13 Free Smartphone Apps for International Travel

Smartphones have become an essential part of travel.  They’re used for taking photos, navigating cobblestone streets, and staying connected with friends and family back home.  These travel apps allow you to use your phone for more than just photography and communication; they give your phone the ability to help you find delectable meals, speak foreign languages, and live like a local in a foreign city.

AroundMe

This app makes traveling in an unfamiliar place a lot less daunting.  AroundMe uses your location to find anything you might need, such as pharmacies, ATMs, restaurants, hospitals, and much more.  The app also shows the weather and even contains a list of concerts and movies showing nearby. Navigation is a standout feature, as users can find their way to a chosen destination through the app’s map, Apple Maps, Google Maps, and others.

Free, iOS and Android, aroundmeapp.com

 

Citymapper

Taking the stress and confusion away from navigating public transportation in foreign countries, Citymapper uses current departure times, transit maps, bike routes, and many more features in order to ensure that you arrive at your destination safely and efficiently.  The app includes metro lines, Citi Bikes, ferries, Uber, and everything in between.

Free, iOS and Android, citymapper.com

 

Culture Trip

Looking to see something off the beaten path? Culture Trip is the answer.  This app contains recommendations from locals, from where to find the best pasta in Florence to the most unique experiences you can have in Cape Town.  Culture Trip also personalizes the app to the user’s interests, so enjoyment of a travel experience is guaranteed.  

Free, iOS and Android, theculturetrip.com

 

Duolingo

Pass the time on your daily commute by learning one of twenty four languages supported by Duolingo. Practicing a language for just ten minutes a day can boost your ability to communicate with locals on your next trip. The app’s exercises require reading, listening, and speaking with in-lesson grading.  Duolingo is easy to use for anyone from the age of six to sixty six and is essential for the whole family to use before a trip to a foreign country.

Free, iOS and Android, duolingo.com

 

TheFork

TripAdvisor’s food app shows everything you need to know about a restaurant.  The app allows users to search a location and find the restaurant that best suits their palates.  Select a restaurant and see reviews, average meal prices, and menus. TheFork gifts users with coupons that can significantly reduce the price of an otherwise expensive meal.  You can even book a table within the app, so you’ll be digging into a memorable dish in no time.  

Free, iOS and Android, thefork.com

 

GateGuru

Another TripAdvisor app, GateGuru provides all the airport information a traveler could ask for.  Airport maps, lists of shops and restaurants, weather forecasts, and tips from fellow travelers make those long layovers more bearable.  You can also add a journey by route or flight number for your in-app JourneyCard, which updates flyers on flight delays, security wait times, gate changes, and other essential flight information.

Free, iOS and Android, gateguru.com

 

Geosure

Safety is, of course, a major concern while traveling, especially in unfamiliar territory.  Geosure is essential for knowing the risk factors of a location and how travelers can keep themselves and their companions safe.  This app rates cities and neighborhoods on a scale of 1-100 (1 being the safest and 100 being the most hazardous).  It also rates the likelihood of certain risks, such as physical harm, women’s safety, theft, and medical.  

Free, iOS and Android

 

Google Translate

Google Translate is the ultimate translation app, with the ability to translate 59 languages offline and 103 languages online.  It can also access your camera, so you can point your phone at any sign or writing, and it will translate it right before your eyes.  The app has a handwriting feature as well, which allows the user to write a word or phrase on the screen for translation.  

Free, iOS and Android, translate.google.com

 

Google Trips

Google Trips connects to your Gmail account to find your flights, accommodations, and transportation reservations in order to create an itinerary with all of the details you need for your travels.  The offline map is great for navigation, as it allows users to find their way around a city without internet connection.  Google Trips also displays top spots to eat, local favorites, indoor and outdoor attractions, family friendly locations, and your own saved points of interest.

Free, iOS and Android, get.google.com/trips

 

Guides by Lonely Planet

This app has all the typical aspects of a travel app: places to eat, important tourist attractions, shopping destinations, and more.  However, Guides has plenty of features that make it stand out. With over 150 city guides, the app includes maps of a city’s neighborhoods and the highlights of each, tips on transportation, and phrasebooks.  The “Budget” section of the app should be utilized by every traveler, as it shows the average daily cost for budget, midrange, and top end spenders, as well as advice on tipping and where to get cash.  

Free, iOS and Android, lonelyplanet.com/guides.

 

PackPoint

PackPoint by TripIt curates a packing list based on your destination, length of stay, weather, activities, and gender.  Check off each item as you pack, and create alerts for those items you can’t pack until the last minute.  You can even share your packing list with your traveling companions so they won’t forget anything they need.  

Free, iOS and Android, packpnt.com

 

Rick Steves’ Audio Europe

Go at your own pace and download Rick Steves’ Audio Europe for a private walking tour.  Learn about everything European from the Louvre in Paris to Norse Mythology in Scandinavia through informative audio guides and the supporting maps.  Just download an audio tour that piques your interest while connected to WiFi or data, and you’re free to experience the culture of Europe from the convenience of your smartphone.

Free, iOS and Android, ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/audio/audio-europe

 

XE Currency

It’s hard to know how much something will cost you in U.S. dollars when dealing with local currency.  XE Currency eliminates this problem, as users can view current exchange rates and calculate prices through the app.  The app allows users to add the required currencies to the home page, so conversions can be completed with ease.

Free, iOS and Android, xe.com/apps