Now that wireless is available in almost every corner of the world, your phone may be one of your best travel companions. If you pack the right apps along with the right clothes, it can become a virtual concierge, translator, tour guide, and personal assistant in one. Here are 5 essential apps you won’t want to leave behind.
1. Before you even begin to pack, Travel List will help you get organized. You’ll be able to assemble itineraries and create packing lists in minutes. Adjustable preset starter lists will organize your items by category for ease of use. The app provides handy alerts for tasks like charging cameras or changing batteries. And it automatically adjusts to your current timezone.
2. TripIt is an electronic virtual assistant. The free version aggregates all your essential travel information and organizes it into a seamless itinerary. That means all your
hotel and flight confirmation emails,
can be saved in one place – with almost no effort at all.
Even better, you can send links to inform family and friends of your whereabouts. The app even syncs your plans with online calendars to remind you about important deadlines and meetings.
The paid version of TripIt can reduce some of the most common stressors of travel. You’ll receive real-time flight alerts and information about alternate flights. It also shows the best seats available on each flight and keeps track of reward points.
3. Once you arrive at your destination, chances are that you’ll need a ride at some point. If you’re visiting urban areas, the Uber app makes it easier to get around. With the service now available 24-7 in major cities throughout 6 continents, you can order a ride in most places with the mere push of a button.
Simply set your pickup location and tap to request a ride. Check your fare estimate, view the driver’s route, or automatically split the fare with another Uber user with the simple tap of a finger.
4. For fast and easy translation in multiple languages, it’s hard to beat Google Translate. The app works even if you don’t have cell service or WiFi in countries you visit. Download any of its 103 languages for use anywhere from Siberia to the middle of the Sahara Desert.
You’ll be able to type in text and translate the conventional way or translate text appearing in photos. For 27 languages, the Translate app can instantly translate text captured by your camera lens. It can also translate text from any app on your device. Want help reading a sign, menu, ingredient list, copy machine instructions, or anything with text? Simply point your camera at the text, and Google will do the translation for you.
Google helps with conversation as well. For many languages, you can simply speak into your phone and hear an immediate translation in your chosen language. And if you aren’t able to speak or type the correct characters, the app will translate handwritten text in many cases. On Android devices, you’ll have the additional power to translate text messages, websites, and docs.
One caveat: Google claims that “The more you type, the more accurate your translation will be.” However, frequent users may tell you otherwise. At the least, if you receive odd stares after a long sentence, try going one or two essential words at a time.
5. Finally, now that you’ve packed your bags with Travel List, shared your itinerary with TripIt, reached your destination with Uber, and checked into the hotel with Translate, you’ll want to share your good times and amazing photos with family and friends. That’s where Whatsapp comes in handy. The app can save you money and hassle while keeping your messages secure. It offers free worldwide instant messaging and voice calls from all over the world by connecting to the Internet or free local WiFi. And it boasts end-to-end encryption to ensure that your messages to other Whatsapp users are secure.
Even better, if you just want to brag about that wild night in Madrid or share the view from the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, you can create groups of up to 256 of your closest friends and send it to the whole gang at once with the tap of a finger.
In conclusion, travel almost always brings some level of stress and the unexpected. With powerful helpers at the command of your fingertips, you’ll be prepared to enjoy a more relaxing trip.