If you’re traveling with a smart phone, you might want to take a look at what I consider to be the most useful apps to make traveling easier.
If you couchsurf regularly and send requests often, then the app will make it much easier and faster when on-the-go…
Only Flaw: There’s no way to send to check regular messages… the app only allows formal couch requests to be sent and read…
No smartphone? Access CouchSurfing via www.couchsurfing.org
Type anything you see, and this app with detect the language and automatically translate it for you. Great for traveling internationally!
No smartphone? translate.google.com
Take a picture of anything (landmark, something on your coffee table, text, etc.) and this app will identify it! Why I like this for traveling is before if you take a picture of foreign text with Google Goggles and you also have Google Translate (the app mentioned above), then the apps work together in automatically translating the picture you took of foreign text (no need to type it out yourself)! Really though, how easy and amazing is that?!
Need to get downtown from where ever you are? No need to ask, get wrong directions from someone, study a map, or any other frustration when you’re not familiar with an area… Just type where you want to go and your means for transportation (via car, bus, bike, or walking) and the app will tell you the fastest/easiest way get there!
No smartphone? maps.google.com
Once you figure out where you’re going and what bus would be the best, OneBusAway will tell you when the next bus is… Even if you find out the bus schedule, the bus could still be 20 minutes late… Now you’ll know, to the minute, exactly how far away your bus is!
Convert any currency in the world! Save your top currencies so that you can access from quickly and easily while on-the-go. The app is super easy to use and can flip back and forth from one currency to the next with ease… Also, whenever your phone picks up WiFi, XE Currency will automatically update the current conversion rates based on the today’s economy (since they fluctuate daily)…
No smartphone? www.xe.com
Convert any measurement to any other measurement (feet to meters, pounds to kilograms, etc)… Save commonly used measurements to make converting even faster!
Scan any piece of paper right into your phone. Categorize documents just like a filing cabinet. I use this to scan in my passport, business cards, medical papers, etc. I even use this when not traveling… I have “rewards cards” for grocery shopping saved so that I also get the member savings without having to worry about bringing cards…
Truck Stop Locator
If you’re traveling around the U.S. or Canada and want to find a truck stop to either get food, rest for the night, or take a shower, then use this app! I have an old post about how to find truck stop via computer, but with smart phones nowadays, finding a truck stop is as simple as opening this app! Perfect for on the road adventures and spontaneity!
I usually just ask the locals where to go, but some people like reading reviews of local establishments… Yelp is easy to use to find whatever you’re looking for that’s near by.
No smartphone? www.yelp.com
A great little note pad that looks like mini sticky notes. You’re able to assign each sticky note a color so that you can color-coordinate your notes (which really helps me)! For example: all travel notes are green, all notes about something I need to research are red, all notes about something I want to do on my website are purple, etc etc. Then, when you want to read all your notes on one particular topic, just pull up that one color!
Widget: put sticky notes directly on your phone’s background so that you can quickly add more to your notes without pulling up the whole app
Only Flaw: For some reason, this app doesn’t store notes on an external SD card – only the phone memory. This means, that you switch phones, your notes will be lost.
I love skyscanner because you’re able to put in the airport you want to depart from and leave the other airport blank… which means you’re leaving, but you don’t care where – just give me the cheapest tickets available.
This is great for backpacks who don’t really care where they fly in to (since they’ll most likely get to most of the spots eventually anyways), but just want to get there for as cheap as possible…
This is also a great app/website for people that want to take a quick weekend vacation for very little money, but don’t really care where they go! Just get me out of work and to something different!
Widget: Every time you open your phone, you’ll be able to see what the current deal is!
No Smartphone? Check out www.skyscanner.com
Talk to friends and family just like a normal phone, but you don’t need a local sim card or phone plan, just an internet connection! Skype-to-Skype calls are completely free, but you can also purchase credit so that you can really use Skype like a telephone… I purchased US$10 of credit and was able to use it to call any phone number I wanted while traveling internationally… I still have about US$4 of credit left, 2 years later! Skype rates are really cheap! only about 2 cents per minute!
No smartphone? Download Skype on your computer
Which app do YOU use most often that you wouldn’t be able to live without while traveling? Tell us below! I’ll check it out and add it to the list! Thanks for your input!
NOTE: most U.S. cellphones are “locked” to only be used in the USA… AT&T, T-Mobile are examples of carriers that are NOT “locked”… iPhones can also be used internationally… However, even with these phones, a local sim-card is needed in order to make your phone have a local number… Most hardcore American travelers just have a U.S. phone and then a different international phone…
Why does the U.S. do this? Good question. Why does the U.S. do EVERYTHING backwards and different from the rest of the world?! CLICK HERE to see other things that the U.S. does differently just to be difficult…