Heading abroad can be a great adventure, but if you don’t know the area from your armpit, if your grasp of the language is lacking that certain je ne sais quoi, or if your mental maths when converting currency leaves you in the red, then you might be happy to know there are plenty of mobile apps that can help you out. Thanks to modern gizmos and gadgets you can get information on pretty much anything you’d need to know whilst you’re abroad – language phrasebooks, maps, local attractions, transport, and all the rest.
There’s a huge range of choice in both free and payable Apple and Android apps, but we’ve found five of the handiest free ones to help you get your bearings and make the most of your time abroad.
There are many map apps on the market for both Android and iOs these days, but it’s hard to argue with the usability, scope and free price-tag of Google Maps, the most widely used map service available. The free Google Maps app lets you easily locate the places you’re looking for with the powerful search tool, and will give you easy-to-follow directions whether you’re driving, walking, or taking the bus, train or subway. If you’re driving you can also get voice-guided turn-by-turn directions like a satnav, and with the Street View feature you can see what the place looks like from the ground. It’s a very useful tool to have if you’re exploring unfamiliar territory, and it’s totally free, making it one of the best Android and Apple apps for navigation around.
Trip Advisor Hotels, Flights & Restaurants
Canny travellers are probably already familiar with Trip Advisor’s massive online collection of candid reviews, submitted by everyday users, on things like hotels, shops, tourist attractions and dining. Now you can see what people think of places to stay and eat while you’re on the go using the free Apple and Android app, and there’s useful features like easy booking of hotels and restaurants, and a Near Me Now button to quickly locate what’s in your immediate local area and find out what people say about them.
The XE Currency app lets you keep track of every world currency rate in easily understood figures and graphs, using the figures from XE.com Inc., one of the world’s most popular and widely trusted foreign exchange companies. You can easily check prices using the currency converter tool, which you can also use offline, so you needn’t worry about a hiccup with your internet leaving you helpless. The rates can be updated every minute, as often as you like, and you can update them yourself by just shaking your phone. It’s an easy and reliable way to get a real feel for the prices you’re paying, so you know when you’re getting a bargain and when you’re paying a little more than might be reasonable.
Don’t let language barriers spoil your time away – with the free Google Translate app, you can easily translate words and phrases between 65 languages. There’s voice input support for 17 languages at present, so you can ask the friendly locals to talk into your phone to have their speech quickly translated, and for 24 of the languages the Google Translate app can speak the translation aloud in case you can’t quite get your tongue around it. There’s phonetic guides to help you with pronunciation, and you can access both your recent and favourite translations offline when you’ve no internet connection.
Get a feel for the weather up to 15 days in advance with the Accuweather app for Android, iPhone and iPad devices. You can access worldwide satellite information on the weather, with accurate local forecasts for millions of locations across the globe, freshly updated news and videos, and the RealFeel Temperature feature that takes into account factors like wind, humidity and the like to tell you how warm it’s actually going to feel in any given location. You can check in advance whether you’ll need a raincoat for a trip around the sights or whether it’s going to be perfect for a relaxing spell on the beach.
Headed abroad? Best check out our Beer Prices From Around The World blog first!