We travel to enjoy ourselves and take it easy, but the process of getting from one place to another can sometimes be stressful enough to take all the fun out of an adventure. Luckily, smartphones are here to rescue us! Along with it are travel apps that helps us navigate and organize our trip. Long gone are the days of purchasing travel guides and hiring pricey travel agents; you can book your flights, accommodations and excursions all on one website. Some enterprising travel aficionados have taken it a step further and created smartphone apps to streamline our lives so we can let go and relax!
Here are 10 essential travel apps I never travel without
TripAdvisor is the go-to app for finding the best restaurants, hotels, activities, places to see and more. Some refer to it as the Yelp of traveling, but unlike Yelp, TripAdvisor info can be found for almost any place your travels may take you. Plus, you can read reviews from those who’ve traveled before you and then document your own best travel moments for others to follow after you.
As long as you have free WiFi, you can video and message chat for free with anyone who also has the Skype app. It’s great for those who need to stay in touch with a large group, but don’t want to invest in an international phone plan. It’s also a nice way to check in with familiar faces back home if you’re gone for an extended trip. This app is commonly used not only by travelers, but freelancers and remote workers. So if you need a job, and you decide that you just can’t return home quite yet, Skype will be there to help you out.
3. WiFi Finder
While Skype is a wonderful resource when traveling, it eats up data if you don’t have access to WiFi. The WiFi Finder app will help you not only find all WiFi spots near you, but also let you know whether or not they are free. Unfortunately, if you use risky, uncensored, public WiFi
—the kind at airports and cafes that let you sign in without a password—you’re at a huge risk of being infested with malware or having your identity stolen, which leads me to the next app I treasure.
The last thing you want while you’re traveling is to have your identity stolen and end up stranded in a bus station in Zimbabwe with no money. It sounds like a worst-case scenario, but it’s definitely possible. Many people think that smartphones are hack-proof, but that is simply not the case.
A Virtual Private Network service, such as ExpressVPN, will do two things for you as a traveler. First, it will encrypt your data, so connecting to public WiFi will pose no risk. Your identity will be protected, and you won’t accidentally download a virus or malware. Second, you’ll be able to dodge the pesky geo-blocks that prevent you from watching anything good on Netflix!
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5. Trip Splitter
Trip Splitter is a must-have when traveling with a friend or group. When dealing with foreign currency, it is often easier to make a single purchase, rather than try to divide it up. However, it can sometimes get challenging to keep track of who bought what, which is where Trip Splitter comes in. It’s even handy for use on a day-to-day basis. Now you don’t have to wonder how much that bum of a friend who always leaves you with the bill owes you. You can simply track it in Trip Splitter for however long you want and send him a bill when you’re short on cash. No guarantees he’ll actually pay you back, unfortunately.
Airbnb helps you find local hosts in the city of your choice. What makes Airbnb truly stand out from other similar services is its fun interface and organization. It’s easy to spend hours browsing through the categories. You can find anything from Luxe Yachts and Retro Trailers to Windmills and European Treehouses! The Airbnb app makes it easy to book on the go and provides opportunities to stay in extraordinary and reasonably priced accommodations around the world.
7. TravelSafe Pro
This app is an important tool to keep you safe when traveling. It gives you phone numbers, addresses and basic information you might need for the nearby embassies, police, fire stations and more. What makes this app extra helpful is that you do not need access to the internet to access its information!
8. XE Currency
When it comes to currency converter apps, XE Currency is the way to go. Not only is it completely free, but also simple and accurate. It provides live currency rates so you never have to worry if you are receiving an out of date conversion rate.
9. Google Translate
Google Translate is an incredible translation tool. It offers support for over 90 languages, and offers a variety of features. While some services require you to type in phrases or even speak specific phrases at a time, Google Translate now allows you to converse hands free, detecting both languages being spoken. You can also draw characters or letters of languages with non- Latin alphabets and, depending on your drawing skills, Google Translate identifies the letters or words and translates for you. Finally, you can also simply snap a picture of what you are trying to translate. This app makes it easy to translate street signs, menus and much more.
While translating as you travel is fine, it’s even more wonderful to learn a little of the native language. Duolingo is possibly the best free resource out there for language learning. They currently are helping people learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Esperanto, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and Welsh. Plus, it tracks your goals and sends you daily reminders to practice your skills.
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What travel apps do you use when you’re traveling? Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments!