Top 8 Apps and Sites of a Nomad

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 11.55.47 PMTrusted house sitter (Founded 2010) This is probably the most valuable site we’ve used on this trip. The idea is simple, people have houses  with pets and when they go on a trip they need someone they can trust to watch them. The trade is almost always even-steven. We got matched up with a wonderful family and a dog we love (Dexter) in a posh area of London for two weeks.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 11.58.34 PMRome2Rio (Founded 2010 in Melbourne AUS) Trains, planes and automobiles, getting from point “A” to point “B” can end up using them all. This site does a great job of giving you all of the options for your trip and includes options you may not have thought of.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.01.47 AMXE Currency (Founded 1995) The objective is simple: Show how much you can get for $1USD in another country. The live updates, ease of use, and inline calculator makes it a solid app. What I especially like is the feature that tells the difference between what you got and what you should have got.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.04.38 AMHotels .com (Founded 1991) This isn’t a new site but we have become loyal users ever since our incident in Kyoto.  Their phone support has been the nicest we’ve ever used for a product (and we have used it on more than one occasion). Their coupons, discounts, and one night free after 10 nights of stays makes it the kind of product that gives you no reason to search for others.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.06.58 AMGoogle Photos (Released 2015) We take tons of photos and movies on our trip and finding a place to store them use to be expensive. I was ecstatic when Google released this new tool. Unlimited storage FREE and it is a better photo management tool than most paid ones likes Amazon. I go into detail on how Google Photos is better than Amazon here.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.18.56 AMOokla Speed Tester (Founded 1994) This app doesn’t do any miracles by any means. That being said, internet is terribly inconsistent from country to country. With gigs of photos to upload it is a nice way to get an idea whether or not you have a shot of getting any of them to the cloud.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.20.32 AMUber (Founded 2009) By now everyone is familiar with Uber, even internationally. The reason why it deserves a place on this top travel products list is the peace of mind it has given us in foreign countries. Getting ripped off by cabs is an international phenomenon. With uber we will not only get a fair price, but a less expensive one too – and in a nicer car.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.21.30 AMFitbit (Founded 2007) It takes a great deal of steps to tour a country. The actual number of steps would be a mystery without this app. There is a sort of satisfaction in justifying your aching feet when you see that you’ve hit 20K+ steps in a single day.

Some Honorable Mentions

Startup Travels (Founded 2014) If you are interested in getting to know entrepreneurs and startups on your next visit check out this site. I have made some great connections that have turned into amazing stays from this site.

Bla Bla Car (Founded 2006) We haven’t ended up using this app yet, but we can see where it may come in handy. For far less than a train or plane ride this ride sharing site is available all over europe.

AirBnB (Founded 2008) Just about everyone in the world knows about AirBnB by now. The reason this didn’t make the top 8 is that we have had a few unsavory stays using them and when you are dropping in on a country for a few days not getting what you expect isn’t easy to deal with. That being said it is an awesome product and we intend to give it another chance in the coming weeks now that we know what to look out for.

Duolingo (Founded 2011) If you are planning on making your way to another country it may help to learn the language. Duolingo is the best way to learn a language I’ve come across so far – and it’s free. The only thing its missing is a crash course version for people who aren’t trying to be fluent. Since I couldn’t find one I started building one for myself. Check out my casual language learning app Bitlang.com for a crash course.

Hangouts/Voice (Launched 2009) The best thing about this app vs Viber and Skpe is the ability to make or receive free calls home using a real phone number. You can learn more about how to set up a free home phone number here.

Google Authenticator  – In order to keep your data safe these days 2-factor-authentication is the way to go. However, when you’re traveling you don’t have a home number to complete the text verification part of the login process. That’s where authenticator comes in. It provides your verify passkey without the need for an internet connection or phone number. Be sure to set this up before you go!

