Roaming Solutions

Travelling overseas for business or pleasure and not sure what Apps will help make your journey easier? The following are a series of free apps we have researched and we think these are a good starting point.

City Maps 2Go

This is a VERY useful app – why? You can use it offline so you are not going to get lost (for the directionally challenged like me this is exactly what I need). It’s an easy to use all in one travel companion. You can access maps, view your location on the map, look up local attractions and restaurants and have access to tips from fellow travellers and locals alike. Book hotels and pin your destinations on the maps – this app gets good solid reviews.

Alternative: Google Maps, Waze

Wi-Fi Finder

Instead of using your expensive, roaming data plan overseas, use WiFi! Sometimes, however, this is easier said than done. Wi-Fi Finder helps you do just that. Wi-Fi Finder will find you free or paid public Wi-Fi hotspots online OR offline which is the bonus.

Note Phone Users: Wi-Fi Finder requires phone call permission on the phone version as an easy way to call the public Wi-Fi location when viewing the detail view of a Wi-Fi hotspot. The app will NEVER make calls unless you explicitly click on the phone icon and confirm you want to call the Wi-Fi location)

Alternative: Avast, Wifimapper

Trip Advisor

Who hasn’t used Trip Advisor at some point? It’s an app you really must download as it gives you access to hotels, restaurants, booking facilities and offline city maps. Its best known for its reviews and its always worth reading a few before making that hotel or resort booking. – nothing worse than expecting 5 stars and getting only 2.

Alternative: Kayak

Google Translate

For those of us who no longer want to lug around the Lonely Planet language guides this is a far simpler method of communicating when travelling to a non English speaking country. Google Translate literally does just that and can translate text, speech and images across 40 languages. Whilst its no substitute for lessons or living somewhere for a couple of months it will help you be polite, get directions and find a restroom when on your trip.

Alternative: The Free Dictionary

AirBnb

Sick of pricey hotel living? Want accommodation where you can actually cook or; hold your breath……. sleep in a different room to the kids and have somewhere to watch the telly in peace? Airbnb can provide you with all that and more (or less depending what you are after). Airbnb helps to connect hosts (owners of property) with guests (you) whether it be an apartment for a night or a castle for a week or a villa for a month Airbnb has it all, across all price points in more than 190 countries and 34,000 cities around the world. Having used Airbnb across multiple countries for business and leisure trips alike it has saved us thousands of $ overall and the level of accommodation tends to be as advertised so well worth checking out.

Alternative: HomeAway, Travelmob, VRBO

Uber  

Waiting for a bus? Frustrated by the long queue for a taxi? Uber allows you peace of mind when travelling, knowing you can get from A to B promptly and not worry about having the right amount of correct currency on you. When you register you will need to submit your credit card details, which means no cash is required or exchanged with the driver. This, along with, fare estimates and the fact that the Uber drivers “survive” on a rating system mean that you will get to your destination with minimal fuss. You can also use Uber in Australia so well worth installing this app.

Alternative: Lyft, Local Cab company

TripIt

This is the one stop shop for your travel itineraries. Once you've made your travel bookings, you simply forward your flight, hotel, car rental, and other travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com. If you use Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook.com email, Tripit can import your travel-related confirmation emails automatically — no forwarding required. 

TripIt uses the details in your confirmation email to create a comprehensive, master itinerary for every trip that you can access anytime, on any device online OR offline if required.

Alternative: Tripcase, Kayak, WorldMate

XE Currency Converter

A simple yet handy app to have. XE allows you to access daily exchange rates from your device and stores the last updated rates so even if you don’t have access to the internet you can still access currency information.

Alternative: Oanda Currency Converter

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp Messenger uses your phone’s internet connection to keep you in touch while abroad. Anyone you want to contact needs to download the app to be able to send you text, audio and video messages.  This is a godsend if you want to communicate but not eat into your devices’ roaming allowance. 

Alternative: Viber, Skype

Foodspotting

If you’re a Foodie then this app is a must. With Foodspotting, you can discover popular local dishes. The visual guide provides images and ratings from other users and food experts. See which dishes look good and bookmark the ones you want to try. Share ratings and pictures after your meal to help others. The app's selections can be filtered alphabetically or by category, rank or location.  

Alternative: Yelp, UrbanSpoon

AccuWeather

Sometimes your locally saved weather app wont work accurately when abroad. AccuWeather gives current conditions and forecasts in Fahrenheit or Celcius. You also receive information such as wind direction and speed, humidity, precipitation, pressure and visibility. The app also pushes severe weather warnings – handy when required!

Alternative: The Weather Channel, Yahoo Weather

 

We hope these Apps (or their alternatives) help you plan and enjoy your trip with minimal fuss.

The key is to download the ones you want before you leave to help you save data when you are away. Note many apps these days can be upgraded for a cost to include more fancy features but we’ve found most of these apps perform just fine in their free state. You can also choose to pay 99c for an ad free version.

 

Written by Georgie Mooney — January 29, 2016

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