Eight Essential Travel Apps for the Modern-Day Backpacker

If you’re planning to travel soon, one of the most stressful parts of the process is organizing and preparing. The tricky part of flying abroad is that you don’t have access to a lot of the services you’re used to having at home – so if you’re stuck, you’re stuck. Fortunately, there is a great amount of travel apps available on the market which can definitely make your trip abroad easier. As long as you have these apps installed on your iPhone or Android handset, you’re well-prepared for your upcoming adventure.

1. Google Translate (Free)

This is probably the most valuable tool you’ll come across when traveling. You can translate any text you see (in fact, combined with Google Goggles it can even translate text in photos), you’ll soon find that dipping into a vocabulary book every five seconds is no longer an issue. Fast and very capable, this app provides you with a list of the commonly used terms and can even playback pronunciation audio clips, to make practicing easier on your end. Jaymar Cabebe of CNET said that the application, which their editors rated 4/5 stars, supports over 60 languages and even has a handwriting and text translator that you can access even when you’re offline.

2. Skype (Free)

Skype is invaluable if you happen to be staying somewhere with a Wi-Fi connection. One of the best things about it is there is a mobile version which you can use the same way you would normally call someone on your smartphone. It’s quick and free if you’re calling another Skype account, and doesn’t really use that much bandwidth if you’re not on a video call. It’s a perfect solution that will help you avoid astronomical phone bills.

3. Free Wi-Fi Finder (Free)

Wi-Fi is as necessary as your smartphone during the trip. With the expense associated with international data connection services, many travelers (especially those that follow a strict budget) rely on free Wi-Fi stations to stay connected with their friends and family. Free Wi-Fi Finder assists you in locating the nearest free internet in your area using your handset’s GPS. With just a tap, you can easily detect the nearest café, library, or any establishment nearby with Free Wi-Fi.

4. FlightTrack 5 ($4.99)

Get all your flight information in real-time, including the gate numbers of your departure and arrival in one app – FlightTrack. The app also provides quick flight cancellation details and an efficient way to find an alternative flight. In 2009, Ian of App Advice said that this application is useful for frequent travelers in providing them quick, accurate, and detailed flight information.

5. TripAdvisor (Free)

TripAdvisor is the best holiday advice network on the internet. It is fueled by colossal amounts of reviews on everything from Spanish villas to jet-ski companies in Jamaica. This becomes very handy when you’re considering an unplanned night out on holiday. Users can quickly bring up a list of the best hotspots in the area in just a tap on the app.

6. Google Maps (Free)

This is a priceless source of information and will save you countless headaches. Sometimes, no matter how good you communicate with others, there are times when you just won’t be able to understand their directions. Cue detailed maps of practically every street you can think of, not to mention directions, and even a tracker that will tell you roughly where you are in relation to the map. Think of it as a “you are here” map you can carry around on your smartphone, and you’ll see why so many people rely on it.

7. Passbook (Built-in app for iDevices)

This is an iPhone-exclusive app, but it’s a priceless addition to the roster of iOS travel apps that come with the device. It can store your boarding passes and other important documents in one program. It means that you can still travel even if even if you leave your papers at home. You can even check-in at the nearest hotel using the app itself, which makes this Apple wonder-app even better. Check out iMore correspondent Allyson Kazmucha’s article on some of the best compatible apps for Passbook on iPhone, including the Starbucks app.

8. Travel Radar ($1.99)

Avoid the hassle of losing your luggage and get this Travel Radar app for your iPhone. It works with iBeacon in your bags and can track up to two suitcases. The application will provide the approximate distance of your luggage any time of the day (maximum of 20 meters away). Users can also turn on the push notification option to provide the location changes even on your lock screen.

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