A Travel Writer’s Must Have Apps

Have you downloaded hundreds of applications on your smart phone, preparing for an upcoming trip, only to realize you never used them? These days, there are free apps for creating packing lists, booking hotels, finding the best airplane seats, hauling a cab, tracking flights, reading brochures, and so much more. I don’t consider myself to be an App junkie. While I do keep abreast of new Travel Apps that are recommended by frequent fliers, there are a handful I find myself going back to over and over again.

Here are my top five that I absolutely cannot be without and why.

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1. Evernote – The easiest way to stay organized and not be scrambling for papers. For every trip I create a Notebook (e.g. India 2014), and within the notebook, I create Notes. This is where you can save a copy of your tickets, hotel booking, itinerary, travel guides you want to read later, directions, etc. You can also save audio recordings and photos of where you have been, with titles, inside a note. Meaning, whenever you need anything related to that trip, it will be in your folder. As a travel writer, I use Evernote to draft my blogs as I am, in the moment observing a place or reviewing a restaurant. The app sync between multiple devices and you can access it offline with a Premium subscription.

2. TomTom – Sometimes I rent a car in foreign countries and don’t want to pay extra for a GPS. The paid version of Tom Tom app works offline (meaning you won’t be using cell phone data or need to be on wifi) and covers most countries. No more asking for directions!

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3. Trip Advisor City Guides – It takes seconds to download a City Guide, and you have a wealth of information on your fingertips I generally spend some time on the plane or during transits to read about background information, attractions, restaurants and shopping, and  create my itinerary based on my saves. The City Guide app also has a map and gives offline directions to the attractions listed.

4. Skype – Although WhatApp, Viber and Kakao Talk offer free calling and texting, the downside is that the other parts needs to be subscribed to the channels as well. With Skype, I can call airlines customer service, hotels, family, coworkers, etc. With a monthly subscription you can get the unlimited calling, or pay as you go if you won’t be using it much.

5. Google Translate – Since most of the trips tend to be international, Google Translate is a life savior. I use it to practice a few basic phrases (Hello, How are you? Where is the bathroom? Thank you, Goodbye) before I get to the foreign country. If I am at a restaurant and don’t know the word for chicken, I can look it up. Communication is so much easier with Google Translate.

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6. Airport by Travel Nerd – I was looking for an accurate app that would give airport maps by terminals and a directory of what retail and restaurants are at each terminal. When you just want a Starbucks, look up your Travel Nerd app.

7. Flight Track – Possibly the most basic flight tracking tool. All you need to do is enter your flight number and date, and it will show you where your plane is exactly. I do this at one time, for all legs of my flight. You will receive alerts for delays, terminal changes, gate numbers, and alternative flights.

8. Convert – One stop app for converting currency (most up to date exchange rates), weight, area, speed, temperature, etc.

Do you have any travel apps that you swear by? Share them with our readers by leaving your comments below.

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Sucheta Rawal

Sucheta is an award winning food and travel writer, who has traveled to 80+ countries across 6 continents. She is also the founder and editor of 'Go Eat Give' and author of 'Beato Goes To' series of children's books on travel.