Essential Travel Apps for the Modern Traveler
The proliferation of smartphones means many travelers today depend on their internet-enabled devices to ensure their trip is as stress-free and relaxed as possible. Whether your travel plans include a gap year, a short stint abroad, or simply a quick weekend getaway, mobile apps can help.
The information once afforded to maps and guidebooks are now all conveniently located in the palm of your hand. Apps are essential travel companions, and many of them have been designed to make your travel experience as comfortable and as easy as possible.
Wherever your passport takes you, here are the best mobile apps to help you travel smarter.
1. Safety apps
Safety is every traveler’s top priority when going abroad. Traveling alone, in particular, can feel more frightening and treacherous. Luckily, several mobile apps have been developed to help solo or group travelers feel safe abroad.
The RedZone Map app is compatible with all devices, from iOS to Android. It’s a navigation app that allows travelers to navigate foreign countries safely by generating safe routes through the use of crime data. These statistics are gathered from various sources, from local governments, police, and fellow travelers.
The goal of RedZone Map is to reduce a traveler’s risk for potential crime by keeping them informed about risky and unsafe routes.
If you’re an iPhone or iOS user, then the Trip Whistle app is for you. With more than 70 different emergency numbers globally, TripWhistle Global SOS ensures you have access to the right emergency numbers (police, fire, ambulance) in your destination, should you ever need them.
2. Trip planning
With a few apps, you can turn your smartphone into a virtual all-in-one travel assistant.
Apps like Google Trips (Android and iOS) and TripIt (Android and iOS) consolidates all your travel information, from trip itineraries to flight details and various reservations.
Google Trips, in particular, goes even further, providing recommendations according to your preferences and local sights and attractions according to your current location.
Other solid travel assistant apps include TripCase, an award-winning travel app available for both Android and iOS, and Roadtrippers, the perfect Android and iOS app for travelers looking to hit the road.
3. Flight and hotel searches
When your trip requires multiple stops across numerous countries, travel metasearch engines such as Skyscanner, Expedia or Hipmunk can be a powerful tool to plan and book your next destination.
These travel aggregator apps collate information not only on flights, but hotels and cars to ensure you get the possible deal for your money. These Android and iOS apps scan the best travel deals locally and globally to secure bargain flights or cheap hotel accommodations and car rentals for your selected dates.
Many of these apps now include “price alert” features that track when hotel or travel fares go up or down so you know exactly when to book.
4. Staying in touch
Gone are the days when keeping in touch abroad meant having to send a letter or postcard home, where it could be potentially delayed or never make it to its destination.
Mobile devices now afford travelers the opportunity to keep family and friends at home abreast of their travel experience in real-time and a convenient manner. Whether it’s a quick message to inform them that you’re doing well or staying safe, or Wi-Fi calling and group chats, staying in touch is becoming increasingly easy for the modern traveler.
Some of the best telecommunication apps for travelers include Skype, Viber and Whatsapp. Each of these mobile apps offers travelers similar features, such as live face-to-face calling, group chats and instant messaging, anywhere in the world. And each app is free to use, provided you are connected to Wi-Fi or using a local visitor’s sim card.
5. Translation apps
Lost in translation may be the eponymous movie title of an unlikely pair of travelers abroad in Japan, but in this particular case, it is also a problem that continues to plague travelers today. To avoid the embarrassing language barrier and make communication easier, then consider Google Translate or TripLingo.
Each of these mobile apps takes out the guesswork in speaking a foreign language.
Google Translate, for example, features 90 languages in its database that can be translated in written format, and 38 of these languages offer audio translations.
TripLingo is a voice translator that has similar attributes to Google Translate, though at a price. But, for that price, the app comes with audio lessons, instructional phrase books, and local tip sheets.
With the right set of travel apps, the world can be your oyster. After all, the current library of travel apps available is equivalent to a digital Swiss Army knife. So whichever travel apps you do choose, they will be trusty companions in unfamiliar settings.