Let tech be your guide: travel apps you’ll actually useTravel apps are a dime a dozen, but just how handy are they? We’ve found six apps that are definitely worth the download before departure
Translating, converting the local currency, finding out how to get from A to B – some apps are much more useful on your travels than they are at home. On the other hand no one needs a clogged up smartphone screen. So it can’t hurt to think carefully about which apps you’ll really need before you set off.
We’ve got some suggestions:
- XE Currency Converter
- WiFi Finder
You don’t have to learn a language perfectly to travel but a few basics to prepare can be a huge help. Duolingo gives you a much clearer sense of the local tongue than anything at the back of a guidebook.
The app is organised as a response-designed mini game.
Depending on previous knowledge, Duolingo provides you with various small tasks that you need to overcome in order to ascend to the next level. Along the way you’ll lose lives, score points, and pick up useful phrases. And yes, the whole thing is quite addictive.
XE Currency Converter
XE is the classic among currency calculators. Since its launch, the app has been downloaded over 20 million times - and for good reason. Admittedly, you probably won’t need many of the integrated business features but the XE Currency Converter scores especially highly with the fact that it can convert any currency in the world reliably.
Also handy: The app works offline based on the last stored rate.
It might not help you in the great outdoors but for a city break this app is indispensable. Citymapper gives you suggestions on the best way to reach your destination. It calculates the estimated travel time, prices of bus tickets, taxi, etc. and even measures the calories you would consume on a bike or on foot.
In between, Citymapper will surprise you with funny gimmicks like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland showing up on the map or a proposal to get to where you’re going via catapult.
Unlike, say, Google Maps, this app is mostly up to date when certain routes are blocked or trains are delayed. It gets its information directly from the local transport operators.
Small drawback: Although the the number of cities currently covered by Citymapper is limited, the pool is constantly expanding.
Augmented Reality (AR-)Apps
AR apps connect your environment with virtual information, overlays, and games. Such apps are not only entertaining, but also highly useful for travelling, as many of them display location-based information on whatever you encounter on your journey.
One popular example is Wikitude, which is mainly used for image recognition, video overlay and location based AR. All you need to do is hold up your smartphone and you receive useful information about places in your immediate proximity. It also shows restaurants, discounts for shops nearby, events, tweets, articles, and much more.
Furthermore, Wikitude offers many creative extensions to kill time with on long journeys. You can even play games along the way.
If you are rather exclusively interested in finding out about sights, Google Goggles will be another good option for you. In contrast to Wikitude, the app doesn’t require GPS-signal to work.
The drawback: Neither Wikitude’s nor Google Goggles’s image recognition work without internet connection.
The following app can easily help you find Wi-Fi near you:
WiFi is necessary if you want to get the most out of your trip, but you will also want to avoid those pesky roaming charges while abroad. WiFi Finder is a simple app that shows you the best public hotspots around, meaning you won’t be greeted by a hefty bill when you get back home.
Anyone who likes to travel with friends will know this problem. Someone buys a round of drinks, the next pays to fill the petrol tank or the bill for the campsite and in the end no one knows exactly who has actually paid for what.
Splittr allows you to easily document expenses along the way. The app also works offline and no log-in is required. At the end of the trip, Splittr creates an overview for you as a PDF, detailing who paid what and who owes who that you can send to all the members of your travel crew. Problem solved.