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TRAVEL TIPS & INTEL

8 Free Smartphone Apps You Need When You Travel

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Chris Osburn
Written by Chris Osburn

Check out this octet of free-to-download apps for iPhone and Android devices that everyone should have on their phone when they travel. Sure, there are loads of other handy apps out there for when you’re on the go (we thought about including Uber and Netflix) but only went with these eight because they are genuinely free to use and should apply to helping get you where you need to go with minimal stress.

Citymapper

Dubbed the “ultimate transport app,” Citymapper provides up-to-date accurate journey planning for nearly 40 major cities in the United States and around the world via public transportation. It’s intuitive and designed to provide answers quickly. You don’t necessarily need to know specific addresses; nearby landmarks or places of business tend to do the trick. One destination where the app is most prominent is London, where Citymapper has recently launched its own night bus. You can download the app for free on both Apple and Android.

Using phone at night

Google Maps

As awesome as Citymapper is, it can only help out in a limited number of big cities. For getting around outside of those cities, and for everywhere else on the planet, there’s Google Maps, which is available on Apple and Android. Google Maps is also handy for driving directions and traveling between different cities on multi-stop itineraries.

Google Translate

There are a bunch of quality translator apps on the market, but Google’s offering is just as good as most. It’s easy to use, has a broad range of languages, and can usually figure out what you mean, and even detect a language if you spell something out phonetically or close enough to how the word is actually spelled. So whether you’re using an Apple or an Android phone, there’ll never be much that’s lost in translation!

Youngt travelers using phone

Tripit

Tripit helps you manage your trip by organizing all your travel plans into one easy-to-access master itinerary. Basically, all you have to do is forward your booking confirmation emails to the app and Tripit, be it on Apple and Android, does the rest with updates and relevant info pinged to you when you need it. It’s even available when you’re offline, and there’s a pro version available too.

The Weather Channel

Plenty of other weather apps exist, but for a good idea of conditions where you are and where you’re going (and back home while you’re away), The Weather Channel’s app gives reliable forecasts and real-time weather updates in a simple format. The app is available for Apple and Android.

Island traveler checking his phone

WhatsApp

If you’re traveling internationally, this free-to-download instant messaging app can turn out to be indispensable for keeping in touch for free. Used over the internet, WhatsApp is ideal for making voice and video calls, and sending images, audio, and video to anyone else with a WhatsApp account, on both Apple and Android devices. You do have to watch out though: some countries like China and the United Arab Emirates do restrict or completely ban usage of the app.

XE Currency

The XE Currency app enables travelers to “convert every currency on-the-go” by offering “live proprietary exchange rates and historical charts” to make calculating prices and exchange rates fast and hassle-free. The app has seen more than 25 million downloads since its release. XE Currency is available for Apple and Android.

Got an app you can’t do without? Share your best tips for top travel apps in the comments section below.

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About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.

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