best cell phone for travel


You need the best gear when you travel. It needs to be reliable when you need it. You can’t be hanging off a 40 foot bamboo ladder in the perfect Instagram pose only to wait for your phone to load its camera app. No, you need to double tap that unlock button and have it snap into action. (Yes, I’m speaking from experience here!).

Since the beginning of this year we’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. We don’t usually write articles about our gear, but this phone has changed the way we travel. Instead of trying to bring our big, bulky DSLR camera (for those are curious, we have this one) with us wherever we go, we can simply bring our cell phone. This may seem nit picky, but when you’re traveling with three dogs you never seem to have enough arms.

Honestly, we don’t care about the Galaxy S8 specs in terms of phone function. I could talk to you about software and RAM, but when it comes down to it we need a phone that is reliable and can take excellent photos – and this phone is just that.

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Battery Life + Charging

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One of the main things we love is the Samsung Galaxy S8 battery life. It can literally last all day on one charge. That’s with 8 email accounts all syncing and constantly checking and updating all of our social media accounts. Oh, and we take around 200 photos ever single day.

It doesn’t have a removable battery, but makes up for it with a fast charging system. You plug it in for a half hour and you have enough charge to get through the rest of the day. This may be one of the best S8 features. While this is true, we still always bring along a small portable power bank that more than doubles the battery life of the phone (it’s best to look for one that has fast charging capabilities). All you have to do is plug it into the device and throw it in your bag while you walk.


That takes us to photo editing (the main reason we are so in love with this phone). We use the full suite from Adobe including Lightroom CC (our preferred editing software) and Photoshop. When we compare the Samsung Galaxy S8 screen size to that of the iPhone 7 and 8 we were blown away.

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Screen comparison size between the Samsung (left) and iPhone (right).

And the colours! It’s hard to capture just how amazing this screen is through a photo.

Samsung is known for having over saturated displays, but this is definitely not a negative. The photos we take, even the ones we just view, look completely different on this phone than they do on our iPhone’s screen.

While we prefer to edit all the photos on a computer (our laptops are NEVER far away) we don’t always have this ability which means we need a great phone that is able to produce high quality photos even with its smaller screen. It’s screen needs to show us what the photo actually looks like so we can get the colours right. The screen on this phone is incredible. It has such an incredible display that we can edit photos without struggling to see details.


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This may be the aspect that we love most about this cell phone. It has enabled us to capture images where we simply couldn’t bring our bigger camera. We have been blown away by the picture quality of this device. In fact, we didn’t realize it but we’ve been using the camera at a lower resolution than it’s capable of!

The fact that this phone is waterproof allows us ultimate freedom. We can jump in a lake, bring it on a hike and take photos in the middle of a storm (Samara’s favourite).

It takes such good photos that I bet you couldn’t tell which photos were from our cell phone or from our DSLR camera. This is amazing considering our big DSLR camera (24.1) has more than double the megapixels than the phone (12 MP).


Taking great photos is one thing – being able to store them is another. The Samsung Galaxy series has been famous for allowing you to expand it’s storage. This means you can use a micro SD card to the phone which gives you even more storage. But it’s only necessary if you take a ton of photos. This phone comes with 64 GBs of storage. That translates to around 9000 photos. We just bought a 128 GB micro SD card but only rarely seem to use it. The cool thing is that we can use this same card for our GoPro Sessions 5 so we can simply switch them out.


The only issue we have with the Galaxy S8 is how slippery it is. I guess this is one of the downfalls of having such a beautiful design. It took our phone falling and smashing on the ground for us to realize we needed a case for the phone (thankfully we bought insurance on the phone). Even though we appreciate how the phone looks it would be more functional if it wasn’t so slippery.


The best camera is the one you have with you. Our large Nikon DSLR doesn’t fit in our pocket so we were limited with the image quality we could get. Being able to instead bring our phone is so much more convenient. The downfall is the phone is big. In this case opting for simply the S8 rather than the S8 plus that we have may be a good option. While it fits into my pocket with ease and the screen size is a huge thing for us, the phone doesn’t fit well into the smaller pockets found in women’s clothing.


If you’ve ever met us you know how much we love being outdoors. This means we’re always playing near water or mud. Having a device than can withstand the occasional dunk in water is a requirement in our life. My last phone took a beating. I brought it into the ocean in a waterproof case and it still ended up breaking. Just sitting on the beach led it to corrode from the salty air. Having a phone we can jump into lakes with is huge and gives us killer underwater shots.

Carriers + Unlock

If you travel lots you will need a phone that is carrier unlocked. This means you’ll be able to use a SIM card from any phone provider. The great thing about this phone is that it comes factory unlocked. We got ours from Bell and only found this out when we called them to get it unlocked.

Trust us – you don’t want to have to deal with international roaming charges.

This is amazing. Every phone we’ve ever owned had to be unlocked by the phone provider. This would come with a fee (usually around $99) for them to simply send you a code you’d have to enter. Having a phone that can be used with any company around the world (depending on the phone’s bands) will give you access to call hotels and car services. It also puts your mind at ease if you run into an emergent situation.

Final Thoughts

When traveling full time as we do, it is important that the gear you carry has as many uses as possible. All in all you want it to not only maximize in functions, but excel in those functions. We bought this phone primarily for the camera and it has surely delivered in that area.

If it seems like we’re raving about this cell phone, well we are, we love it. It has an amazing screen and is even waterproof. There’s not much more we could ask for from our cell phone.

What cell phone do you travel with? Let us know why you use and what you think of it in the comment section below!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means we

may get a commission if you make a purchase. Our opinions are our own and we only share what we believe you’ll find helpful. We also use all the products that we have links to. You can even see them in the photos we post. This post is in no way supported or sponsored by Samsung.

The best travel gear is your traveling phone that you go on adventures with.

The best travel phone for traveling photography.