What if Amelia Earhart had used GoogleMaps or Christopher Columbus had checked in on FourSquare? Things may have turned out a bit different for both. Travel often results in amazing discoveries, but with that comes a few unknowns. Luckily, there’s an app (or two) for that. So, here’s the latest list of our favorite travel apps to enhance your adventures abroad.
1. Text for free
Texting outside the U.S. can be pricey. Now, thanks to WhatsApp Messenger, you can text anyone, anywhere, for absolutely nothing. As long as you and the person you’re texting download the app, you can text, send photos and stay connected—for free.
Cost: free the first year, $0.99 after
2. Know when to go
Flight delays, gate changes and cancellations happen with little warning, but apps that keep you updated tend to add up quickly. Stay in the know without breaking the bank and download Flight+. You’ll have access to every airport in the world with accurate display times for arrivals and departures.
3. Eat like a local
Exploring new cuisine is one of the best parts of travel. Avoid international food chains and tourist traps with the LocalEats app. You can search by city or select “Nearby” for a list of local hotspots, menus and recommendations.
Public transit is an economical way to explore a new city and get a taste of the culture—unless you spend your trip trying to figure it out. Move around any city like a pro with MetrO. You’ll find the shortest routes and maps for more than 400 cities worldwide.
5. Make cents of exchange rates
No matter where you go, you’re bound to be exchanging currency with locals. Save time and sanity trying to figure out the conversion rates with the XE Currency app. It calculates dollar values instantly with real-time exchange rates.
6. Know where to go
Get from A to B without the hassle of locating Wi-Fi, paying roaming charges or waiting out slow connections. City Maps 2Go lets you access maps to more than 7,000 cities in the world.
7. Skype on a dime
See the faces you miss most—without paying an arm and a leg. Now, you can Skype and pay as you go with Skype Access, so you’re only charged for what you use instead of by the hour.
Cost: pay as you go
8. Handle jet lag with eaZzzzz
Avoid the pitfalls of jet lag (fatigue, confusion, cranky pants) with JetLag Genie. Just enter your flight info and sleep patterns, and it will recommend when you should sleep to avoid or minimize jet lag.
9. Look good in every country
Currency isn’t the only thing you’ll need to convert with international travel. Clothing sizes vary from country to country. Simplify your shopping trips with the Convert Clothes app. From hats to shoes, you’ll find your size no matter where you are in the world.
10. Tip like a pro
When you travel, you’re a guest in the country you visit—so it’s important to respect the rules and customs. Tipping is one those variables, and every country has different guidelines. Avoid an awkward encounter or offending your server with the TippingBird app. You’ll find countries, services, recommended tips and currency converters—all at your finger … well, tips.
And remember, when in doubt connect with free Wi-Fi while on tour to avoid expensive roaming charges. Be sure to check your data plan with your mobile provider before you go.
Laura Hearn / Google+