Best Apps to Use When Traveling

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There are a ton of phone apps that cater to the travel minded. Maps, trip planners, tours, social networks, and more. Here are a few of my favorite apps to use while I’m on my trip, most work without needing data!

  1. Offline mapsUlmon
    • Picking the things to do and places to eat on a trip is a hobby of mine, part of my pre-trip research. CityMaps2Go by Ulmon is my favorite offline map that lets you pin your places, add a description, and add them to a list. I recommend paying for the upgraded version to get the app without advertisements. For those of you who don’t like to plan, the app has guides, articles, and suggestions available to over 7,000 destinations. Best thing is this app uses your GPS location, so you don’t need a data connection to find out where you are, and which restaurants are close by. The only thing that would make this app even better is if it had social capabilities, where you could collaborate on a map with travel companions.
    • Maps.me is another great pick as an offline map, especially if you are driving. Add your destination to the downloaded map and it works just like Google maps without using your data network. There’s even an offline search and bookmarking capabilities.
  2. Currency converter
    • When traveling abroad, especially to multiple countries with differing currencies, it’s best to download an app to do the hard work of mathing for you. (Yup, I just made up that word). While there are a few options on the market, Currency features less advertisements than most and allows you to add over 10 different currencies. If you don’t have data while abroad, be sure to download the appropriate currency while you have access to the internet, as it can calculate the conversion without data.
  3. While you’re at the airport
    • Find yourself with a long layover or even a short one? GateGuru is your best app for finding your way around the terminal with a map and list of restaurants, shops and services, plus alerts on travel delays, weather forecast, and tips from other travelers. The latest version added the ability to add a journey by flight number or route to make using the app easier.
  4. Tour apps
    • IMG_6387Rick Steves is my spirit animal. I love his PBS show as well as his guidebooks, so his app Rick Steves Audio Europe is a must have if you’re traveling to Europe. It includes downloadable audio and walking tours you can add to an in-app playlist and play offline. There is so much Rick information on here, it’s a great way to digitally bring him along on your trip; it’s a pocket Rick. The app recently had an update to its interface which made it even easier to use.
    • Detour is great! What stands out is these GPS audio tours tell a story narrated by locals, and infused with cinematic scoring and storytelling. I recently took the Radiolab Austin Detour with a friend, and it was so much fun running around our home city to places we wouldn’t normally go, (and honestly, didn’t even know about). It was about a serial killer in the 1800’s called the Servant Girl Annihilator, and while I knew the basics of the story, it was a whole new experience “walking the story.” There is a great feature where it uses your GPS location so the audio stops when you do, allowing you to take the tour at your own pace without starting and stopping a recording. You can also sync up with friends who are also taking the tour with you on their own devices. Tours are currently available in a few cities across the US and Europe, and some carry a fee.
  5. Traveling with friends?
    • IMG_6390Trip Splitter is a great way to take the fighting out of who owes money to whom. I recently went on a tour to Ireland with three other lovely ladies, and we took turns paying for meals, hotels, rental cars, etc. I kept track of who payed for what on the Trip Splitter Lite app, designating whether it was paid in Euros or US dollars, adding tags and notes to each item and even photos. There has been some reviews that the totals don’t add up correctly, so I would recommend doing that part by hand
    • Tripit from Concur has mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices, plus a web interface, making it easy to upload your travel information and create your itinerary. You can also email your tour item’s email confirmation to Tripit and it will be added instantly, making adding special outings and tours simple. The app syncs to your email, so when you get emails like flight itineraries forwarded to you by friends or relatives, it will be added as a trip to your account. This can come in handy when your travel companions and you are taking different flights, or if they schedule a tour they can just email you the confirmation of it to be added. I also like the collaboration feature, where you can send your itinerary to your travel companions to view on the app on their device, or to friends and family you are leaving behind. I also like this app for long trips, or ones that include multiple countries, as it keeps your schedule in one place. The pro version includes additional features, such as flight status alerts, check-in reminders, and a point tracker to keep track of reward program points and miles.
  6. Translator apps
    • IMG_6389Traveling to a country where they don’t speak your native language? itranslate can translate text and websites in over 90 languages to help you figure out what that road sign means, or ask where the restroom is. I like the voice output function, where I can type phrases like “You look really pretty” or “You’re so smart!” and hear it back in languages like Italian and French. The Pro version can translate your voice, translate websites, and has offline capabilities.
    • I like to print out a few common phrases and words in the language of the country I’m traveling to, since not everyone speaks English. Now I use the Bravolol phrasebook app because it does this for me! This easy to use app has phrases in over 13 languages, and pronounces phrases and offers phonetic spelling if you have the sound turned off your phone. The basic app is free, but I recommend paying for the premium app so you can access without Internet connection. Bravolol Phrasebook; saving paper one international trip at a time.