Traveling abroad can be scary and nerve-wracking. You don’t know the language, you’re not sure if your mobile network will work there, and then there’s the perpetual fear of getting lost.
Fortunately for us, smartphone apps can eliminate nearly every one of those worries. Here are nine apps you should install before heading on an international trip.
1. Google Maps
Google Maps comes with a host of traveling features you can utilize for a smoother experience. But the one you should definitely not miss is offline navigation. To ensure you can get around no matter what, download the area’s maps offline. This allows you to look up attractions, hotels, or anything else—even if you lose access to the internet.
To grab a location’s offline maps, fire up the Google Maps app on your phone and search for the place you’re headed to. In its information card, you’ll find an option labeled Download. Hit that, select the area to download, and tap Download again to save it.
Flyright is a handy app that quickly tells you all the essentials of traveling to a foreign city, based on your current location. This includes details such as whether you need a visa, which diseases are common and if you need a vaccine, the currency exchange rate, and more.
In addition, you can save this information offline for times when you don’t have access to the internet.
Download: Flyright for iOS | Android (Free)
Polarsteps is an app designed for travelers. It’s capable of automatically tracking your trips and logging them in a visually appealing way. When you’re about to embark on a vacation, just add a new entry and Polarsteps will do the rest in the background. You can also manually modify these trips and even add pictures, descriptions, and more.
Polarsteps is also a social platform, so you can share these journeys with others and have friends follow your trips. The developer behind Polarsteps also mentions that the app only consumes an additional four percent of your phone’s battery. This is quite commendable, considering it’s constantly active in the background.
Another important travel aspect that Polarsteps nails is connectivity. The app can function offline and syncs its data as soon as you’re back online.
4. Google Translate
You can get around a new city with Google Maps. But to blend into the culture, you need to be able to interact in the local language. For that, we recommend grabbing Google Translate before embarking on your trip.
The biggest highlight of having Google Translate in your arsenal is that you can download translations for offline use. Plus, it has a conversation mode through which you can easily interact with a person speaking another language. Translate has a whole bunch of other nifty features, such as a Phrasebook where you can bookmark common phrases, image recognition, and more.
Coincalc is a quick way for you to convert values in different currencies. The app offers a modern, straightforward interface without any clutter. What’s more, you can pin a big calculator widget on your home screen to perform conversations in a jiffy.
Coincalc is even compatible with cryptocurrencies; you can configure multiple options. But for that and a few other utilities, you’ll have to upgrade to the premium version.
Download: Coincalc for Android (Free, premium version available)
Touring another country also means a lot of expenses you need to keep track of. The best app to do this is TravelSpend.
Apart from letting you log all your purchases and expenditures, TravelSpend comes with other helpful features. These include the ability to collaborate with other travelers on the same trip as you, specific spending categories, automatic currency conversions, and a comprehensive statistics page.
There’s also an option to configure the budget and plan expenses accordingly. TravelSpend even syncs with the cloud so if you switch phones, you won’t lose data. Upgrading to the Pro version gives you access an ad-free interface, credit card spending, and more.
At some point during your trip, you’ll probably have extra time to spend in an airport. Instead of wasting time on your phone, why not download FLIO and explore the airport?
Through FLIO, you can browse nearly every aspect of the airport you’re stuck at. Whether it’s finding the best coffee shops or getting to your flight’s gate, FLIO has you covered. You can even buy lounge access straight from the app and score a few discounts if you’re lucky. FLIO can also show the airport’s timetable and map.
8. Google Trips
Think of Google Trips as an all-purpose tool for trip planning. The app does everything, from letting you download your reservations to helping you plan every day of your vacation. On top of that, if you’re a Gmail user, Google Trips can surface all bookings and build trips for you to get started automatically.
In addition, you can share these trips with others and even combine several of them, if Google’s algorithms somehow couldn’t figure it out.
Download: Google Trips for iOS | Android (Free)
Air travel isn’t the ideal mean of transportation for every trip. Taking a bus or a ferry can save you money, and in some cases, time as well. To know which one’s the best for your specific journey, try an app called Rome2rio.
Rome2rio lists all the available ways to reach your destination, including driving. The app also tells you how much each method costs and which one is quickest. It also offers combinations, so you can mix and match to find the most efficient travel route.