Living in the tech-dependent-world of today, everyone seems glued to their devices, whether it be a smart phone or a tablet. Even though Michael and I are trying to limit our time spent on our devices, they have been very useful to us on this trip. I use an iPhone 5C and an older generation iPad, while Michael has a Windows Samsung phone and an iPad mini. Here are some of the apps that have come in handy on our trip:
A VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another server over the Internet. This is SUPER important if you are using free public wi-fi in cafes, airports, or anywhere else that prying eyes may be lurking and waiting to hack into an unprotected device. All data traveling between your computer, phone or tablet, and this “VPN server” is securely encrypted. We installed NordVPN on most of our devices after we did some shopping around and it only costed us $40 for a year subscription. Another cool part is that you can connect to different servers around the globe and can actually “geo-spoof” your location that will allow access to services (like Netflix or Vudu) that we couldn’t get to being connected to the NZ server.
This app was recommended to us by a couple from Holland whom we met at a holiday park on the North Island at the beginning of our trip. Thank goodness we did because this app has saved us a lot of frustration and money! We used it to find unique and affordable campsites during our road trip through the North Island and South Island and continue to use it to plan little camping side-trips. Michael likes how it provides a “comment section” for each location and can read tips or warnings from previous campers. It’s very user-friendly and allows you to filter your search based on different amenities or features you are looking for. At a quick glance, the icons of each campsite are color-coded based on price, so it makes it a breeze to find one that fits your budget. The only downside is that the app is only for Australia and New Zealand 🙁 Hopefully we can find an equivalent back home.
Don’t laugh or roll your eyes, I know many people think Instagram is a life-and-time-sucking-black-hole app. Myself included. But after meeting new friends who use it instead of Facebook (another life and time sucker) I finally caved and installed it on my smart phone. It has been a great way to share our pictures and memories with friends who don’t use Facebook and stay connected. Our Instagram is linked to our Facebook page so whatever we share on Instagram also posts to Facebook instantaneously. Plus, it’s a great way to keep you all entertained in between our blog posts 🙂
We use this app to stay organized with our ministry work. Still using scrap paper and random notes that you can never find again? Seriously, if you haven’t downloaded this app, you need to do it right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. It keeps track of your ministry calls and allows you to sort them by name, date last visited, city, or different Bible studies you have going. It also makes it easier to count your time spent in the ministry, keeps track of your literature/magazine placements, and tracks your stats month over month to see your progress. If you are not a Jehovah’s Witness and a little confused by this paragraph, it’s totally ok! This app helps us stay organized with our ministry work and keep you on track for pioneering (reaching a certain amount of hours in the preaching work in a year).
This is an app I’ve recently added to my iPad. When you are camping out under the stars you want to know what you are looking at! Michael and I love learning more about space, our galaxy, and the universe. The app uses your location and displays the different stars, constellations, and planets on your device when you hold them up to the sky. I only have the free version, but you can add little upgrades that can help you track coming meteor showers, comets, and satellites. I’m still playing around with it, but I recently learned that there is giraffe constellation by using this app. Pretty cool!
Michael has this app on his iPad and downloaded it specifically for this trip. It keeps us up to date on seismic activity around the country. New Zealand has a lot of earthquakes. Around 20,000+ a year to be exact. In 2016, they had a record year and had over 32,000 recorded earthquakes. Check out the stats here. Only 150 or so are strong enough to be felt by people each year. Some of them are major quakes that rock the country, like the 6.3 quake in Christchurch in 2011 that killed 185, and more recently the 7.8 quake in Kaikoura in late 2016. The Kaikoura quake was strong enough to cause extensive damage to roadways, railways, and even the ferry docks in Wellington and Picton. It was strong enough that the South island is now 2 meters closer to the North island and 1 meter higher in some areas. The reason for the insane amount of activity is the fact that New Zealand is split between two tectonic plates (Australian Plate and Pacific Plate) and has a major fault line (Alpine Fault) that runs through it. Where we are in the Southern part of the South island rarely experiences seismic activity, so we are pretty safe. Although it would be pretty cool to feel a little baby quake….just joking Mom. Or am I?
This one is an honorable mention. With the wimpy 8 Gigs on my iPhone I don’t have the room to install this app, but I know alot of people who use this app to keep in touch with friends and family around the world. It allows you to make calls/text without tapping into your phone minutes or text allowance. We have T-mobile which actually uses the Vodaphone cell towers and our plan includes free text and data. Calls to a NZ number are .20/min but we can call US numbers for free if we are on wi-fi, so we decided not to buy a prepaid phone since ours seem to work just fine over here.
Are there any apps that you just can’t live without while traveling? Let us know in the comments!