When it comes to gadgets, travelers will always be among the first to try them and see how they can make their lives easier. While the number of devices we now need has decreased–most times a smartphone and/or tablet is all you need. That hasn’t happened just because the cameras got better. Apps have played a major role in making travel planning quick and easy and they continue to change and improve the way we travel. With hundreds of apps showing up on our radar every day, here’s a list of the most helpful app categories for travellers, including my absolute favorites in each group.
Apps That Tell You How to Get There
Long gone are the days of fighting with a map (that I never managed to fold properly after usage) to tell you how to get to your destination. First everyone switched to GPS gadgets, and now, with a variety of smartphones to choose from, all it takes is a convenient app to show us the way. With most of them helping you drive, take the train, or walk to your next tourist attraction, things are fun and easy. Especially if you are travelling on your own and there’s no one else to check the map at every major crossroad, use your Samsung device as a co-pilot. Some of my personal favorites in this category are Google Maps, Offline Maps, and TomTom’s Android app. A special mention goes to Waze that brings local advice into your travel experience.
Apps That Tell You What to do When You’re There
Sometimes you don’t have time for a lot of research on what to see or what to do in a certain country or city and carrying a lot of travel guides, especially when flying is not the smartest option. So apps that help you decide what’s worth seeing are the best.
I know Foursquare is mostly marketed as a social app, but it’s the best travel app ever! Instead of trying to install individual apps for museums, restaurants, bars, clubs, and whatever else you might want to see, I prefer using one app to check what’s close to my location. The social aspect comes in handy because you can check how many visitors have been there before you and what they thought of it. Besides, the badge system is really cool, so are the rewards! Other apps I’ve enjoyed are TripAdvisor and at times local apps that guide you through a lesser-known country or region.
Apps That Help You Avoid Roaming Costs
Keeping in touch with your loved ones and those you are visiting tends to get expensive if you stick to roaming plans. So using apps that either help you locate Wi-Fi or that allow you to call home using said hot spot are definitely one of the best things to happen in travel. Wi-Fi Finder is one of my favorite tools ever! Although in some parts, finding a place with Wi-Fi might be a challenge. If you run across paid Wi-Fi, I recommend using Skype Wi-Fi. It will save you the trouble of filling out tons of online forms and you won’t have to get day passes when you’re only using the service for a few minutes.
If you manage to find a place where you can connect to the Internet, or have it included in your hotel, Skype and WhatsApp are my favorite apps to communicate. Calls are easy and I don’t have to pay extra to my mobile carrier.
Apps That Translate the World to You
You won’t ever learn all the languages in the world, and quick conversions or memorizing exchange rates don’t make the best of plans. That is why apps like Google Translate, XE Converter, or all those apps that convert from meters to feet, or kilometers to miles have had such an impact on travel. Take it from someone who couldn’t get direction in English, French, or Spanish, sometimes an app that can translate basic Turkish or Bulgarian or German is a god send! And it’s even better when you don’t have to guess what the speed limit is when you’re driving through the UK, no matter how polite the drivers behind you are when you’re 5-10 miles under said limit.