Smartphone Apps for Travelers

Our smartphones are indispensable when we travel, and we have them loaded up with all kinds of apps. As we try more out, we’ll be sure to update this list. These are some of our favorites:


Tripadvisor (free) – The holy grail for user generated hotel, activities, and restaurant reviews.

Convert Units (free) – Convert money and other units like area, length, temperature, etc. The currency exchange rates are uploaded once a day.


Waze (free) – This user-generated map and GPS app works in real time to help you avoid traffic and road hazards, and we use it all the time for road trips. Unfortunately it’s not developed yet in Palawan due to the lack of reliable internet access, but we’re hoping to change that once the purported high speed internet is supposed to come in early 2016! This app is also a huge battery drainer so we always have a car charger and external battery handy.

Google Maps (free) – Although we tend to use Waze for roadtrips in the US, it doesn’t work in El Nido so Google Maps is our go-to for directions and maps.


Uber (free) – As former New Yorkers we love this taxi app. We’ve had mixed results in Manila because you need a wifi connection and the big mass of malls in Makati City can make it difficult for drivers to pinpoint your exact location. But when it works while you’re traveling, especially internationally, it can be indispensable because you get fair rates. Uber is currently available in over 50 countries.


Skype (free) – International phone calls on cell phones are extremely expensive. Many of our guests stay in touch with friends and family back home using Skype, which is a much more affordable alternative (~2 cents a minute).

Kakao Talk (free) – Send free messages and make free phone calls on this messaging app.

Viber (free) – Send free messages and make free phone calls over wifi to any other Viber user. This is the app of choice for international phone calls here lately!


White Noise (free) – This app ensures you get a good night’s sleep wherever you are. We use it all the time — even here in El Nido to make sure the crowing roosters don’t wake us up! There is a paid version ($1.99) that’s well worth it because it enables you to toggle between apps without disabling the white noise.

Flashlight (free) – A flashlight always comes in handy whether you’re walking down a dark road or you dropped something in a movie theater.


Kindle (free) – We’ve found that we read many more books using the Kindle app on our iphones than we did with a standalone Kindle because we always have our phones on us. Catching up on books while on vacation is one of our favorite things to do.

Podcasts – We’re huge fans of podcasts and have been using the podcast app that comes on the iPhone, but there are definitely better apps out there. They’re a great way to pass the time on airplanes, on the beach, doing chores, anywhere! You should download a bunch when you have access to high speed internet, but we’re also able to download them here at our resort. There are niche podcasts available for free for every type of interest!

Some of our favorite podcasts include: