Farewell Airplane Mode: Essential Apps for the Unsettled Traveler

By Ramon Arora, Director of Marketing, Unsettled

Airplane mode. The button that disconnects you from the digital world. A button you wish you could keep on all the time, but you know you can’t.

That button is not what this article is about.

This article is about the opposite. It’s about when your plane lands and the seat belt sign turns off. While others rush to get their carry-on bag and stand up pointlessly for 10 minutes… you rush to get your phone out of the magazine pocket.

One tap of that sweet, sweet Airplane Mode button and your phone can start searching for the airport’s WiFi.

You press it. You wait. You realize you’re too far from the terminal to get WiFi. You chuckle and stand with the others.

Eventually you connect and all your emails, notifications, and messages come flooding in. Nothing from mom but three new Tinder matches, 12,000km away.

What do you do next?

You probably open one of your many travel apps to help navigate to the next step.

There are thousands of travel apps out there. Apps for trip planning, transportation, sightseeing, flights, accommodations, and everything in between.  

So, instead of categorically covering the essentials apps, we thought we’d highlight a bunch of cool apps (travel and otherwise) that we think you might enjoy while on the road, crowdsourced, in part, from our very own Unsettled community.

Enjoy!

1 Second Day  – Who needs minutes when you’ve got seconds?! Record 1 second of your life each day and make memories last. Less videos, more living.

Vista City – According to one Unsettled participant,, “VisitaCity is pretty awesome for popular cities. You can plan out all the attractions distributed per days and calculated as the time it takes to visit and time to transit between attractions. Pretty neat!”

SpaceTeam – This is a fun game to play with friends while traveling, where you all have to work as a team to make the spaceship go. It’s hilarious. Trust me.

Pomodoro Timer – As a digital nomad hyper-excited by every new city, sometimes you just have to take 20 minutes and be productive. Granted, I use one of those 20 minute periods to plan my site-seeing, but productivity is loosely defined in my head.

Google Trips – I just downloaded this one and it’s pretty great. It already knows everything about your trip because, well, it’s Google. And for each destination, it has helpful information like transportation tips, attractions, emergency numbers, and so on. Not very robust, but extremely useful.

Skyscanner –  Not sure where you want to go, but want to go somewhere? Search “everywhere” and find your next epic adventure. Hello, Timbuktu!

Polarsteps – Ever want a visual world map of where you’ve been? PolarSteps tracks you around the world and creates a timeline of sorts, overlaid on a map of the world.

Google Translate – Seriously, the most futuristic thing in my pocket. You can hold up the camera to any text and it will translate on-screen, on-demand for you. Great for restaurant menus and directions. I once had a whole conversation at an Argentinian laundromat with it.

Posture – Posture will make your chiropractor happy. It runs in the background of your phone and monitors how you hold your phone to predict your posture and neck strain. It’s especially useful for tall people like me. Don’t even get me started on leg room.

*Leg Room – This isn’t an app… but you got me started. What I do now is try to book early, and choose the emergency exit seats with lots of legroom! I go as far as to look up the airline’s plane layout so the seat choosing interface can’t trick me.

Tinder – Perhaps a bit obvious, but hey… for those seeking companionship in foreign worlds, your travelling soulmate is but a swipe away.

Maps.me Download a map of the entire country for offline use, for under 100mb. From what I hear it’s the best travel-maps-app. I’m downloading it now to navigate to the nearest coffee shop.

Lastly, there’s more than Uber (Transportation apps) – Always remember that many cities around the world cities have their own major taxi-calling app, which often competes at the same price as Uber and is trusted more by locals. CityMapper is useful for most city’s transit.

This list could go on forever, but we’re back to square one – you just boarded a plane and entered the sacred Airplane Mode.

As you say goodbye to notifications and unfulfilled romances, you say hello to the baby in row K, the row right in front of you.

You think “this kiddo will sleep like a baby the whole way,” but you’re in for a surprise.

So when that surprise hits, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a white-noise sleep aide for your next flight. Something you’ll probably never need during your life-changing Unsettled trip ;)

Happy travelling!

Thinking of joining us? Check out our retreats page and apply before it’s too late!