Whether we’re leaving on a business trip or joining a foreign expedition, many of us remain attached to a mobile device: a tablet or a smartphone. These little gadgets can give us breaking news about our flights, our destination, climate change, and must-see venues.
They can also get us out of a bind: helping us translate, navigate, and learn about emergencies. Take a look at these free and low-cost apps for iOS and Android, because you’ll probably want to add them to your digital toolbelt.
City Maps 2Go
While many of us rely on Google Maps at home, it’s often completely impractical to rely on cellular data or Wi-Fi while we’re abroad. Unless you’ve switched your SIM card and are using a local carrier at your destination, you can incur massive international roaming fees from your U.S.-based carrier.
This situation makes most navigation apps useless, since you’re unable to connect to the Internet while on the go. City Maps 2Go solves this problem by allowing you to download extremely detailed maps to your phone’s hard drive.
This allows you access to points of interest, travel recommendations, routes, and local city maps without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.
You don’t have to squint at those hard-to-read flight stat signs at the airport anymore, in a desperate search for your flight number in a giant list. Now you can check GateGuru, which gives you a quick-and-easy snapshot of your flight’s status, your itinerary, and delays that might affect your travel plans.
GateGuru is also a central source of info where you can not only study airport stats, but also check out nearby amenities, estimated TSA security line wait times, car rental info, and even airport maps. This can help you relax, especially if you are dashing through an unfamiliar airport in search of your next gate.
Trip Advisor Offline City Guides
The great minds at Trip Advisor are helping us find local eateries, tourist attractions, hotels, and nightlife tips with the same great feature as the City Maps2Go … and it’s all offline! This is fantastic news for those of us who feel lost without an Internet connection and Yelp access.
However, keep in mind that this free application will take up hard drive space on your mobile device, so you’ll need to clear out about half a gig of space to keep this handy app tucked away.
Okay, so you’ve just arrived in South Africa, and you’re searching for your Cape Town accommodation. You need to ask for directions, but you’re not well versed in Afrikaans or Xhosa, two of the main languages spoken in this area.
When you run into language barriers, you can type your request for directions into Google Translate, which will display your query in the local language. You can even record the answer to translate it back to English.
Mobile devices will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable adventure. Equip your device with these apps and bring spare charging gear, in case you get lost.
Mobile apps can turn a potentially stressful situation into a breeze, and allow you to focus on your destination and not the obstacles.