Our family of four loves traveling abroad and as a Mom, I’m always looking for tools and solutions to make our travels easier and smoother and our experiences more memorable. I often turn to apps on my iPhone as a cheap (often free, actually) and easy resource. Here is a sampling of my favorite ones when it comes to traveling internationally.
Free Travel Apps
In case you are not already familiar with it, this is a very useful tool for planning your trip or looking for great ideas while traveling. Utilizing a vast pool of reviews and opinions (75+ million!) from fellow travellers, this app makes it easy to find the best hotels, restaurants or fun things to do. The flight search function helps you find and book airfare deals, but you can also make hotel and restaurant reservations. You can search by price, location or rating and in case you have a specific question, you are able to post it in a forum to get the inside scoop. A must have for any family Travel Director!
TripIt Travel Organizer
Helps you store and access your travel itinerary in one place for peace of mind when traveling. Forward your confirmation emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and they are instantly recognized and saved to an itinerary on your iPhone or your iPad. A 2011 “Best Travel Mobile App” Webby Award winner.
A must-have for quick communication with your friends and family while you are abroad! This app lets you message other smart phone users, who also have the app, from anywhere in the world – for free! Perfect for sending a quick text that you arrived as planned, sending a picture to family members left behind to show them how much fun you are having on your trip, or even finding members of your party in the crowded Louvre Museum.
This one probably needs no introduction. It is most known for enabling free video calling, but you can also use it for free instant messaging or voice calling.
Ever found yourself in a foreign country, unable to speak the language and trying to get around to experience the local scene? This app helps you translate words and phrases between more than 60 languages. For most languages it even allows you to speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translations. Worried about cell reception? Look up useful phrases before you leave your hotel and you can access them later, offline. Voila!
Easily convert every world currency whether you are shopping at the elegant stores in Milano or bargaining for a deal on a souvenir on a beach in Mexico. In addition to the converter, the app has live currency rates and charts, which refresh every minute, but the latest updates are stored so you can access them later with no internet connection.
Free Wi-Fi Finder
Helps you instantly find FREE Wi-Fi internet hotspots wherever you are in the world, online or… offline, as is often the case when you are actually looking for an internet connection! Need I say more?
Inexpensive Travel Apps
World Countries ($0.99)
Looking to learn more about the country you are visiting? This great app, actually 19 geographic apps in one, will come very handy! Use it to find all kinds of interesting and useful facts about any of the world’s countries (its capital, population, currency, time zones, calling code, major holiday and much more), maps (current and historical), pictures and lists of famous places. To help you kill time on the plane or relax at your hotel, there are even geography related games such as Guess the Flags or Flags Memory Match.
Local Eats ($0.99)
This Travel & Leisure recommended app lets you type in the city and type of cuisine you are after and then instantly filters results to best match what you are looking for. You can also find menus, book reservation or even a taxi. The only limitation is that the app is limited to major cities.
City Maps 2Go ($1.99)
Can you imagine traveling without great maps? How convenient to have them on your iPhone or iPad vs. the large and vulnerable paper form. This map app allows you to download 7,800 world maps. No network or WiFi required!
FlightTrack – Live Flight Status Tracker by Mobiata ($4.99)
It might seem a bit pricey compared to the three listed above, but this very useful app lets you check flight status, gate information, flight delays or cancellations and more – for over 1,400 international airlines. The flight sharing email lets your friends and family track your flight online. If you upgrade to FlightTrack Pro ($9.99), you can also sync your TripIt itineraries and receive push alerts on delays and flight changes.