Smartphone apps are the greatest travel companions because they can instantly solve almost any travel problem imaginable. While there are many great apps out there, some come more in handy than others.
Here are my 10 favorite must-have travel apps:
1. Trip Advisor Offline City Guides (FREE): This app shines because once it is downloaded you can use it offline. It is one-stop shopping for reviews, self-guided tours, itineraries and maps. You can search by current location, city or neighborhood. The GPS feature will give you exact directions to get you where you want to go.
2. Genius Scan (FREE): I love this app when traveling because it cuts down on the number of documents I need to carry with me. I keep itineraries, contact info, copies of personal documents and confirmation info in this app. You snap a photo of your passport or credit card and it stores and organizes your documents all in one place.
3. Google Translate (FREE): We’ve come a long way from pocket translators. This fantastic app allows you to type in a word or a complete sentence and it will display the translation on the screen. This came in handy for me when I was sick while traveling and needed to explain my symptoms to a foreign pharmacist. Getting lost in translation can be extremely frustrating, but this app makes it easy.
4. XE Currency (FREE): This app is a favorite among currency translators for accessing up to the minute currency exchanges. It’s fast and easy to use which comes in handy especially when haggling market vendors for souvenirs.
5. Hotel Tonight (FREE): Just what it says. You can find last minute hotel deals in the city you’re visiting. This is especially great for road trips when you don’t know where you’ll be stopping for the night.
6. WhatsApp Messenger (FREE): This is an essential app for staying in touch without racking up your phone bill with $.50 text messages while abroad. Send photos, messages, even videos over wi-fi so there’s nothing to pay.
7. Foodspotting (FREE): What are you in the mood to eat? When you’re in a strange city, you have no idea what restaurants exist. Foodspotting helps you narrow down your choices based on your food mood. Your search for Italian, Indian, Steak etc. will generate user recommendations for that location and serve up immediate options based on your location.
8. Wi-Fi Finder (FREE): Data roaming charges can ruin a great trip and blow a budget. This app comes in handy when you need to find the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot. The app even gives you directions to the nearest location.
9. Packing Pro ($2.99): I will be the first to admit–while I love traveling –I HATE packing. Every trip requires different essentials depending on what you plan to do. Packing Pro is like a best friend who can offer up suggestions of things to pack that you might miss. You tell the app where you’re going, for how long, and who is going with you. You will get a list of suggested items split up into essentials, clothing, technology and separate lists for others who are also traveling.
10. Google Goggles (FREE): While not essential–this app is pretty cool especially if you love exploring on your own like I do. When you stumble on a building and want to know what it is — you fire up the app — snap a photo of it–and voila! You will get articles with everything you need to know about what’s standing before you. Keep in mind, if your search turns up nothing, it’s probably just a cool local building and not famous enough to warrant global recognition.
Before your next trip- download a handful of apps that will make your life easier and your trip more enjoyable.