One of the aims of my recent trip was to see if it was practical and comfortable to use the mobile phone to replace many things I might otherwise take. As such it would save weight and save money and perhaps be more convenient.
APPS – What I used the phone for:
- Unsurprisingly, as a phone and for texts
- GPS – to see where we are now on a map and if the train is about to arrive. Saves weight as sometimes I used to carry a GPS.
- As a map – Maps.me, Google maps – saves weight and money and is more convenient as you don;t have to track down a map
- eBook reader – Google Play Books or xozo – saves a lot of weight as a guidebook and novels are on the phone
- Exchange rate checker – Xe – could save money as you are prepared when you reach the money changer or ATM
- Web – Dolphin
- Check flights – web, sky scanner, kayak etc. Saves time and money
- Communicate via data – Skype and Viber with video, and Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp – saves money and time finding a phone
- Making notes – OneNote – saves weight and it uploads to the cloud and you have a backup
- Podcasts-downloading and listening Pocketcasts – saves weight over an MP3 player etc.
- Camera a little – generic camera app – I carry a separate camera for better photos – but this is a good backup
- Email – default app
- Reading news- BBC, Daily Mail apps – it’s hard to find English newspapers
- Translation – Google Translate – if you have a SIM you can communicate in all but the most obscure languages
- Music- ES file explorer, VLC – saves weight over an MP3 player etc.
- File management – ES file explorer
- Photo editing – Photo Editor – you don’t need a PC to do this – saves weight
- Guidebook – Lonely Planet on Google Play Books, Triposo – saves weight and money – ebooks are cheaper than paper books
- Hotels- Triposo, Trip Advisor – might save money on hotels, but at least gives you heaps of info
- Blogger- WordPress – don’t need a PC so saves weight
- Scanner- Office Lens – does what a camera doesn’t – scans and adjusts angle so it becomes flat
- Photo backup – Google Photos – backup in case of loos, theft etc. of you photos / memories
- Alarm – default clock – don’t need a clock / watch
- Entertainment – YouTube
- Watch – phone display – don’t need a watch
So yes, it was practical and saved money and weight. But travelling solo a backup would be useful. An old smartphone would do fine. You can use the same charger as the other phone. And a powerbank so that you won’t run out of battery power. I bought a triple adapter so I could charge two phones and a power bank all at once if I wished. You’d just need to prepare the smartphones before leaving and keep a few things on the old smartphone up to date as well while travelling. Or take a tablet. My smartphone with cover weighs 210g, and my tablet with cover weighs 510g and uses the same charger. The tablet gives a lot more convenience than just a spare smartphone, but it also is something more valuable that can be stolen or damaged.