In a nutshell, Touchnote allows you to mail a physical postcard of any photo/s you choose and personalized notes/captions to anyone in the world… in seconds, without going to the post office. This app review of Touchnote will help you understand how amazing this really is.

This app isn’t strictly a travel app, but it has such a powerful real-world impact on people you love that I think I’d be remiss not to let more people know about it. It is certainly one of my favorites – of dozens of apps on my phone, this is one I consider indispensable, and would no matter where I lived.

It’s so fantastic. Worth every penny, and one of the most fun apps I have on my iPhone. (There’s also an Android version, but I haven’t used it. Got notes? drop ’em in the comments, please!)

First of all, the iOS Touchnote app was (until a recent refresh) also able to do greeting cards. I hadn’t checked those out before they left. Reportedly, they’ll be returning soon. They look great, though – I’ve received a few from friends in the past.

In the meantime, let me show you how amazing this service really is!

So: What’s the worst thing about mailing postcards?

For me, it’s going to the post office where they speak a little English, then sorting through dozens of stamps (2-3 for each postcard here in VN), ripping them apart with their gooey backs, and personally licking/pasting each one. I have to make sure I leave enough room for the stamps (they are ridiculously large sometimes, and values and number of stamps change based on what’s available that day/time). I have to address and write each postcard by hand (a task I admittedly enjoy). Sometimes I just want to do a general update to a few friends, or just my family members – writing essentially the same thing a couple times gets my hands cramping.

[Wow. First world problems, much?]

So these are obviously ‘problems’ that this developer set out to design away. And, wow, did they ever.

It’s this easy:

1. Pick a photo from your camera roll. You can import and use any picture you want, but since my iPhone has become my de facto camera, virtually everything I need I have access in the roll, or a step away in Dropbox.

2. Choose a layout. You can use up to four of your pictures, or the same picture in many frames. They all look freaking fantastic.

3. Caption that puppy. You get 40 characters.

4. Write a note telling your grams how much you love her and about how you won the turtle kingdom in a life-size chess g

5. Address it using a new address or one from your Address Book.

6. Buy a credit if you need. I love this app so much that I bought a number in bulk many months ago. Postcards currently run from 1.98-1.40 USD, depending on the number you buy at one time. 1.40 is an acceptable trade off for the time the errands run (a postcard is about .50-.75, and sending it to America is about .85, so it’s a very equal trade anyway, not even counting time I save handwriting).

They a) are personalized, b) save time and effort, c) look totally fab.

7. Send it. You can send to anywhere in the world. Postcards to America and Europe arrive in 2-5 days, elsewhere it’s a bit longer.

WOW. DONE. SO GREAT.

Each postcard is printed on glossy, thick, postcard-weight paper. They are professionally printed and receiving one is a special treat – not only do I get to hear from friends, but I get to see what they’re seeing, too.

Additionally, you can send multiple copies of the same card to different addresses, or go back and copy and alter a card from your history to send it out once more.

And I didn’t even have to go to the post office (seriously, that saves me an hour, at least). Anything that keeps me from having to interact with public officials here is a serious win in my book. Holla.

Got any other travel apps that you lean on? Please leave them in the comments!