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8 essential travel planning apps to take abroad

Flight Status Board at airport

If you’re the kind of person who likes to plan their own vacations without the help of tour guides or travel agents, you probably look no further than your smartphone to do most of the work. Thanks to the myriad of mobile apps, no longer do you have to type out a whole itinerary and just keep everything you could possibly need right in your phone. If you can get your phone unlocked, you’ll even be able to use your phone abroad to help tackle those language barriers. Before jumping on the plane, make sure you have these eight essential travel apps to help plan, coordinate, and organize every part of your trip.

Tripit (Free: iOS | Android | Blackberry | Windows Phone 7)


One of the best possible travel organization apps to exist, Tripit stores all the logistics of your travel information in one place for easy, chronological viewing. From flight confirmations, hotel vouchers, car rentals, and more, the app will even alert you if something in your travel plans changes. The pro edition of Tripit will also give you options of rebooking similar flights if your flight is canceled or majorly delayed. Additionally, the app offers weather reports and time zones to help you get adjusted before you land. After using it a few times, you’ll never go back to sorting through your e-mails again.

Currency Converter (Free: iOS [OANDA Corporation] | Android [Pocketools.com])

Currency Converter iOS screencap
The currency converter app is great for figuring out whether you’re getting a good deal on purchases abroad, or if you’re curious what the item would cost if it were sold back in the states. Though created by different companies, both version of the app will give you real time exchange rates with more than 180 currencies. The iOS version also allows you to add interest rate or international fees, while the Android version graphs the rate of exchange to see how the strength of the currency changes over certain periods of time.

Google Translate (Free: iOS | Android)

Google Translate app icon
If you have aced all the various languages off Rosetta Stone, great for you. For the rest of us, foreign languages can be a huge frustration when traveling to international locations. The Google Translate app will help you figure out simple phrases or words for 64 languages, and even type them out in foreign characters so you can show locals what you’re talking about. Remember, however, that some things simply do not translate from American English, so don’t be confused by odd responses if things still manage to get lost in translation.

Packing Pro ($3 on iOS)

Packing Pro iOS app screencap
When you start to get excited about an upcoming trip, the last thing on your mind is remembering exactly what to pack. Packing Pro is here to remind you of those essentials. Input your destination, weather, length of trip, and the number of people traveling with you to get a complete checklist of what not to forget. You can even add up an approximate total of your combined luggage to make sure nothing exceeds the checked bag or carry-on weight limit. The app also syncs with your iOS cloud so you can work off your Macbook straight to your iPad or iPhone.

Mtrip ($6: iOS | Android)

Mtrip Augmented Reality ViewWho needs to spend money on a guided tour group when you can venture on your own, in your own time restraints? Mtrip offers travel information for major cities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas — but you’ll have to download each city separately as its own individual app. The guide contains everything from offline maps for when you don’t have service to directories of local museums, restaurants, bars, shops, and more. All you have to do is input the number of dates at the select city, your hotel location, what you prefer to see more of in a day and the intensity level of your travel. Mtrip will figure out the recommended logistics for you, and you can even look up local venues in augmented reality view by hovering your phone over destination points and look for local icons of nearby places.

All Subway ($1 on iOS)

Travel like a local by taking publication transportation and save a couple of bucks from private drivers or taxi rides. All Subway has all the information from routes in major cities in the states and abroad. The app is best for those who like figuring out their own way around town, and with each new update comes new info on current routes and even new cities. At the moment, All Subway supplies public transit information on up to 147 countries.

Viber (Free: iOS | Android | Blackberry | Windows Phone 7)

ViberYou can rely in Skype to make phone calls and send messages, but some Skype plans come with a prepaid monthly fee. An alternative to Skype is Viber which will allow you to make free calls and texts if you both have accounts in the app. Without the additional cost of a phone plan, the app uses your data package so you can communicate freely. You can also send multimedia texts for those quick moments abroad you simply have to share visually.

Find-ER Emergency iOS app screencapFind-ER (Free on iOS)

There’s no way to predict accidents, so if you need medical help abroad, Find-ER will locate the nearest hospital wherever you are in the world. By tapping on the map and selecting your preferred hospital location, the app will show the fastest route to getting there by car, foot, or bike. You can also store emergency contacts as well as medical information, such as allergies and your doctor’s info, to help nurses tend to your best needs. 

Are you set for your expeditions? Don’t forget to check out our guide on how to pack your gears for travel to ensure smooth sailing once you get to the airport and beyond. Here’s wishing for a fun and safe travel!

 Image Credit: Flickr / Jack Cheng