9 Essential Travel Apps

If you’re like me, you sure want to be organized with your planning and have all the practical information handy way before you land in a new country.

I travel best when i know i’m in control of things. I remember back in those days i had to prepare and print my travel checklist and documents in hardcopies before taking off. Nowadays, you no longer need to do that, thanks to hundreds or even thousands of apps that come in handy for you. During the planning phase, and while in the midst of taking time off, you can rely on a number of excellent apps, websites, and services that can help put your mind at ease about your holiday.

We’re going to skip over obvious ones like Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Foursquare, Instagram, Google Earth/Maps, as worthy as they are, for ones you may have overlooked, but shouldn’t.

Here are the 9 essential travel apps and services that I use:

This should be my favourite app for my travels. I use Path like a personal journal recording my travel itinerary. It comes with powerful sharing features. It is more personal than your ordinary social media apps like Facebook. The service allows users to share with their close friends and family up to a total of 150 contacts. You can optionally choose to have your Path updated with stories about your life automatically. For example, Path updates whenever you spend time in a new neighborhood or if you travel to a new city, Path lets your loved ones know. Path is now a journal that writes itself. Less effort from you, more stories in your Path.

TripAdvisor is arguably the web’s largest repository of hotel and destination reviews, ratings, photos, and other information. It’s a fantastic resource for travellers of all stripes, and the fact that it’s great for finding new and interesting destinations as well as figuring out what to do when you’re in a given place. Of course, if you know you want to go to a specific place but don’t know how to get there, where to stay, or what to do, TripAdvisor will help walk you through that process as well. Just tell it where you want to go and when, and it’ll help you find hotel rooms, flights, and so on. It’ll even keep all of those confirmations organized in your account for easy reference later. It’s packed with travel tips and tricks from experts, business travellers, and enthusiasts.

TripCase gives you an easy to use interface on your mobile devices to add your flight, train, hotel, rental car, and other information, or you can send all of your confirmations directly over to TripCase and have them automatically organized for you. From there, you have the option to view your trip in the timeline-based “itinerary” view, where you see each step of your trip laid out in front of you along with relevant times and places for each, or the “action” view, which adds more detail for each step of the way and shows you important information for each leg, like flight alerts and other notifications. It’s a useful app to share with your loved ones as they will also be notified if your flight has been delayed.

Few companies bust language barriers better than Google, and the Google Translate app does this exceptionally well. Like the Google Translate web service, you can translate pieces of text with ease. Of course the accuracy is not always perfect, but it’s about as good as it gets. But where the app excels is in voice recognition. It allows you to speak in English (or another language) and it will translate what you said into the language of your choice. If you’ve ever had difficulty making yourself understood to a speaker of a foreign language, then this free app will certainly help.

I don’t know about you guys but i do rent a car to drive around when i travel, especially in America. This app gets drivers together to provide live traffic updates on jams, police traps, accidents and other hazards. It comes in handy especially if you are in America as the app also helps you to compare oil prices of the gas stations along your routes or around you. Waze has partnered with a few gas stations to provide discounts through digital coupons on the app. The app is functional over 100 countries including America, Europe, Asia, etc.

This app could be useful to you if you prefer taking a cab instead of driving a car. I don’t always use Uber but the times I have, it’s been great. Sometimes it’s just helpful to know when a car service is coming instead of trying to hail a cab. Like when you’re at a bar super drunk with your friends and you just want to get back to hotel safely. Plus, you get a choice of cars between something luxurious ride like an SUV sort or an eco-friendly Prius. The choice is yours. It’s cool…

When it comes to photo editing, there are plenty of available options out there. You may have your own preference and reasons for using a particular photo editing app. It’s fine and all you need is one reliable app that you will be using to edit your lovely photos and you are ready to go. In my case, Snapseed is my favorite app for advanced editing like sharpening, contrast and adjusting shadows/highlights. It also has some great photo filters- the HDR Scape is particularly great!

We all love to text and we don’t like to pay a premium for texting overseas. That is where WhatsApp Messenger comes in. The service offers free texting and video messaging anywhere in the world with a WiFi or 3G connection. The best part? WhatsApp uses the phone numbers in your address book to locate friends to make things extra easy on you. I like to use this app because of the ability to host group conversations. This is incredibly useful if you want to, say, create a group conversation for those you are travelling with or your loved ones back home.

It’s a free app and handy when you’re traveling to a foreign destination and need to figure out how much you’re spending. I love this. When I was on my round the world trip I needed to figure out how much I was doling out in Dongs, Rupiah, and Pounds and if some vendor was trying to rip me off. Apart from just an accurate currency conversion app, it provides the historic rates for the currency. You can monitor different currencies simultaneously and rate the highs and lows of the currency before even planning the trip. It can be used offline.

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