There are so many travel apps available today. It seems like people keep developing more and more solutions to problems I have never heard of. It can be overwhelming.
I’ve found that organizing my apps into two folders, “Travel” & “To Be Tested,” makes finding what works and what doesn’t a lot easier. If there’s a free app that sounds interesting but may or may not be worth my while, I’ll put it in the “To Be Tested,” folder and and then see what works.
Here are five travel apps that I do not leave home without:
- A Currency Converter I prefer XE.com
Shopping can be a big part of traveling and haggling is part of the experience in a lot of markets around the world. It’s social and often part of the culture so it’s a good idea to be able to calculate the value of what you’re trying to buy in your home currency. Knowing that 848 Thai Baht is only $25 U.S. dollars is pretty helpful.
2. Google Translate
I was so impressed by the camera function of Google Translate when I was backpacking in Mexico. If Wi-Fi was available, I could turn on the camera and have a menu instantly translated from Spanish to English. Never order the wrong thing again! If you have any food allergies, having Google translate that into the native language is important. This is just once great ways to use this app.
3. Spotify (or your music app of choice)
There’s nothing better to pass the time in a plane, train or automobile than to put some music on and watch the scenery go by. Don’t forget to download your favorite podcasts and albums when you have access to the internet. A lot of travel time is spent disconnected so be prepared. I also recommend getting a headphone splitter to be able to share your music or Netflix movie with a friend.
I’m still on the fence about Hopper when it comes to predicting the future. However, airlines have been doing business online long enough that Hopper had enough data to create a system to be able to guess when airfares will rise and fall. As a travel professional, I’ve found Hopper to be a great tool for looking at the differences between high-season and low-season prices on one simple screen to see if and when you should travel.
5. Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp
Do NOT text message from a foreign country. That is the quickest way to run up your phone bill without noticing. My phone goes into Airplane mode from the moment I leave the country until the moment I get back. Using Facebook Messenger (U.S.) or WhatsApp (Intl.) seems to be the simplest way to keep in touch with friends and family back home.
The little computers we carry in our pockets can be valuable tools for enhancing a travel experience. Just remember to enjoy the moment #IRL (in real life) and not just through your screen.
Staci Lichterman, founder of Pop Culture Travel has more than 14 years of experience in the travel and hospitality industry. Lichterman was ranked as one of the top-ten agents at American Express travel and has received sales recognition from other luxury brands. Lichterman, a passionate traveler, experienced event planner and customer service guru founded Pop Culture Travel to help take the confusion and hassle out of planning a trip. For more information visit popculturetravel.com/