10 ‘Must-Have’ Travel Apps

  • 10 ‘Must-Have’ Travel Apps
Issue 103, July 2017.
10 ‘Must-Have’ Travel Apps
Visa-free is here to stay, so here are 10 apps to get you on your way!
With Ukrainians now able to explore their European neighbours with little more than their new biometric passports and their mobile phones, we thought we’d help out by offering the 10 must-have travel apps for your phone. Having these handy little helpers in your pocket will take the worry out of your journey and allow you to maximise your relaxing time. To keep a few extra nickels in your pocket (which you’ll need when paying €10 for a beer in London), we’ve made sure that every featured app in this article is free to download. So, happy travels!
#10 – Games: Plants vs. Zombies 2: Or really any game that you enjoy that works while offline. On those long bus or train trips, defeating a few zombies sure helps pass the time. Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a strategy game that has you trying to defeat an army of hilarious zombies by growing a garden of menacing plants. The game has won awards for Best Mobile Game at E3 – the world’s premier gaming event – and by digital media website Mashable. It’s also been downloaded over 100 million times. 
Website: https://www.ea.com/games/plants-vs-zombies/plants-vs-zombies-2
Honourable Mentions: Bejewled Stars for puzzles, Quizoid for trivia
#9 – Photos: Snapseed 2.0 – You’ll be snapping plenty of photos on your trip, so might as well get the best damned photo-editing app out there. Snapseed was named iPad App of the Year in 2011 and has yet to be knocked from its mantle with over 10 million downloads.  Owned by Google, this powerful app lets you edit and filter your photos as you go – all in a user-friendly manner. It also works with landscape photos, for those wanting to post their pics online when the get home.
Website: https://www.facebook.com/snapseed/
Honourable Mentions: Instagram for social network users, VSCO for burgeoning professional photographers
#8 – Sightseeing: LiveTrekker – This cool app will automatically track where you travel and geotag your photos, videos, audio, and everything else so that you can relive your trip when you return! You can store your trips ‘in the cloud’ or download them to your computer and it is very simple to share them with your friends and family through email or social networks.
Website: https://www.livetrekker.com/
Honourable Mentions: Google Trips for your itinerary, Time Out for events near you
#7 – Must-Haves: XE Currency – Unless you’re some sort of math genius, calculating the cost of items in Europe from the Ukrainian hryvnia is a hopeless endeavour. But thanks to XE Currency, now you don’t have to worry about it. Just add the currencies you’ll need before you leave and enter the numbers as you go. And don’t worry if the hryvnia changes value while you’re away – XE keeps historical conversion rates.
Website: http://www.xe.com/
Honourable Mentions: Gmail for your emails, Facebook, Messenger and Twitter for social media.
#6 – Travel: Uber: While Leopolitans are likely familiar with this app, after the company’s widely publicised introduction earlier this year, the real ease of the app is how it synchs with other map apps to get you on your way (See #1 – Google Maps). Be warned though, in many countries a credit card linked to your account is required before using Uber (i.e. cash is NOT an option). 
Website: https://www.uber.com/ 
Honourable Mentions: Rome2Rio to find bus, train, and plane connections, Bla Bla Car for ride-shares between cities. 
#5 – Accommodations: Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is a room-sharing app that allows you to connect with locals around the world. Many are fellow travelers – just like you – and host people while at home so that they will be hosted while traveling. With over 14 million users, it’s safe to say that most places you travel you can find someone to stay with. While saving on accommodations is nice, having a local guide to get you oriented, show you the cool places, and even translate for you, is worth the experience alone.
Website: https://www.couchsurfing.com/ 
Honourable Mentions: Airbnb for private accommodations
#4 – Meeting People: Tinder: If you haven’t heard about the dating/meet-up app that’s taken the world by storm, join the 50 million other users before you leave. Matches are made by two people ‘swiping right’ on each other’s profiles, indicating that you ‘like’ them – kind of like scanning the room at a restaurant or club. The app has a reputation for being for easy ‘hook-ups’, but if used properly, can also be used to meet like-minded people. 
Website: https://www.gotinder.com/ 
Honourable Mentions: Couchsurfing for meeting like-minded travelers 
#3 – Calling: Skype: While other apps might be more convenient for calling friends, still nothing can compare to the ease of use of the original when calling landlines. For this reason, having the Skype app on your phone – with a small monetary credit ($10 has lasted me for four years) – and you’ll never have to worry about calling your bank or any other pesky landline while your abroad again. Plus, free calls to friends with Skype!
Website: https://www.skype.com/en/ 
Honourable Mentions: What’s App for Android users, Messenger for Facebook friends, Rebtel for wifi-free calls
#2 – Translation: Google Translate: While Google Translate may have its hiccups, there simply isn’t a better, more comprehensive, or easier-to-use translation software on the market. The software supports over 100 languages and serves over 200 million people – everyday! Even better, the app allows you to point your camera over a sign or a menu and it will automatically translate in real time! (some languages only) Be sure to download the language packages of the countries you’re traveling to and remember there is an extra download if you want the camera translation to work for those languages.
Website: https://translate.google.com 
Honourable Mentions: Duolingo for language learning.
#1 – Getting Around: Google Maps: There is probably no need to tell you to download this app, as the app has already been downloaded over a billion times. But there is never a greater need for this service than when exploring somewhere new. Whether it’s the turn-by-turn directions (on foot or by car) with voice prompts, the integration with local public transportation or ride-hailing apps like Uber, or the GPS-guided routes between cities (adjusted for traffic and tolls, as necessary), there won’t be a day of travel you won’t use this app. Be sure to download maps of the areas you will travel to so that you can use the maps – and step-by-step directions – while offline.  
Website: https://maps.google.com 
Honourable Mentions: Waze if you’re driving through the city, Citymapper (if you’re traveling to one of the only 30+ cities it works)