Many people own smart phones these days and since we have the technology, why not make use of it! There are plenty of applications out there designed to enhance and/or simplify your traveling experience. As an avid traveling, and having used both the iPhone and Android phone, I have sieved out 10 useful travel apps that you may find useful when you’re traveling.
1. Offline Map
Offline Maps are brilliant. It doesn’t rely on data roaming so you don’t have to worry about being charged for it. More often than not, we may find ourselves lost in a foreign land with no one around to navigate (i.e. lost in the middle of friggin no where especially on a road trip). During times like this, Offline Maps are extremely useful. I relied on it so much on my South African Road trip. The iPhone version of the Offline Map allows you to download the maps of different continents. As for the Android Offline Map, I downloaded RMaps which seems to have pretty good reviews. I’ll give it a shot in Sri Lanka and update this section on how well it works for me. And if in doubt, Google Maps is now available for offline use if you pre download the maps!
2. World Lens
When I first found out about this app, I was trying hard to comprehend how advance our technology is today (or maybe I’m just an idiot when it comes to IT). Anyway, this app literally translates foreign words you see into a language you understand instantly! It is AMAZING. Just watch the video.
3. Google Translate
Following up from “World Lens”, Google Translate allows you to give a go at communicating in a foreign language. We all know how google translate works, so here’s a video of an April fool’s Joke by Google on a Google Animal Translate app, just for fun.
4. XE Currency
Money makes the world go round, and when we’re spending money, we want to know how much we’re burning a whole in our pockets. With the XE Currency exchange app, this works offline as well and you instantly convert the amount you are spending in a foreign currency. I personally use this app a lot.
5. Stay City Guides
Stay City Guides is useful when you have no time to plan for your trip and you have absolutely no idea what to do when you get there. If you feel like you’re short of time and want to see the most you can, Stay City Guides will provide you with offline city guides on where to go and what to do. The best part of it is that it allows you to plan your itinerary with your friends if you are traveling together.
They do have a substantial list of cities available for download but there are some still missing. Alternatively, there are a lot of other individual city guides for specific cities. Timeout and Guidepal are good alternatives that I’ve tried.
Another fantastic guide that helps you search for the best flight and hotel deals at the tip of your fingertips. This is especially useful if you haven’t got access to a computer when you’re overseas but need to plan your trip on the go. Kayak app allows you to book through your app. The app is available free for iPhone and Android users.
7. Toilet Finder App
Do not belittle this app. I bet you had moments when you needed the toilet desperately but don’t know where the nearest one is. The Toilet Finder App does exactly what it says, find the nearest toilet and it tells you if it is free or not (Europe is notorious for expensive public toilets!) This app will also come in handy for mums traveling with young children and need to find a place to either change the nappies or just for their children to wee (since young children seems to pee a lot). Different versions of this app are available on both iPhone and Android.
FlightTrack is great for people who fly a lot and for loved ones to be aware of each other’s flight status. It provides real time data on flight schedule and notifies any anticipated delay. It can also find alternate flight routes if you need to and share flight locations. This app has been very well received and you might find it equally handy!
There has been mixed reviews for GateGuru but nonetheless, I still find it a pretty useful app, especially for people who are always at various airports around the world and some airports are huge and confusing. GateGuru maps out airports around the world and where the gates are. It also gives you information on the services available at the airport and where to eat and shop. There is also an additional feature to record your trips like the “TripIt” app. Check out the review for it and decide and see if you’d like it!
Last bust certainly not least, the TripAdvisor app! It is a must have for every traveler with a smart phone. The only issue I have with TripAdvisor is that some reviews are biased, but other than that, I’m very satisfied with TripAdvisor. I use this pretty much for every travel experience I have.
This list is certainly not exhaustive and doesn’t include apps that help you plan your trip in advance (i.e. airbnb), but it is a great place to start if you’re searching for travel apps.
Good luck on your travels and feel free to share any travel apps that you have used and found useful. Bon voyage!
Peace & Love,