Learn more from locals
Our travel stories and itineraries (treks) make sure you have the best information to plan the perfect trip. Sign up today!
Already using trekeffect? Sign In

12 Essential Smartphone Apps Every Traveler Should Have

January 11, 2015

Have you ever traveled to a beautiful destination without a smartphone, iPhone or even a regular mobile phone? Certainly not. I would personally advise to never leave your smartphones when you embark on a journey somewhere. I know it would be more meaningful if you disconnect yourself online, and decide to leave every gadget you have at home to enjoy Zen-like travel experience. But in my opinion, it’s just suicide.

Let’s face it, we are now living in a digital age where humans and computers work hand-in-hand to make life easier. There are plenty of smartphone apps that pop out every day, each with a distinct feature and use to people. For travelers like me, here are 12 of the most essential smartphone apps that you should have before you hop on a flight to your next destination.

 

1. Google Maps

Trust me, this app needs no introduction. From the name itself, Google Maps is one of, if not the ultimate mapping service that exists. This app is a very important app that you should install on your smartphones since it doesn’t just show you comprehensive map of your destination, but it is also integrated with several apps such as Uber, for example. If you know how to use this app, then you’ll surely never get lost.

 

2. Waze

If Waze is not the best traffic navigating app that exists, then I don’t know what is. This app is excellent when you’re driving to a place God knows where. It shows crowd-sourced traffic information, and gives you the best route in order to arrive in your destination as fast and efficient as possible.

 

3. XE Currency

When travelling abroad, chances are you’ll have your local bills exchanged in order to survive in a certain foreign country. There are several smartphone apps with currency converter features, but I highly recommend the XE Currency. Aside from being useful in converting currency from around 180+ countries, it also lets users get a better understanding on how much money they should expect to receive during an exchange.

While it needs your smartphones to be connected online, all the pieces of information you will get are all updated and current, making all your calculations precisely accurate, and  coinciding to the exchange rates in the international market. And best of all, you can download this for free!

 

4. Shade – One of the most underrated smartphone apps for travelers 

Other people may not consider weather smartphone apps as essential for travelling. But from personal experience, these smartphone apps may really come in handy for all kinds of travelers. I know all of the forecasts are not always accurate, but at least it is better to be one step ahead. Of all weather apps out there, Shade has to be one of my personal favorites mainly because of its minimalist feature. It also supports many locations with options for a 7-day weather forecast.

Not to mention, Shade features graphical information on precipitation and temperature. To top it all off, it allows you to use audio jack for third party sensors if you wish to. If you want a simple and easy to navigate weather app, this app is your best bet.

5. iStone

Traveling around the globe without knowing any other foreign language is not a big problem anymore. All you need to have is a smartphone with iStone in it, and then you are good to go. This app only has a single function: to translate, and it pretty much performs extremely well.

It has more than 300 useful phrases that can be translated into 12 major languages. It can come in handy when you need to ask for directions. Plus, it lets you know the correct sentence to say, when you are on a foreign land. You can download this for free, but in-app purchase is required to unlock full version of languages.

 

6. Pano

Who in the world doesn’t take pictures while traveling? Nobody, no kidding. Taking snapshots of your travel adventure seems like an obligatory thing to do. Not only to have a visual memoir of it, but also to share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Pano is such a cool and easy-to-use app, and is certainly one of the top photo smartphone apps today. This app has an advanced alignment with blending and color-matching algorithms, making it easy to take seamless panoramic images.

 

7. Litely

When we take pictures, we sometimes want to add a little of pop in every photo that we capture and that’s when Litely app comes in handy. It is simple and thoughtful design with numerous filters having a film-like quality.

 

8. Instagram

As a heavy social media user, I do post my travel snapshots in some social media platforms, and Instagram is one of it. You can edit your pictures here: add some filters, resize, crop and many more. Aside from pictures, you can also post a 15-second video clip in this platform, and use the basic editing features to enhance the quality of video. By the way, I use Instagram not only to flaunt my travel snapshots, but also to search for other beautiful places to visit through the photos that have been posted.

 

9. TripTracker

This very comprehensive travel app reports real-time status for flights as well as delivers up-to-the-minute itinerary push alerts. Furthermore, it provides information regarding your hotel accommodations and car rental. This might be your perfect all-in-one handheld itinerary for your travel. You just need to have an internet connection and you will have a hassle-free travel.

 

10. Entrain

Jet lag is one of the most uncomfortable feelings after long-a haul flight. It may not be a serious health condition, but it can certainly affect your mood for the entire day, and we don’t want this to happen during travelling, do we?

Fortunately, there are a lot of smartphone apps that can help you overcome this issue.  The Entrain app, for one, works by helping regulate the internal body clock by customizing schedules of light and dark. Know your destination, and Entrain will help you know when you should be exposed to a bright or dark environment, so that your body clock will not be altered drastically.

 

11. The Entertainer

Even if you’re a flashpacker or a budget traveler, we all want those coupons that can be used in certain shops. Right?

The Entertainer is a coupon app that can be used in various shops, hotels or restaurants that can offer freebies and discounts. It is only available in 23 countries as of the moment; however developers are on the move in expanding the coverage of this app. All you need to do is show the app and redeem the coupon at the designated location.

 

12. Wikitude

Wikitude is a very useful augmented reality browser. Information overlays on a live camera view of your surroundings. As you pan around, icons pops out, showing different types of information that can be tapped to be read. If you don’t have budget for personal tour guides, Wikitude can serve as your virtual tour guide.

There are still many travel smartphone apps out there, but these 12 apps are tested and proven to be helpful when before, during and after your travel escapade. Make sure to download all of these apps, and plan  your trip carefully for a hassle-free adventure!

 

Albert Fernandez
Albert Fernandez, a registered nurse, is a backpacker by heart who enjoys putting his travel experiences into words.