Traveling can be hard to plan and stressful to do if you aren’t organized. Add that to all of the logistical and cultural differences you’ll encounter, and you need some help to make life a little easier. Remember when you needed a map of everywhere, paper copies of everything, multiple guidebooks and a little bit of luck to find your way around a new place? First of all, that is too much stuff to carry around! Although, I’ll admit it, I still like paper confirmations. I love technology, but I don’t always trust it to stay powered!
We live in the 21st century and traveling has changed a lot from 10 and even 15 years ago. You can carry hundreds of books on an e-reader and have most information you need at your fingertips on your smartphone. So, with so many apps and options out there, what are our favorites to use? Glad you asked! Here’s our top 5 favorite FREE mobile travel apps.
Disclaimer: We only use Android phones.
Before you actually head out on your adventure, you need to have all your reservations made and in one place so nothing gets forgotten! What can you put in there? Flights, train trips, car rentals, various activities, maps, directions, restaurant reservations, and really anything else you might want on hand. It’s just so nice and pretty to have it all in chronological order. Yes, there is a paid version, but we don’t use it or feel like we need it.
Where would we be without Google Maps? Who knows? Because we’d be lost! I love Google Maps, so much. Find directions to wherever you need to go. Walking? Biking? Driving? Taking public transportation? They’ve got you covered. Of course you can find your hotel just by using the name if you don’t know the address.
-You can use GPS without using data.
-You can even save a map for offline use by zooming in to where you want to save and type “OK Maps” without quotation marks, then hit the search button. You will need to name it and then it will be available for 30 days after you save it.
Want a tour of a major European city? Well, download this app at home on wifi and pick which tours you want. They will be downloaded and then are available to listen to without using any data! Take your own walking tour of a city or even well-known museums. But if you want to know more, there are various interviews with those who know the cities best.
We are expats, so there are a lot of things on signs and even in grocery stores we don’t understand. Google translate is a quick app that helps with all of those little things. But I have heard stories of it being used for much more important things…like during medical issues in areas that don’t speak the language you do. It can literally be a life-saver! You can type in the word or phrase in your language and someone else can read the translation, or vise versa. It is a simple concept with a million uses.
Ok ok. I am a Yelp Elite and this app helped me find friends and a community in our new hometown. But at Yelp’s core, it is a city guide app that helps you find everything from restaurants, to hairdressers, to festivals. Various cities even hold events that you can join in on! My favorite feature is the Bookmark. When anyone tells me of a restaurant to try, I immediately bookmark it so I remember to check it out. Download the app on your phone and check in wherever you are, then rate it and maybe leave a tip! Tips are great pieces of advice to keep you in the know.
So there you have it. These are the 5 apps we won’t travel without. Each have their own special purpose to keep us organized and stress-free. And stress-free travel is the way to be! Don’t forget to try and get the real feel of the city outside of just the touristy spots. Take it all in!
What did we miss? Which apps do you have to have when you travel?