Picture 14

Sam Morrison’s Backflip Challenge: Technology behind the Trip

For those familiar with Sam Morrison’s Backflip Challenge, you may know that Sam is traveling around the world this summer to pursue his ultimate goal; to make his challenge global by backflipping on every continent.

However, Sam will be traveling without a mobile phone (scary, I know). Instead, Sam is depending on an iPad, camera gear and a few extra items to successfully complete his trip. As Sam travels, post photos, and catalogues his experiences on his blog, he offered insight to what apps have been most essential for him during his trip.

Data Storage:


Price – $19.99/20GB/month

Dropbox allows users to store their documents or photos to be accessed from anywhere and on any type of device: desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. For Sam, Dropbox is especially useful as a storage device, as his iPad only stores up to 16GB, not nearly enough to store his full-resolution photos.

Google Drive

Price – 5 GB free, $2.50/25GB/month

Recently released, Google Drive is another means of storing data that can be shared on multiple mobile devices, though Sam quips he “might just sell my soul and arguably the rights to all of my information by signing up.” So why purchase this app if Dropbox is already so popular? Google Drive boasts that it allows you to collaborate with other users and edit files together from any type of device. With instant access to Google Docs, Google Drive seems like a great new way to work together from remote locations.

Onavo Extend

Price – Free

With Onavo Extend, users can increase their data plan power by 500% by compressing data. Even better, Onavo Extend gives a report about which apps are using the most data so users can learn how to use their apps more effectively. This app is especially important to Sam, who is storing large amounts of data throughout his trip and needs to make sure he has enough for the entire journey.



Price – Free

Created by Syracuse University alumnus Dennis Crowley, Foursquare allows you to “check-in” to local destinations to learn more about the area. The app is not only addicting for its badge-earning capabilities, but also the ability to familiarize users with an unfamiliar area to find the best hotels, restaurants, and clubs. For a backpacker like Sam, Foursquare has become extremely useful to find such destinations and it allows others to track his movements through each country.

Google Maps

Price – Free

Although most popular with Android users, Google Maps provides users with an interactive map to navigate through cities. With Street View, users can also view streets at eye level to become more familiar with the area. Street View is extremely useful for Sam, who says he “becomes more familiar with the city by recognizing major landmarks.”


Google Voice

Price – Free National calls, 10-20 cents/minute for International calls

Google Voice administers phone numbers for users to make phone calls and send text messages from a tablet or laptop. Additionally, Google Voice will transcribe voicemails and send text messages to an email account for more accessibility. Sam has been using Google voice as a way to communicate with family and friends at home.


Price – Free Standard account, $4.99/month Premium account

This popular app allows users to make voice and video calls to anyone around the world. Skype also offers group video calling to chat with multiple people at once. This is another effective way Sam can communicate with friends at home more visually.


Price – $2.99

This social networking app allows users to access their Twitter timeline with its sleek and easy-to-use design. Tweetbot also features “Smart Gestures” that allow users to compose tweets, retweet, and create lists for a better experience. To update his Twitter account, @SamtheCobra, Sam uses Tweetbot as a convenient way to access his account and connect with followers.



Price – Free

With over 50 million users across Apple and Android platforms, Instagram is the most popular photo editing and sharing application on the market. Instagram allows users to capure beautiful photos and add filters or frames before sharing them on Facebook and Twitter. As Sam backflips throughout his trip, this app is one of his top choices for capturing every moment.


Price – $4.99

Named Best Mobile Photo App 2012 and iPad App of the Year, Snapseed lets users tweak and edit high-quality photos and videos before being uploaded online. Sam’s full-resolution photos have turned out beautiful thanks to this app throughout his trip.


Price – Free

Flickr allows users to upload photos to their own account and view their friends’ photos through their iPad app. Sam has constantly uploaded photos to catalogue his experiences on each continent, and Flickr has makes sharing these photos much easier.



Price – Free

The popular travel-booking site features a convenient app that allows users to search and book flights, hotels and car rentals. Orbitz also shows the status of your flight to make traveling more convenient. Sam says the app has planning much easier by allowing him to search and book his traveling needs from his iPad.


Price – Free

TripIt is the ultimate travel app, as it condenses all travel and flight information into one location for convenience and easier access. Users boast that TripIt is a great way to plan trip itinerary, but for Sam’s on-the-go style trip, TripIt is a useful means of organizing the important information he needs to catch his next flight.

Hailey Temple

Syracuse University Class of 2015. Public Relations and Information Management & Technology with Spanish minor. Passionate about technology and people. runner and fitness addict. coffee lover. social media junkie.

More Posts