I wanted to share some of the apps we’ve found the most useful while traveling abroad in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. So, here are 7 travel apps we have found to be helpful:
If you’ve been following along on the blog, you’ve probably noticed that we have used AirBnB for almost all of our lodging for our trip. I talk about why in this post. The app is a pretty great app if you use AirBnB. Not only can you easily set up new reservations for places to stay, you also can keep track of your upcoming trips, quickly and easily contact your hosts (I also have mine set up to text me when they reply so I get immediate answers), and look at all of the information you may need for your stay related to your lodging. It’s a free app, and it’s free to use AirBnB (meaning no membership fee, renting a place costs money), and is available for Apple and Android products.
I have a love/hate relationship with the TripAdvisor app. It has a lot of content (and takes up space on your phone), but that also means it can tell you about recommended activities, restaurants, or lodging based on people’s reviews. We mostly use it for restaurants when we are in a neighborhood with plenty of options, and you can download content for specific cities so you can use it on-the-go without wifi. I do get frustrated at times with reading through reviews to determine whether a place is any good or not, trying to figure out the maps, and sometimes their “$” for a cheap place is not the same as a “$” cheap restaurant to us (meaning it’s too expensive to us) and we have to start over. (As a side note, sometimes the best bet is looking around for where the locals are sitting, or if you notice a place that consistently has people at it, even in off hours- eat there.) They just updated the app to make it more user-friendly. This is a free app, available for Apple and Android products.
We love Skype. We have used Skype since we started traveling in college to call our families. Now, it’s way easier to use, thanks advances in technology! We buy a little bit of credit, and call our families once a week-ish while traveling to check-in when we are connected to wifi. I mentioned in this post that Skype can also be useful if you need to a make a call in a pinch, especially if you also have data to go with your phone plan. Otherwise, wifi is fairly common, and you could still use Skype in many places. Skype is a free app and free to join, you can call others who have Skype accounts for free and make phone calls for way cheaper than phone plan rates if you buy credit. The app is available for Apple and Android products.
Z found this app, which came in useful when we were out and about. It’s a map app that allows you to download maps for certain cities or popular regions so you can then access the app without using data. GPS works on phones even without data, so offline maps are helpful to get around. City Maps 2Go also lets you search for specific attractions, stores, or more famous restaurants and locates them on the map. This app costs $4.99 for apple devices and $3.99 for android devices.
5) Google Maps
We used google maps extensively in Italy and in Athens to help us use public transportation. We found it to be pretty accurate for public transportation times and routes for Rome, Naples, and Athens. Once we left those areas though, no more info. So, we had to look around for other resources (see below). Google Maps is free, available for Apple and Android products.
We stumbled upon this app by accident, and it was SO helpful with getting around Turkey. Trafi lets you look up routes to get from place to place using public transportation, though it will recommend walking when appropriate. It has maps for 4 major cities in Turkey, and has maps for a few other major cities in Russia, Latvia, Brazil, Lithuania, and Estonia. We found this app to be really reliable with nice maps and up-to-date public transportation info. This is a free app, available for Apple and Android products.
There are many available apps to upload your photos. And if you’re traveling, it’s pretty likely that you will have many, many photos. Z once commented that he was surprised he took 160 photos in a day, or really about 14 hours since he had last backed up his photos. We argue regularly about the best app to save pictures to; I prefer Flickr, he uses Google Photos. There are several others too. There are minor differences in features, storage space, and ease of access, so think about what you value when you choose an app. But you’ll definitely want to have something ready so you’re not trying to figure out what to delete from your phone when you run out of storage space (which I still do, oops). Both Google Photos and Flickr are free apps that require you to create an account. Both are available on Apple and Android.
Also, we have used several smaller apps we’ve stumbled upon by seeing advertisements. For example, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul has a free app. It’s a nifty little map that uses GPS (SO handy), tells you where certain types of stores are, and you can make a list of favorites. (Pro tip: Download this app before you go, and you won’t spend time wandering down the same alleys over and over again looking for “that one shop” like we did in this post. We’ve used a few other smaller apps like that along the way that have made a difference. So keep your eyes out when you travel, and just be careful about in-app purchases and creating an account with personal info for those smaller apps.
Hopefully these suggestions are helpful for your technology and traveling needs. What apps have you used that you have found to be valuable? Happy meandering!