And I don’t even have a phone plan here.

Here’s why it’s been invaluable:

[Note: I’m sure all of these apps or similar ones are available for Android phones, too.]

  • I use True Maps to figure out where the heck I am. It’s an offline map app, so you don’t need an internet or data connection. The really awesome thing about this, though, is that the GPS still works even without that data connection, so my location is still shown on the map.
  • I use the compass app to figure out which way I’m facing and which way I need to walk when I come up out of a metro station.
  • I use the Kindle app to look up phrases in my Spanish phrasebooks.
  • I use a Spanish dictionary app to look up words I don’t know. I have a few dictionary apps, but only one (SpanishDict) works offline.
  • I use a Mexico City metro map app to figure out how to get places via the city’s metro system.
  • I use a conversion app to see exactly how much that meal I just ate cost in US dollars. For example, check out this meal I had for lunch at a nice restaurant today: rice with fried bananas, some sort of vegetable soup, French bread with butter, three enchiladas, fresh bananas with cream, and unlimited freshly-squeezed lime juice. For 79 pesos, or about $6 US. Awesome.
  • I use Pinger to keep in touch with people in the States. It’s a text messaging and phone app. You get a free American number and people can call or text it just like normal. And if I have a wi-fi connection, I’ll get the messages and calls. It’s awesome.

And all of that doesn’t take into account the regular things I use the phone for, like listening to podcasts, listening to music, playing the occasional game, waking me up in the morning, reading books, and taking pictures. I held out for years before getting a smartphone (I had these two bad boys for the past 5 years), but it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Even more so now that I’m in Mexico.