In the past two months, I’ve accumulated quite a few apps on my phone. Some I keep, a lot I delete. But the majority of what I search for, are the best apps for travelers. I am always looking for apps that simplify, and automate, to make our lives easier while traveling. Especially when wifi and data is unreliable. So I wanted to put together a short list of some of the best apps for travelers. And to share with you what I’ve found to be reliable so far.
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Now some of these require an internet connection, but not all do. I’ve made a note under each app if it requires internet or not. When we travel, we always try to save as much of our pay-as-you-go data as possible by staying on airplane mode when we do not need data, if there is no wifi. There are a lot of great apps for travelers out there, and I will update this list as I discover more!
Travel pro tip:
Unlock your phone. Pay the $75 or whatever it is to have your phone unlocked. You can do this super easily by just calling your mobile plan provider, and ask them to unlock it for you. No need to leave it with the guy at a sketchy phone repair shop, who will keep it for up to a week. It might be cheaper to do that, but you can have your phone unlocked, and your mind at ease by going through your mobile plan provider. Just tell them you are going on vacation and will need to get a local pay as you go sim card.
By doing this, you can get a pay as you go sim card from anywhere in the world. Ask your provider about pausing your plan during your travels as well. Especially if you plan on going for an extended period of time. I did this and they took my $100+ monthly bill down to $30, and “paused” until I came back. But if you have a Google phone, you don’t have to worry about unlocking your phone. They’re already unlocked to begin with.
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Best Apps for Travelers
Requires internet: Yes
This app is fantastic for planning your flights. You plug in your dates, destination and origin, and it will tell you whether a flight is worth buying now, or waiting. I love that it gives you exact dates of when flights are expected to rise or drop, and by how much! You can “watch” a specific flight, so you get notifications of changes or predictions. If your schedule allows, you can search a flight and look at prices of the same flight on different days. It will show you months in advanced what the current price is, so you can compare different days!
Requires internet: Yes
Skyscanner is an awesome app for checking for cheap flights. We’ve been using it to check flights out of San Jose so we can go on a visa run in July. What is cool about this app and different from most, is that you can search by airport for the cheapest flights to anywhere in the world. Simply enter in your city (to search all airports near you), or a specific airport, and press explore destinations. It will ask you for dates, you can chose anytime, a specific month, or specific dates, and it will bring up all the cheapest flights in that search. We’ve been looking at cheap flights to Peru, Panama or even Cuba. Who knows, you might end up taking a lot more last minute weekend getaways when you see a hot deal on the app!
Requires Internet: No
This is a no brainer for sure but is by far one of my favorite apps for travelers. But foolishly Brett and I went to Cuba without it, and seriously struggled. Neither of us is confident in trying to communicate in Spanish. No matter how comfortable we think we are with a few phrases under our belts, we both tend to freeze up when the time comes to test out our Duolingo skills. Google Translate is amazing because it will translate from any language to any language, and speak it out loud to you. It also has the option for you to speak into the microphone and have it translate out loud in the language you want. We have had one or two experiences with someone who couldn’t speak English, or should I say, we couldn’t speak Spanish. This feature allowed us to communicate completely by taking turns and speaking into the microphone.
It also has a really cool feature where you can take a photo of something, and it will translate all the text for you. One thing I cannot stress enough is, you cannot learn a language using Google translate. It is often a direct translation, so it’s not always going to know slang, or how to correctly form a phrase. Someone I know likes to do this. I however, continue practicing on Duolingo, and ask whoever I’m trying to talk to, if I’ve said it correctly. The great thing is, at least in Costa Rica, everyone is so happy that you are even trying to learn their language. They are willing to help you. And best of all, this app is completely accessible offline, which means you don’t need wifi or even data to access the translator.
Requires internet: yes
Waze is an one of those awesome apps for travelers who are driving in a foreign country. We used it on our road trip from Tamarindo to Limon. Think of it as an online community that updates the map in real-time. Tree fallen on the road? It can be updated by users to notify others that the road is blocked. You can get notifications of roadblocks, police, accidents, etc all sent to your phone. How many times has your map taken you down a dead-end road? Or the route that was suggested to you, turned out to be ridiculously inconvenient? Waze is constantly updated by users so you get the best route possible! You can also update gas prices to gas stations along your route, so others can get the best deal! What we love the most about this app is the voice navigation is editable. You can pick the voice that gives you directions! Our favorite? Boy band, obviously. It is also programmed in tons of languages, so this app is suitable for anyone!
7 Minute Workout
Requires internet: Yes
I love this fitness app on top of the other fitness apps I use. 7 Minute Workout provides several different mini workouts that you can do anywhere, and without equipment. This is great for when you’re in a hotel with no gym, or no place or time to go for a run. I like it simply because I like the idea that I can get an intense workout or two done in 7 minutes each. There are several different types of workouts, that focus on core, total body, legs, arms, etc, and it even offers a 30 day challenge. What is unique about this app, is it also offers a sleeping stretch routine to promote quality sleep. I love waking up in the morning before Jack & Brett wake up, having a glass of lemon water, putting the coffee on, and heading out onto the deck. First to stretch in the morning sun, and then to do my quick 7 Minute Workout. And by the time I’m done, coffee is ready. I feel so much better getting this routine done in the morning, and so quickly too! Maybe it’s because I’m out of shape since we came to Costa Rica, but I always hurting the next day!
Candy Crush Requires
I see you laughing. Candy Crush? On a list of apps for travelers?! Have you ever been in line, waiting at the airport, on a plane, bus, or anywhere else, when you are without wifi or data? If you’re not prepared with a book, or someone to chat with, chances are you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs. I always have all 3 Candy Crush games on my phone, because they are all accessible on airplane mode.
I’ve been in countless situations where I’ve just wanted something mindless to do. Such as while on a 4 hour flight, no book, and a sleeping husband and baby next to me. I also try to catch up on sleep, or get a bit of writing done in Google Docs. But sometimes it’s nice just to crush some candy for 30 minutes to kill some time. Also, if you have children this is even better to pass off to them. Adults can (hopefully) sit still for long periods of time with minimal distraction. A child on the other hand cannot. Unless you have a movie or two downloaded on your iPad, in which case go you super-parent! Otherwise, having Candy Crush to entertain a child for a bit is a God send. And I speak from experience. Yes, our 6 month old loves candy crush. Obviously he doesn’t play it. But he loves watching us play it, and it will calm him down from hysteria in seconds.
What are some of your favorite apps for travelers? I am always searching for offline apps in particular! Let me know in the comments!
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