Stacy writes: “I recently received the 40,000 bonus miles from the US Airways card you recommended and am planning a trip to Europe this summer using the bonus! Thanks! You talk a lot about using your smart phone for different things while you travel. What are your favorite apps?”
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while because my smartphone (an unlocked 64 GB iPhone 5S) is so important to me when I travel. I often joke that whenever I start to worry if I have everything before a trip, I say “iPhone, Macbook AIr, Passport.” As long as I have those three everything else I can buy / replace on the trip. These are my favorite apps and 9 out of 11 are completely free! (the other two are just $1.99 and $4.99 so they won’t really break the bank.) These all make my travel experience less frustrating and more rewarding.
Awardwallet keeps track of all of my frequent flyer and loyalty accounts so I always have my number handy (no more of those plastic cards cluttering my wallet!) and keeps track of my balances and when miles are expiring so I can do something about it before they do. This is the second item in our Getting Started program, and there is a code in that article for a free 6 month upgrade to AwardWallet Plus, so check it out! Seriously. Get this!
AwardWallet on IOS
This app converts anything to anything! I use it most often for currency conversions and it downloads updated currency tables whenever it starts if you have a data connection. But if not, it uses whatever the last rate you downloaded was. Useful when you are trying to figure out the price of gas in other parts of the world (Liters what?) or temperature (I’m so American LOL)
I don’t think this is released on Android but if anyone knows a similar one that they have experience with, leave a comment below and I will add it.
3. Google Translate
I use this all, all, all the time. You do need a data connection, but it is invaluable to me. This app is a front end for the Google Translate web page. It isn’t perfect, but it is good enough.
4. World Travel Guide Offline
Probably my most important app when it comes to enjoying my trips. It has awesome recommendations for every city in the world for places to eat, things to do and see, how to get to the city from the airport and so much more. And it is all offline and downloaded to your phone so you can access it when you are on a plane or when you don’t have a data connection. It is an offline version of a lot of the wikitravel site which is awesome. This one is $4.99 but I would pay $49.99 for it!
I use this app most of the time to price out airline tickets that I can’t use miles for but it can be useful for hotels as well.
I use this app when I want to look at picturess of a hotel and read reviews before I decide to book (either for paid stays or for miles).
7. Google Maps
I use the built in Apple Maps most of the time since it is more convenient especially with Siri, but for public transportation such as trains, subways, and buses, Google Maps is the king!
You think Google maps is the best until you travel to Central America such as Panama or Costa Rica. Waze maps are much more accurate in places where Google Maps hasn’t driven their cars around. And you will really appreciate the crowd sourced traffic routing that it has when you are stuck in the legendary traffic of Panama City!
Uber is a taxi alternative in major cities around the world and it makes sure you avoid the sometimes horrible experience of hailing a cab in some cities. No stinky cab drivers talking away on their phone, long hauling you, and talking on their phones here. Professional drivers with clean cars at similar rates to the taxis is the way to go. I have a promotional link that will give you $30 in free credit, so click on this link and sign up first then download the app to get free credit
This app is so useful not just for video chatting with friends and family, but also for calling your credit cards if there is a problem since toll free calls are completely free even using audio only.
When you meet people from around the world, whatsapp is how they communicate since you can send messages without paying expensive international SMS and MMS rates no matter what country you are from. $1.99 but worth it!
There you have our top 11 smartphone apps that we can’t live without! Do you have another travel app that you love? Tell us in the comments below!