Nowadays, there are a plethora of apps at our disposal while on the road. We use a variety of tools to navigate, look at the weather, edit photos, gather information of places we plan to go, communications or to keep a journal while on the road. Here are those we are using or have been using.
OsmAnd – Our preferred app for getting around. The free version contains road surface (asphalt, gravel, paved etc… ), road type (main or secondary road, street, state road etc… ), hill and gradient profiles total meters of ascending and descending. It’s possible to add map markers, easy to add intermediate steps on a route and importing/exporting gpx files is flawless. Most of the point of interests (hostels, fire stations, restaurants etc…) are located accurately on the map. Best of all, the app works offline. The free version allows for 7 downloads (mostly maps), but for long tours, the Live version is worth purchasing as it allows for unlimited downloads. There are a number of interesting plug-ins (purchase, for a couple of dollars), hillsides and contours lines being our favourite.
Google maps – We use it to complement OsmAnd when searching for points of interests. We use it only when we have a Wi-Fi internet connection. Downloading maps for offline use proved to be a hassle from my end and led to frustrations.
Maps.me – Also used to complement OsmAnd to complement points of interests location. We used it for a while but route mapping proved to be annoying. The hill profile only shows the highest and lowest points of a route, not the total of ascending/descending meters which we’re more concern with.
iOverlander – This app is essentially a database of places for overlanders; campsites (wild or paid), hotels, restaurants, water collection points, petrol stations etc… We primarily use it to know places people camped and read comments on previous travellers. It’s possible to add and amend places as well as post comments on places. The definition from their website is “iOverlander is a tool, by and for overlanders, which enables its users to submit, amend and find information and opinions, primarily about places that are essential for the act of overlanding, and secondarily non-essential places that are of interest to a significant group of overlanders.”
Windy – Available on Android and iPhone, this is a great app to look for wind and most importantly the wind direction. The radar is super intuitive and has all the bells and whistles any weather should have.
AccuWeather – Available on Android and iPhone, This is the second app we go after Windy mostly to “confirm” what the would be like.
WhatsApp – The most commonly used app in the country we went through to communicate with locals we meet on the road and want to keep in touch with. We also share photos and join/create groups of other cyclists we meet on the road.
Google Translate – Awesome tool when we don’t understand what others are telling us in their own language. The camera feature is useful as we simply activate the camera in the app and point it to the text we want to translate like a menu or a street sign.
Polarsteps – Polarsteps app uses your device’s GPS location to plot a route on a world map. It’s possible to control the frequency at which the app uses your device’s GPS so you’re not using too much battery. Easy-to-use and the interface are super user-friendly. Offline use is pretty useful and it auto-syncs steps when connected on the internet. On every step (essentially, a GPS point recorded by the app) you can add photos and write text. You can also add points of interests/activities/landmark etc… but it requires internet connection. It’s possible to follow other travellers, share steps to your other social media platforms and the app calculates stats as kilometres travelled, countries visited and a number of hours on the road. We use this app as our online travel journal, add photos and share it with other social media. It is the preferred way for our friends and family to follow our journey via the website.
Instagram – This one doesn’t need an introduction. We use it to let our audience know what’s going on and post photos of our journey. Handles are @pace.lach (for cycling stuff) and @pascallachance_photography (for my photography focussed content)
Facebook – We created a page for our friends and family to follow us, but proved super complicated and time-consuming. Since discovering Polarsteps, we no longer update it to but whenever we post on Instagram, a new post is created on our page so those not using Instagram can still see what we’ve published on other media.
JotterPad – This a word processing/note-taking app we use to write new Instagram posts before posting. This is also where I keep and manage all the hashtags we use on our Instagram posts or taking notes as we ride. User-friendly interface and the free version allows you to change appearances, fonts and has presets.
Snapseed – Available on Android and iPhone, this is one of the most popular photo editing tools for photo editing and it is free. I use this directly on my phone to adjust some of the photos I took with my phone before posting on Instagram or Polarsteps.
Lightroom – I use Adobe Lightroom to import, manage, backup and export all the photos we take, both from our phones and my Canon 7D SLR. As far as editing goes, I use Lightroom for editing RAW files only mostly coming from my Canon 7D SLR.
Instagram – I find the editing tool on Instagram before posting really good for quick edits before posting.
Let us know if you know or using other apps than those mentioned here!
We are currently in Costa Rica so for amazing photos in this amazing country visit the Costa Rica Photo Gallery or look at the rest of our Central America galleries.