Many of us love to travel, and nothing gets us more excited than the thrill of exploring exotic lands. When it goes right the memories we create are some of the most vivid and wonderful of our lives. When it goes wrong it can place us in sticky situations or even ruin our experience. You’ll need tools to maximize your adventure, and that’s why we’ve collected information on a number of travel apps that you can use to make sure that your travel experience is a positive one. Make sure to pack your smartphone (and charger) on your next trip abroad to gain advantages that only the experts used to enjoy.
MY BAGS ARE PACKED, WHERE ARE WE GOING?Some trips are more complicated than others. But even the simplest trips involve multiple flights and hotel reservations at the least. Keeping it all together is difficult when all you really want to do is take in the sites or get down to business. Here are a couple of free apps that will keep everything in order for you.
TripCase – This app could not make plans simpler for you. Once you’ve booked a flight or a hotel reservation just forward the confirmation to an email address provided by TripCase, and the information will be automatically uploaded. What’s even better is that if there is a change, like a delayed flight, for example, the app will send you a notification. Plan on meeting up with someone while you’re away? You can share your itinerary with family and friends to make sure the meeting happens.
Tripit – This app is so similar that distinguishing between it and TripCase is a matter of preference. You can upload all of your itineraries in one spot, and receive notifications. Many travel sites have push notifications that will ask if you want to send confirmations to Tripit. These apps don’t stop at flights and hotels either. You can include rental car information or the concert you plan on attending. Say goodbye to your printed itinerary, these apps have you covered.
Honorable Mention – Check out App in the Air for up to minute information regarding flights, even if your phone is offline (like on an airplane). Also, check out GateGuru when at the airport. It will tell you how long the waits are at different gates and give you a full map of the airport.
CHANGE ANYONE?While there are a few different currency converter apps out there, two stand far and away above the others. OANDA and XE Currency offer up to the minute information that can save you a lot of money. They are the most used and trusted websites for currency conversion on the web so it’s no wonder that their mobile apps are the best.
OANDA – This app will allow you to find the conversion for every currency in the world. That is pretty darn helpful when visiting the lesser traveled corners of the world. It also has a very slick and easy user interface. Don’t have cell phone service? This app will save the latest information up until the moment your phone goes offline.
XE Currency – All of the features mentioned above for the OANDA app are also available in XE Currency. However, this app is geared more toward the traveler whose purpose for traveling is “business” rather than “pleasure.” All of the currencies of the world are represented, and it also gives up to the minute information regarding precious metals. Plan on buying some jewelry at a market in an exotic land? Use this app to find out how much that gold is actually worth.
YOU’RE SPEAKING GREEKSome of these translator apps are getting scary good at deciphering words in different languages. I always found that learning how to say “hello” and “thank you” in the native language of the land opened a lot of doors for me. But think about how much further I could go if I could converse! Alas, a couple of apps can accomplish that very aim.
Google Translate – Download this app and you’ll have a ball translating everything you see and say. Spot a street sign and don’t know what it says? Point your camera at the sign and Google will do the rest. The same goes for menus too, or even documents in paragraph form. Or maybe you want to say something more conversational than basic pleasantries. Simply speak a phrase in English into your phone and the app will create a perfect audible translation.
Bravolol – Google Translate is the definitely the go to app when traveling worldwide. It has just about every language under the sun covered. However, sometimes you go offline, especially when you’re traveling. Bravolol is the app for when this happens. Download it before you set out on your travels and you’ll have access to phrases and words for 13 different languages.
WHERE’S WALDO?Probably the most frustrating experience you’ll have when traveling is losing your way. City maps, even ones handed to you by city officials, are not always reliable. Some omit public transportation information, while others fail to translate things like destinations or roads. Maps themselves can be bulky, and let’s be honest, nothing says “lost tourist” like furrowing your brow and burying your nose into a folded, tattered piece of paper. Consult the following apps to make sure you know where you are and more importantly where you’re going when traveling.
Citymapper – This app is very cool and very useful. There are countless features to keep you occupied while in transit. And though not all are useful (like the time it would take to get to your destination via jetpack), it does have a plethora of fantastic features that will keep you moving. It’s integrated with Uber, gives notifications on traffic jams, and can identify if that train you’re trying to catch is running late. The only drawback is that Citymapper only has maps for around 35 cities worldwide.
CityMaps2Go – Where Citymapper falls short, CityMaps2Go certainly fills the void. This app has a few less features than Citymapper, but it contains detailed maps for over 7000 destinations worldwide. What’s best is that you can download these maps ahead of time if going offline is a possibility. On top of that, CityMaps2Go offers articles and suggestions for destinations, making it a guide as much as it is a map.
Honorable Mention – LiveTrekker is an app that makes sure the memory of your trip will live beyond your memory. It follows the GPS signal from your phone to draw a line on a map of your every move. You can also use it to speak or write notes, and take pictures. Have you always wanted to write about your travels but never got to it? Use LiveTrekker to capture your entire adventure.