Tripadvisor (Founded 2000) A trusted brand, we saw the Tripadvisor sticker placed on every store window we came across around world.
iMovie – The iPhone app lets you merge and annotate your video directly on your phone.
Hyperlapse – There is a lot of video you’d like to share, with Hyperlapse you can share more in less time. Videos shot include video stabilizers to make your videos even smoother.
Units Plus – This app has every possibly conversion type you can think of.

World travel bests and superlatives

One of the first questions we get asked when people find out about our trip is, “what are your favorite spots, foods, and countries so far?!” It is a tough question. So many places are so very different and we enjoyed them each in different ways. That being said, I’ll try my best to give you all what you’re looking for ;p

Important Note: None of the food experiences listed here (including alcohol, tax and tip for two) ever broke $70. Most of our meals were between $20-$50. We think almost any city will have amazing food if you are willing to spend a lot. We believe the quality of an area is best represented by the easy-to-acquire foods, not the exquisite ones.

For items Jackie and I did not agree on we separated out our choices. We haven’t been everywhere yet so we reserve the right to change the list at anytime! 🙂

Best Fast-and-Cheap Dish

Gyros in Greece

For 2 Euros you can have a hot, meaty, saucy Gyro in under a minute. This is the best, and most consistently good and inexpensive food we’ve had so far.

Most consistently good food

France

We’ve enjoyed every meal we have had in France. From the street food of Quiche, Croque Monsieur, Socca, Crepes and Baguettes to the more sophisticated duck and foie, and fish dishes they are are average or better.

Best single dishes 

Tuscany (My #2, Jackies #1)

Unfortunately we had some bad food experiences in Italy so it didn’t get a consistent rating like france. That being said, when the meal hit it, they hit big. Jackie’s favorite Gnocchi and Both of our Favorite Pastas were in a town called Multi Poccino.

Paris France (Sean #1)

I was in heaven. I really enjoyed or Tuscan meal, but it didn’t have the variety and complexity you get with french food. My Favorite meal was a Cod Puree, Coq Au Vin, Watermelon and Tomato salad with Feta Cheese, and a Ratatouille Brioche. Including wine, tax, and tip it was all under 50 Euros!

Most likely to return

Istanbul

We heard a lot about how much our friends love istanbul so we had high expectations. Usually that ruins a trip. In this case, moments after we arrived at our hotel and took a stroll down our coble road to the Galata tower we got it. The city is alive with people, color, and texture. There are great clubs, bust towns, ancient history, and cheap holes. It is a lot to take in and a lot to do.

Paris

Jackie had her trepidations about visiting France based on a few childhood experiences, but once we got here they were all put to rest. The people have been friendly (ironically, except a few expats working here) the food has been yummy, and the sites have been wonderful. Paris is so massive and full of life that we agreed we will definitely return once again.

Best Dessert

Baklava in Istanbul

We ended up going to the same place 3 times in one week. Each time ordering “one portion” consisting of 6 pieces. Yeah – that is a lot of baklava and yet it was never enough. Man, I miss still miss it!

Country with the most diverse landscape and culture

Turkey

We hit Cappadocia, Istanbul and Ephesus. Each scene was so different to the next. The historic culture between conquests have left their mark on how overlapping the cultures are today. We heard there were great beach towns too that we didn’t get to see.

“Hidden Gem”

Budapest

You don’t hear much about this place but it is a much larger city than you expect. It is filled with monumental architecture, a nightlife, and festivals. It is considered one of the jewels of Europe and at the price points you can find there it is literally and figuratively a hidden gem to most American tourists.

Best Wildlife Experience

Australia

I will never in my life forget the feeling of holding a cuddly koala bear or feeding a wallaby and kangaroo. I know it is no big deal to the locals but it was the most heart warning awesomeness on our trip.

Most Likley to Live if not in US

Vienna

Clean, safe, cultural and food friendly.

Wellington, New Zealand

Earthy, fun, foody outdoorsy – reminds us of a merging of portland and SF.