You can use these either domestically, or abroad, I just wanted to focus on the ones I like to use abroad because everything takes more time to plan, and……..
Planning a vacation is hard enough. It takes a lot of research, budgeting, planing, packing, and finally pulling the trigger, and walking out that door on your journey! So, unless you pay for an expensive travel agent who does the planning for you, the whole process can be intimidating. Even then, when arriving at your destination, you are normally on your own. Free to make up your own mind about where to go and what to do. These apps will hopefully help your trip go a bit more smoothly, so you can maximize your time while away, and enjoy every moment of your well planned trip. You earned it!
Tripit- This app allows you to sync your plans directly onto your phone. It provides the dates for who you are meeting, where, what time, locations, flight schedules and everything in between. It was a life saver when I forgot which flight number I was connecting to, I simply opened it up and there it was. I suggest using it for road trips as well!
Google Goggles/Google Maps- Who needs to pay and book a tour guide? No longer do you have to pay to see the sites! You can make your own way, simply snap a picture of whatever is in front of you, a painting, building or some other site, and Google Goggles will scan it and bring up all of it’s history for you at the touch of your fingers! I loved this app. So many times I would wonder as I was walking by an old church, or forum site on my trips, and had no one to tell me the history. That is no longer the case! Take a walk by yourself and get lost, find a shady back street, and learn all the history around you. Hours can feel like minutes using this app.
Did you wander off the beaten path because you were exploring? Thinking to yourself, where the hell am I, and how am I getting back? Google Maps app is pretty standard to have, it helps navigate you on your way while on foot (which is usually the case overseas, so you can spend less time running in circles!) A good backup would be Mapquest (I always have two navigate apps on my phone, just in case the other doesn’t respond, plus a paper map!)
PS: Get yourself a damn good paper map while abroad. When driving it is essential! I never rely on satellite navigation while driving overseas, it always crap out, or takes you in the wrong direction. A very detailed paper map is best!!! The reason I use my phone navigation while walking is because it looks a lot less touristy, making you a less target for pickpockets. Holding a huge map while walking is like having a red beacon on your head that you are not from there.
Free Wifi Finder- Very important, especially for using google goggles since it must connect with the internet to get information. It will help you spot places where you can link for free to the internet based on signal strength, without using all your data package pricing. Just don’t forget to turn off your roaming!
Whatsapp – I actually learned about this app through a Roman I was staying with. Super easy to use. Whatsapp allows you to text or call others who also have the app downloaded for free. Since texting or calling abroad is very, very, expensive, this app was a life saver when I wanted to have a chat with someone, or shoot them a text. Doing it all without not having to worry about my rates for roaming. Easier on your bills when you get home!
Goby- Trying to find different events around you on vacation is sometimes tough, especially if you are in a foreign country. Picking up a newspaper that is in a different language is frustrating when you want to know what is happening nearby. Want to take in a local play? Or maybe there is a sporting match happening right next door to your hotel. Goby helps you find events, and doesn’t limit itself to which kinds. There are a ton of different options to search for, (Outdoor Recreation, Arts and Culture) just to name a few. What’s also cool about this app is that it isn’t limited to just finding an activity. You can also use Goby to plan a whole expedition around a particular happening, whether it’s a day trip or a weeklong vacation. I really enjoyed using it, it made my days a fun adventure!
YELP- This is my go to app when traveling domestic or abroad. Their nearby searching, and interactive map helps you find the best place in a pinch. They also started offering reservation bookings directly through the app, which makes booking that last minute table, that much easier. Keep an eye out for company deals like 15% offerings and 2 for 1 discounts through certain businesses. Bonus!