Traveling internationally is a much different experience than traveling locally. You should always call your cell phone provider and decide if you are going to buy an international plan or if you will just carry your phone and use it when wifi is available. To make sure you won’t be charged for data make sure it’s turned off in your phone settings.
The apps below are specific to international travel
We also have a great article on general travel apps that are great for any kind of travel. So, be sure to check it out because those apps aren’t included here.
1. Google Translate
This app is a must-have if you are traveling internationally. The best translator on the app market by far and it’s free! Google Translate will translate between 65 languages (and counting) and the options are what really make it fantastic. Users have the option to speak or type words for translation in many different languages. There is also an option for several languages to capture a word via your smart phone camera and have the app translate from your picture. So, if you walking down the street and want to know what a particular sign is, you can snap a picture and Google Translate will tell you.
Our favorite feature is the option to star (or mark) certain languages you will be using, so that they can be used even when you are in an area where there is no internet connection. This is great for travelers who might have limited internet availability but still need access to a translator.
2. CoPilot GPS
This travel app allows you to view maps offline while traveling internationally. Since wifi doesn’t follow you around and using data will leave you with an enormous bill, it’s best to use as many resources offline as possible when traveling to another country. This app allows you to download maps (while you have an internet connection) for use later. You can download multiple maps and save them for your trip. When you are ready to use you open the app and it uses your GPS (which doesn’t run on your data) to locate you, show you points of interest on the map, and even create routes to destinations for you. A little work ahead of time to make sure you have the maps you need is required, but otherwise CoPilot GPS is a snap.
One downfall is that currently the creators have not added every country, so you will need to check on the app specifications to make sure the country you are traveling to is on their list. This app currently has a free version and a $9.99 version which adds voice navigation, 3-D maps, and more.
3. Air BnB
Air BnB is a free app that allows you to think outside the box when it comes to lodging options. If you are still having trouble deciding what type of lodging is best for you, see our post here. This app may not be for everyone. It is an app that links people who have space to rent with people who need space. Whether it’s for one night or several, Air BnB can set you up with a place to stay. It’s as easy as checking into a hotel and you are able to see the location and pictures of the place. You are also able to read user reviews and make your own once you stay.
Again, most of this can be done via the internet before you leave. But if you are a free-spirited group or someone backpacking across the world, this app would be useful to have for last minute reservations to a unique lodging opportunity.
4. XE Currency
One of the most frustrating elements to traveling abroad is trying to keep your budget straight. With currency changing at every stop it’s hard to remember how much you still have and what you already spent. Beyond that, how do you know in relative terms how much that bagel really costs? XE Currency is probably the best currency converter app out there and it’s free. The app will give you the most up to date currency rates and if you happen to be offline it will still allow you to convert your currency using the last updated rate. It’s easy to use and you can monitor up to ten currencies at once (if you’re into that sort of thing!).
5. Ask a Nomad
This is another great and free app that works almost like a forum where users can post questions and have locals or travelers answer. You can either just browse other people’s questions or ask one of your own. This is a great research tool for users as you plan their trip or even when you have already reached your destination. You can access your questions and answers and any favorites you marked whether you have an internet connection or not. Also, if you ask a question while you are roaming around the back country the saves it and uploads it as soon as the next internet connection is available.
When you are abroad and trying to avoid roaming fees but still want to communication with those back home, What’s App is the perfect solution. This $0.99 app, allows you to text (message) other people who own the app exactly like you would with traditional texts. You send messages via internet connection so make sure your phone’s data is turned off and you are only using wifi if you are traveling internationally. As long as it is set up correctly, you will be sending text messages to everyone back home for free. So, download it today to avoid all those high international fees and still enjoy keeping in touch while you are away.
7. Weather +
We love this weather app. The format is eye-catching and user friendly. It’s great for travelers because it allows you to view multiple destinations’ current weather, 5-day forecast, and time. So, if you are traveling to Kentucky or to Jamaica, the app will allow you to see the current time and temperature at your destination. Each city is on one easy to read page so there’s no clicking and waiting for more forecast information. It is $0.99, but we think it’s worth it.
8. WiFi Finder
When you are traveling, you are constantly using your phone to view maps, itineraries, local restaurants, and etc. WiFi Finder gives you the ability to find nearby wifi hot spots so that you can browse the internet or use your other apps without sucking down all you data. This app will scan for WiFi spots around you, even when you are traveling internationally, and give you addresses and distances to the nearest spot. This app is also great because it works both online and offline. So, if you happen to be traveling internationally and using your phone offline, you can still find the WiFi hot spot nearest you. To access the offline database, it must first be downloaded, so be sure to do this before you leave or while you still have internet service. This is another free app that offers a priceless service for travelers.
If you aren’t familiar with Skype, it is an online video chat service that allows you to connect with people all over the world. We use it to talk to family and friends across the U.S. and overseas. It’s a free alternative and works wonderfully. This can be a great resource when traveling internationally and still wanting to speak to family back home. While Whatsapp gives you the opportunity to text, Skype gives you the ability to talk face to face with relatives or friends who want to make sure you are safe or just want an update on your travels. To use Skype you will need an internet connection or the program will use your data and you will be charged.
So, that’s our list of helpful travel apps that we love. Don’t forget to make sure your phone’s setting are set up correctly and don’t forget to stop by our other posts full of interesting travel apps. What travel apps have you used when traveling internationally that you stand by? Let us know!