16 Travel Apps We Use Every Vacation | Tech US News

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When we got married over 40 years ago, the internet didn’t exist and smartphones were confined to the realm of science fiction. So when we travelled, we had to rely on paper maps and guidebooks of our destinations.

Over the intervening years, smartphones have become a part of our reality and become indispensable travel tools that we rely on for trip planning, destination details, accommodation booking and itinerary changes based on of changing circumstances. .

Today, there are so many smart and useful smartphone apps that it is impossible to cover all the ones we use, so we will share some of our favorite and most used apps. We work exclusively with Apple devices due to their instant accessibility for blind and visually impaired people. Many of the apps we’ve mentioned here are available for Android devices, but we’re not familiar with apps on this platform.

1. Travel smart

When we travel abroad, we need to know that if we need medical care we have adequate health insurance. We bought an annual Allianz plan that covers us both. The complaints we had to make were dealt with efficiently.

2. AirMed

Fortunately, we’ve never needed medical evacuation, but we have a friend who used AirMed service when his wife broke her hip in Costa Rica. AirMed handled everything that involved a transfer to a US hospital

3. SmartTraveler

The U.S. Department of State’s SmartTraveler is an essential app that we consult before traveling abroad and sometimes while on the go, as it provides critical information about visas, safety and security, local laws, and how to contact the embassy or nearest consulate in case of emergency. .

Pro tip: You can use this app to confirm that you can legally bring your medicine (including prescription medicine) into the countries you are visiting.

4. Waze

Many rental cars today have onboard navigation systems. The problem is that every make of vehicle is different and can be tricky to program, especially if you have to use your non-dominant hand to write on the screen. When renting cars in Europe, the navigation system is set to the native language, so we rely exclusively on a smartphone for navigation.

Our app of choice is Waze, which actually uses Google Maps as a base, but is crowdsourced for real-time changes in road conditions. A disadvantage is that if the cell signal is lost, the mapping capability is also lost.

Pro tip: When traveling outside the US, it’s best to change your SIM card to a local SIM card. Using your US SIM card in another country can be expensive.

5. Rome2Rio

With Rome2Rio, you enter a starting point and a destination, and the app offers recommendations on different forms of transportation that connect the two locations. For example, we were in Sicily the night we heard Italy was closing its borders due to COVID. We use Rome2Rio to view departure destinations in Europe and to identify the airlines serving each city and the expected price range.

Pro tip: Download apps for the airlines you can use on your trip. They definitely helped during our evacuation from Italy by allowing us to check on several budget airlines flying from Sicily.

6. FlixBus

Moving between countries In Europe, we often travel by land because it’s usually cheaper than flying and you can see the changing scenery along the way. One-way car hire is not practical, so we use FlixBus due to their extensive network and reliability.

7. Train line

We use trains much less than buses, but when we choose this mode of transport we use Trainline to find approximate times and prices. You can also make a reservation through this application, but we prefer to go to the station to confirm times, prices and the need to reserve seats.

Pro tip: We add metro and/or local bus apps as we travel to new cities.

8. Booking.com

We make many of our accommodation arrangements through Booking.com before departure, but sometimes plans are more fluid or we need to make last minute changes. An example is not being able to negotiate several flights of stairs with a broken ankle.

Pro tip: We sometimes look for alternative deals through hotels.com, Airbnb and Hotel Tonight.

9. NPS application

If you are a devotee of the National Park System in the US, they have a great app (NPS) where you can get information about many, if not all, of the national parks. We use this app to search for information by several different criteria, including status and available facilities. In addition to providing basic information, there are self-guided tours of many sites.

10. Rick Steve’s Europe

This app has an extensive list of self-guided tours in cities and towns across Europe. We used them in Florence and Venice and really appreciated the detail provided.

11. Get your guide

The Get Your Guide app is a great source for finding guides that fit the type of walking or driving tour you’re looking for. Each one establishes its own itinerary and the associated cost.

Pro tip: Many cities are now developing their own walking or driving apps that show the highlights of their downtown or suburban areas. The VisitJax app for Jacksonville, Florida is just one example. Check the local tourist office website to see if your chosen city has an app.

12. GE

When traveling outside the US In the U.S., it’s important to understand how much things cost, so having an app that does currency conversion is essential. We use XE to help with this, but due to exchange rates and fees, the final amount you pay may vary slightly from other currency conversion apps.

Pro tip: Download apps for each of your credit cards and your bank to track charges and, if necessary, pay bills online.

13. Global Tips

Tipping customs vary in different countries, so. We use this application to ensure that we conform to local customs as much as possible.

14. NordVPN

We strongly advise against using public Wi-Fi, especially when conducting financial transactions. Using your phone’s data plan is much safer. For an added level of security, we highly recommend using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) application that anonymizes your connection and significantly reduces the risk of being hacked. There are free VPN apps, but we use NordVPN, a subscription that allows multiple devices for one price.

15. Speak and translate

When you travel, the ability to communicate is essential, but there are times when you won’t find someone who speaks any of the languages ​​you know. When we were in China, a hotel employee introduced us to the concept of using a translation app. You select your native language and the other party’s language, then ask your question verbally in the app and it provides an immediate translation both verbally and in the local script.

Pro tip: We also use Google Translate in China to verify translations.

16. WhatsApp

To be able to communicate with friends and family during international travel, we use WhatsApp as an effective tool for video calls, voice calls, and text messages using Wi-Fi and/or our data plan. The other party must also have the app on their smartphone.

Pro tip: The time to test how it works is before you leave the house.

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