did it!

Essentially the method is very simple: Earn money. Don’t spend money.

Obviously this is easier said than done, especially if you are not used to budgeting, so here are some tips that really helped us save:

  1. Open a savings account.

It sounds really obvious, but some people never think to do this; they just try to spend as little of the money in their current account as possible and hope to gradually see it grow. Maybe this works for some people, but for me I have to physically move my allocated ‘travel money’ somewhere else, so that I know what I’ve got left to spend, otherwise it will get frittered away, and I’ll wonder where it’s all gone!

  1. Be realistic about how much you can save.

It’s no good telling yourself you can live on £20 a month, because it’s just not going to happen. You have to sit down, look at your ingoings and outgoings and realistically figure out how much money you can live on, and therefore how much money you can save.

  1. Make a plan and have a goal.

Now this is the fun part! It is so much easier to save when you have an end goal in mind. So make a plan! Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? How long do you want to do it for? Once you’ve got this down, look at flight costs, living costs and figure out how much your trip will cost you. It may be worth speaking to a travel agents about it: we went to our local STA travel and there were really helpful. Once you have a figure in mind, you can working out how long it will take you to get there:

The cost of the trip ÷ your savings per month/week = how long it will take you to save.

  1. Figure out what you can live without.

In order to get the most from your pay packet, you may have to make some sacrifices. This is completely optional depending on how quickly you want to your savings to grow. If you are impatient -like us! – Then figuring out which expenses you can live without can really make a difference. Before you spend money just ask yourself- do I really need this? Is there a cheaper alternative? You don’t have to live like a pauper, it can be as simple as making compromises: keep your phone contract but loose the gym membership, buy shop bought pizza rather than take out, have your friends over for a cuppa rather than paying for coffee. Even the little things add up!

  1. Don’t be a snob

Food costs are probably the priciest thing after rent and bills. We saved SO much money shopping at our budget supermarket and although some people turn their noses up at the thought of it, they can never tell the difference when we cook for them!

  1. Sell the shit out of your shit

Selling all that stuff you’ve hoarded over the years is a win/win situation when you’re going travelling: not only will you be raising funds for your trip, but you will be minimising the amount of stuff you have to find a home for while you’re away.

  1. Consider a second job

Some people simply do not have the time or energy to be able to do this, but if you can hack it, a second income can really bump up the funds. Utilise your hobbies or skills to make it a bit more interesting; we have friends who tutor children on weeknights, and Jasper teaches drums for a bit of extra cash.

  1. Keep planning and don’t lose heart!

It can feel so crappy to constantly have money on your mind but it will all be worth it, we promise! Whenever money woes get you down, research a hotel or restaurant or day trip, and it will put your spending into perspective. That £5 Frappuccino (how people can spend so much on what is essentially ice and syrup will baffle me forever… but I digress), can equate to so much more when you’re away. The value of your money changes, and suddenly you won’t want to buy yourself things that will just be forgotten about, you will want to spend it on things you’ll remember forever!

So what are you waiting for?! Get saving!

.:. Jo & Jasper .:.