If you had to ask me what the most valuable single item in my backpack (aside from my Passport), I would say, without a doubt, tell you it’s my iPhone.

I would unhealthily scrawl through the apps, all in the name of travel blogging of course, from one destination to another. But as a backpacker, I often wonder how much I used my iPhone while I was travelling. Thanks to Brighthouse, they undertook a survey of over 2000 people on the subject that people are more and more turning to their mobile phones to organise their holidays. They called it the Holiday Phone Guide.

I knew I used my iPhone a lot to book accommodation, research tips, stay in contact with my friends and family back home,  book my flights and transport and oh yeah, ring people. But what had me interested, was how Brighthouse organised their findings into a Backpacking Holiday Type. Did I agree?

Holiday Phone Guide

The Holiday Phone Guide claims that if you’re planning a backpacking holiday, versatility is the key. That much I agree. You need to have reliable sources of information to fit your ever-changing plans as you lurch from one destination to the next. So what are essential? Accommodation apps, maps and navigation tools and cameras all spring to mind from this backpacker. So what did The Holiday Phone Guide find out?


Calling – 33% of mobile usage on a backpacker holiday is used making calls. You definitely need to stay contacted with home to speak to your friends and family. These days, many networks in the country you are visiting offer holiday packages to stay in contact without building up a hefty phone bill. I found this to be the case when I was travelling around the world in 2012 and 2013.

Browsing – 26% of mobile usage is used for browsing the web. Perhaps I’m suspect of this. Maybe it’s because I am a travel blogger and I have to stay connected to the Internet but I’m pretty sure many backpackers use more than 26%. I find this from my travels that backpackers have mobile phones permanently glued to their hands (I’m guilty of this as well) but these days Wi-Fi is everywhere. Therefore to data roam is becoming less frequent now. However, we still need this to stay connected on Facebook, Twitter and retrieve great recommendations. The European Union offer great data roaming packages as discovered on a recent trip to Ireland but remember, if you aren’t using the Data Roaming, turn it off!

Camera – With the rise of Mobile Phone Photography becoming the norm, 37% of mobile phone usage is used purely for taking snaps. Apps including Instagram, Snapseed and Camera+ are used often to share panoramic photos, photoshopped snaps and many more. Do I agree with this? Well, let’s just say I’m pretty surprised by this. I adore and preach mobile photography.

Weather – According to the research, many backpackers choose to check the weather extensively. I’m extraordinarily surprised at this. I’ve never used my weather apps and I’ll just drag myself out of my dorm bed and open the blinds to see what it is like outside. That is if  the dorm has windows…

Booking Apps – I’ll definitely use booking apps to find my next accommodation and researching the mobile friendly websites. But that’s it. For airlines and other transport booking options, I’d rather book through the PC. There’s something about exchanging money and tickets over the phone that has me hesitant about the whole thing. However, according to research, The Holiday Phone Guide claims many backpackers use booking apps on a frequent basis. Perhaps the extortionate Internet usage prices at PC terminals in Hostels has many backpackers running to their phones.


I may agree or not agree with the Holiday Phone Guide, but I do have to say that this is an interesting read. Not only for backpackers but also for families, city breakers, adrenaline junkies and exotic honeymooners. Do you know how much you use your phone for holidays? No? Let’s find out…


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