Traveling abroad takes a little extra preparation. Before you leave, it’s smart to call your carrier and let them know you will be heading overseas to learn about options for better international roaming rates. While you’re at it, transform your phone into a handy resource with these top 5 must have apps when travelling abroad.
When going abroad, a mapping app is indispensable. Google maps is the number one mapping app but having an offline app is preferable overseas so you don’t burn through your data. An offline app can be downloaded by selecting the menu button and choosing “offline maps.” Choose the area you’ll be visiting and the map will be saved to your device. If the area you plan to visit isn’t available for the offline map app, you can buy an app like Maps with Me Pro which delivers detailed offline maps for $5.00. It’s an all-in-one app that works in every country.
Finding a free WiFi hotspot abroad can sometimes be a challenge, and entering your credit card information every time you use a paid hotspot can be inconvenient. The Skype WiFi app allows you to connect to more than a million public WiFi hotspots around the world. You only pay for the minutes you use via your Skype credit and the app eliminates long sign up processes when all you’re trying to do is get online. Charges vary by hotspot and country. This app will work on your Smartphone, tablet or laptop.
EveryTrail is a free GPS app that offers an easy way to share your trip, find things to do, and even connect with other travelers. The easy-to-read map supplies street namess and displays a compass. The audio guide suggests POIs (Points of Interest). This app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android 1.6 and up.
The TripIt app is available for the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7. This app organizes travel plans into an itinerary that keeps every detail of your trip in a centralized location. Don’t worry about missing your Aer Lingus flight to Greece when you have TripIt on your side. Just forward confirmation emails to email@example.com and the app automatically creates your itinerary.
Tips and Gratuities
The practice of tipping varies from one culture to another. In the U.S. we tip for just about everything, but that isn’t the case in other countries. The iTip found on the iPhone’s home screen, International Tip Calculator, is available for $2.00 from Vault 13 Studio. It offers advice on how much to tip (most major countries represented) on the info screen. Just select the current country and toggle rounding on and off, and set the tax rate. This app offers convenient features for splitting the check and buttons to rate service as excellent or standard when calculating the tip.
To keep roaming charges to a minimum only browse or download when using your iPhone’s WiFi connection. You will not be billed for downloading or browsing when it’s done via WiFi other than paying a fee for access at a particular hotspot.