This article was submitted by Goats On The Road, a website aimed at teaching others to turn travel into a lifestyle. Check them out to learn how to start a travel blog and how to make money on the road so you can travel indefinitely.
With all of the information available on the internet, the way we travel is undoubtedly changing- especially since many people have replaced a traditional guidebook with their smartphone. Whether you decide to use a SIM card or not, there are several apps out there that can greatly improve the way you travel. Be sure to download these before you take off on your next trip!
This app is especially helpful when you're trying to navigate through a foreign country, since it has map and GPS functions that can be used while your phone is offline. You can use the app to see your current location, search directions to get you from a to b, save favorite locations, and search for an address. Be sure to download the map before you go—or when you have an internet connection.
Pros: This can be a helpful tool for a road trip in a foreign country, or for just exploring a new city by foot. You may even want to start using this app while you're at home to save your precious data for something else! It's also completely free to use and download maps.
Cons: Not all businesses are included in the map. So, while you're able to search for your favorite coffee shop with Google Maps or an internet-based map, maps.me won't have this data stored on your phone. You'll need to have the actual street address to get where you want to go.
The map does include some popular destinations, but it's better not to rely on this function. When you download the map for a country it will take up some space on your phone, so if you don't have much storage, you may run into some problems using the app.
If you're hoping to brush up on your language skills before or during your trip, this interactive app provides a way to get some practice in so you feel more confident communicating in a foreign language. Select the language you're trying to learn or practice and you can take a test to determine your level, and then get started working on the lessons.
Pros: Duolingo offers nearly all the major world languages as well as some minor languages. You can easily learn the basics, and it will help you practice your listening comprehension, as well as your pronunciation.
There's also the option to use a "silent mode" when you're in public so you can avoid the exercises that have you talk out loud, saving those for the privacy of your own home.
Cons: You can't customize the lessons to focus on your specific interests. For instance, you will learn how to say "apple" in the first level of the Italian language courses when you really want to learn travel vocabulary!
Duolingo seems to work better for beginners; once you have a higher level in a language, the app isn't as valuable in helping you perfect your grammar.
Now that smartphones take such beautiful photos, you'll probably find yourself taking at least a few shots on your phone throughout your trip, if just for the ease of being able to share them with loved ones at home. Snapseed is an easy-to-use (and free!) photo editor for your photos.
Pros: You can make all kinds of adjustments to your pictures, like changing the brightness or exposure. Snapseed also allows you to rotate, crop, and fix things like red-eye.
Cons: Photo editing on your phone is still an inexact science. Since your screen is probably relatively small, it can be hard to make precision edits, but it is good in a pinch.
Not sure you're prepped and ready for your trip? Check out this travel doctor's health and safety advice!
This app doubles as a portable travel guide and map. It also includes your local weather and a handy offline feature once you've downloaded the city or region that you're visiting. It includes a "see and do" section as well as tools for booking hotels and converting currency.
Pros: When you're using Triposo in map mode, you can see restaurants and cafés that are nearby, with reviews and ratings as well as a short description of the type of food offered by each. You can also browse short articles that talk about food, sites to see, and history, depending on your interests.
The mini guides are short and informative articles that are easy reading on the go; you can easily star them to compile a 'to do' list for your trip right on your phone, with lots of useful details.
Cons: Since you will most likely want to download guides so you can use them offline, you'll have to take into account how much space they will take up to store on your phone.
Be Smart With Your Smartphone!
Your smartphone can be a really useful travel tool, helping you plan your trip and get the most out of it while you're on the road. Just don't forget to put it down from time to time, since one of the best parts of traveling is disconnecting from the humdrum of everyday life—your phone included!