We can all see the charm in going unplugged on a vacation. After all, who needs constant e-mails from work and senseless bragging of some people on social media during a holiday?
But things have changed over the years. Mobile devices enhance convenience, not disturb the peace and quiet, while on a vacation or travel abroad. Based on a 2013 Holiday Travel Survey, 65% of smartphone users say they see a “clear sailing ahead.” At the same time, non-smartphone users are 5% more likely to predict “nothing but chaos” in their travels compared to smartphone users. The study further revealed that the more travel apps a traveler uses, the more optimistic he is about discovering the world.
Apps for travelling let you do practically anything. They add to your level of confidence as you navigate an unfamiliar territory. With travel apps, you can book flights and hotels, find the nearest restaurant, learn a new language, chat with family and friends back home, and even get help with your travel finances. These apps are also especially useful for students who study abroad and have to stay long-term and get accustomed to the new culture.
Here are recommended apps for your next travel abroad.
This app is like your pocket travel agent. It pulls together all travel information that you might need—from your confirmation emails for flights, hotels, and car rentals—and converts it into a single itinerary. This is useful for planning group trips because it can share plans with your friends.
Where To Go?
The first question of the day when traveling abroad is “where do we go now?” Of course, you can plan your itinerary and your tour in the city and other tourist spots. But what if you need a grocery or a pharmacy? This app works globally with over 500 location types. It is also a handy GPS that provides turn-by-turn directions to wherever it is you want to go. It has a very simple interface and you can even customize it. If you can’t decide where to go, there is a shake-to-suggest feature to explore and discover possibilities around you.
Where To Go? is also among the top apps when studying abroad because it helps you become familiar with your new neighborhood. It also helps you settle down in a new city.
If you want a list of establishments around your chosen hotel, AroundMe will quickly provide you information about your surroundings. By identifying your position, it will give you a list of the nearest banks, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, supermarket, theater, etc. along with the distance from where you are. You can choose from a category and the app will provide you a listing of businesses that you can view on a map complete with a route. You can even send the information of the place to a friend via email.
Reviews of fellow travelers are very important. With Trip Advisor, you can read reviews and recommendations from over 50 million travelers. The app is perfect if you want to get tips when traveling abroad because it ranks the best restaurants and hotels based on its rating scheme. It also helps you find the best flight deals and check to see if a certain hotel is available. You may also check traveler’s photos of the places you plan to visit.
You will need at least one communication app when you travel abroad to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. WhatsApp allows you to exchange messages, photos, audio notes, and video messages. The best thing is you can use this app for free anywhere in the world.
Instagram seriously got a run for its money with the entry of SnapChat. This app allows you to share quick snaps such as photos and videos with friends and family. These “snaps” can be viewed for a brief amount of time before they disappear. Its ephemeral nature particularly appeals to teens and millennials.
It also doubles as a fun messaging app where you can take a photo and doodle over it before sending to a friend. It also has a “story” feature, which is a 24-hour collection of your photos and videos.
Developed by a professional photographer, this app is like a high-quality SLR lens. Point and shoot phone cameras are fine but if you want more professional looking photos from your trip, you might want to download this app. It has a burst mode for action shots, a timer for self-portraits, and an image stabilizer. You can have fun with the shutter and other manipulating features such as color tints and retro effects.
This is your modern Rosetta stone. Bravolol features a basic phrasebook in over 13 languages. While the words are basic, the app helps you pronounce words and phrases and even offers phonetic spelling. The best part is that once you have downloaded the app, it can run without an Internet connection. This is perfect for solo travelers, adventure seekers, and foreign students who want to explore a particular city by engaging more with the locals.
Most airports provide a map of the city and how to go about the public transportation system. But actual physical maps can get you in trouble. One of the travel abroad safety tips is not constantly look at maps because doing so will only alert petty thieves and scammers that you have no idea where you are going. Using them is also a bit inconvenient.
CityMaps2Go will help you stay safe while traveling with its downloadable maps and guides to over 7,000 destinations. You may pre-load this to your phone and run it without an Internet connection. The app also features suggested destinations.
This app is especially useful for frequent travelers and long-term travelers such as students who study abroad. It’s like having your own accountant on the trip as it allows you to track, budget and manage your money all at once. After you’ve opened an account, Mint will automatically pull in all the bank, credit, and loan accounts you added. Never again will you wonder where all your money went.
Mint also customizes your budget based on your spending and sends bill reminders. The app is safe, secure, and easy to use.
Money converter apps are a must when you travel abroad so you don’t overestimate or underestimate a country’s currency when you purchase something or dine in a restaurant. Converter Plus is an all-in-one calculation app with an extensive list of currencies and units in hundreds of categories.
As soon as you check in at the airport, the instinct is also to share it to the world by updating on Facebook or Twitter. Every photo you will take will also probably land on your social media pages. But there’s a certain charm about keeping a travel journal.
The Trip Journal app will let you create a travelogue of your experiences complete with high-resolution photos and videos. You may add notes and comments to describe the experiences. Students on study abroad programs will particularly find this app interesting as it will document the whole experience. The app’s integration with Google Earth will also allow friends and families to see the places you’ve been. It even has trip stats like the distance and time you have traveled.
There’s an app for almost anything today and when it comes to travel, you will find an enormous list of apps. Make the most of your smartphone or mobile device when you travel. These apps will help make your trip safer, more convenient, and more memorable.