The road can be lonely. Sometimes the trail can be dusty. Sometimes the nights are long, the days are longer, and the only thing you really want is your own bed and a long nap. But it’s those moments of adversity that make traveling great.
Even if getting dirty in a new place is what makes traveling awesome, it doesn’t take away the fact that it can be intimidating and isolating sometimes. The good news is that, with modern technology, friendly help is just a single app away. Cell phones are ubiquitous, Wifi is more abundant than tie die at a Grateful Dead concert, and pretty much every inch of the globe outside of Antarctica has cell phone coverage. In other words, a good travel app can be a lifesaver--a lifeline in a sea of potential tumult.
But which ones are the best? I’m glad you asked.
It’s true that not all travel is international, but that doesn’t mean Google Translate isn’t one of the most useful apps of any kind that you can download anyway. With really neat features that translate street signs in real time, Google is at the top of the innovation game. If you’re traveling in a country that speaks a language you don’t know, there’s probably no better app to use. Even if you’re not traveling, Google Translate is a fun to dink around with.
The best way to get to know a place is to immerse yourself in that place’s culture. It’s hard to do that if you stay in a Holiday Inn. If you’re wondering how I know that, I’ve stayed at a Holiday Inn in Paris, and we’ll just say, it was about as French as the fried french toast sticks at Burger King. AirBnB is a great way to find interesting places to overnight that are a little bit off the beaten path. Plus, if you’re ever in a spot where you need a place to crash, AirBnB can be a lifesaver.
It’s easy to get lost in a new place. I was walking around Guadalajara one time without any sort of directional support, and I had to ask a police officer wearing an automatic rifle how to get back to the bus station. Yes, that really happened. If I would have had Google Maps, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Most people don’t know this, but you can actually download area maps onto your phone so that you don’t have to have an internet connection to use the app. That can be really helpful if you’re traveling out of the country or in a place without service. This app can literally be a lifesaver.
When the stakes are much lower than finding your way around an unfamiliar city, and instead, you’re just trying to figure out where you can eat the city’s tastiest sweet potato fries, TripAdvisor has your back. Find restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, and fun things to do in whatever city you’re visiting with this handy app.
If you’re not familiar, pretty much the entire world runs on WhatsApp. This text messaging app is crucial for anyone looking to make friends and communicate with people outside of the USA. I love this app. I use it to talk to my family members in Germany. We’re able to share pictures, chat, and even video call each other. Technology really is amazing.
If you leave your house for vacation without these 5 apps installed on your phone, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Unless you’re going for some sort of old-school minimalist vibe, or you’re just a paper map purist and love it when people can tell from a mile away that you’re a tourist, let these brilliant technological innovations make your trip better. You’ll be glad that you did.
And don't forget to capture all the great memories you make, and remember to send your old memories from spring breaks past to Legacybox to get them digitized!