It used to be that when you travelled, you would need to carry hefty guidebooks, stacks of print-out confirmation documents, maps galore, and more—but these days, all you usually need to carry with you is your smartphone or tablet. Talk about making it easier to pack (although there are some things you’ll need to keep in mind if you’re carrying your phone with you while you travel)! If you do a quick search for travel-related apps, though, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed with all the choices available to you, as there are thousands and thousands of apps out there at this point. Rather than weeding through them all, check out some of our favorite apps:
Keeping your travel things organized can be a bit of a pain: you might have your flight confirmations in one place and your accommodation confirmation in another place and your planned itinerary in another place… It all adds up, and it can get a bit confusing. Rather than having a bunch of separate apps for the different aspects of your travel logistics, we recommend using TripIt. You can forward your confirmation emails to the app, create itineraries based on your arrival dates and other planned activities, and generally just lose the headache that often comes with having to keep all the details straight in your head.
2. A VPN
Free citywide public WiFi is becoming more available all the time. However, public systems are havens for hackers looking to steal your identity. If you’re going to be downloading walking tours, or streaming Netflix, or Skyping with the family back home, you should really take these concerns seriously. A VPN is an app that will give your laptops and phones much needed security. It encrypts your information so all a hacker would see is a scramble of data. It also offers protection from viruses and malware. It can even get you around the geo-location restrictions you may encounter in some countries due to censorship or administrator blockades. Secure Thoughts offers an article that reviews VPNs A to Z so you can choose the best one for you.
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Foursquare is an excellent and versatile app. You can use it to help you find restaurants, accommodations, local sights, and whatever else you might want or need to find in a city. Although coverage is a bit spotty in certain places, it’s generally the most widespread guide app available. One of the best things is that it’s used by locals as well as tourists, so you’re guaranteed to get a local feel for the place instead of a strictly touristic one. And don’t worry—you no longer have to “check in” to places to get information about them; that’s now all handled in a separate app called Swarm.
4. Google Goggles
This app is great for those who are a bit spontaneous and don’t want to figure out all the little details of their itinerary. Have you ever been wandering around in a foreign city and wondered just what it was you were looking at? Google Goggles makes it easy to find out—simply point your phone’s camera at the interesting building, artwork, or whatever else, and as long as the thing is famous enough, the app will bring up the relevant Wikipedia pages for your perusal.
5. XE Currency Exchange
Knowing the current currency exchange rate can be useful, especially if you’re trying to travel on a budget. You don’t want to risk overpaying for something, but you also shouldn’t be too stingy about things—sometimes a deal is actually a deal! XE Currency Exchange is one of the most-trusted currency converters out there, with real-time updates and charts that let you see how the conversion rate fluctuates over time, and they cover a lot of currencies. Use it to look up the conversion rate or to calculate exactly how much you’re about to spend on those train tickets.
We can all admit that planning the logistics of travel is usually the least-enjoyable part of the journey, so why not make it as simple as possible? These apps make it easy to figure out your details so that you can get the most out of your trip and not have to stress as much. Say goodbye to the hassles of travelling and hello to the world of app-assisted travelling!