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Chen Liang

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Download This: The Best Apps for Traveling

How to stay organized, on time, safe—and relaxed.

For so many of us, we can’t leave our homes without our smartphones and tablets. We reach for our phone anytime we have a question, so it makes sense that it’s the perfect travel companion. With smartphones and tablets becoming nearly ubiquitous, incorporating apps into your travel plans has never been easier or more fun! Here are some of my favorite apps that keep me organized, on time, safe, and relaxed, whether I’m just taking a short trip across state lines or jetting to the other side of the globe.

In Singapore
photo by Jennifer Osias

Getting ready

PackPoint
If you’re forgetful when it comes to packing up your luggage, PackPoint is for you! Not only does PackPoint let you make packing lists for upcoming trips, it even creates packing lists for you. Just tell PackPoint where you’re going and what kinds of activities you’ll be doing and it will generate a list. You can customize the list, adding or removing items. Traveling with someone else? PackPoint lets you share your list with others. My favorite feature: PackPoint links to the weather forecast at your destination and knows whether to add a jacket, shorts, or an umbrella.
Free for iOS and Android devices.

Google Trips
Traveling requires keeping track of so much information: flight numbers, hotel addresses, car rental reservations, and more. I used to print out everything, but then I was left leafing through piles of paper trying to find what I needed. WithGoogle Trips, I put all my information into the app and it keeps track of it all for me. The best part? If you have a Gmail account, Google Trips pulls your information from there so it always has the latest updates.
Free for iOS and Android devices.

Mobile Passport
“I love going through U.S. customs,” said no one ever. With the long, slow-moving lines, endless questions, and the constant hunt for a pen, going through customs is anything but a joyride. Mobile Passport just made the customs process a little less painful, by allowing you to fill out your customs form on your phone and breeze through customs in a special line.
Free for iOS and Android devices.

 

Florence, Italy
photo by Jennifer Osias

Make it work

Google Translate
This app is like a pocket translator where you can try to bridge the language gap in real time. The coolest part is that you can use the camera on your device to translate text or even have someone speak directly into the device to get a translation in your native language.
Free for iOS and Android devices.

WhatsApp
Stay in touch with friends and family while you’re abroad with just Wi-Fi. You can text photos from your travels and call family back home with updates without relying on a cellular network.
Free for iOS and Android devices.

OANDA
As a budget traveler, I can’t afford to guesstimate prices in my native currency. That’s why OANDA is my favorite currency converter. Besides telling you the exact exchange rate it also calculates bank and credit card fees. OANDA takes the guesswork out of price comparing by providing up-to-date buying and selling rates for each currency.
Free for iOS and Android devices.

Personal navigator

MAPS.ME
One of the best parts of traveling in a new city is getting lost and having an adventure, but only when you want to. For the times that you don’t, there’s MAPS.ME, which lets you download maps onto your phone for offline use when you don’t have Wi-Fi or cellular service. There’s also the option to use GPS to navigate to a place, and if you don’t know the address you can search by name. You can drop pins on the map, like to mark where your hostel is or even a shop you want to visit later.
Free for iOS, Android, and Amazon devices.

Rome2rio
This is my go-to app when trying to navigate between cities and countries. Put in any two cities, landmarks, or addresses, and Rome2rio gives you multiple options on how to get from Point A to Point B based on your budget and time.
Free for iOS and Android devices.

Bintan Island in Indonesia
photo by Jennifer Osias

Unwinding on the road

Netflix & Amazon

When Netflix announced that it would make its movies and TV shows downloadable, travelers everywhere rejoiced. The ability to download content onto a phone or tablet to watch later without internet made those transatlantic flights in economy a little more bearable.
Available on iOS and Android devices, and plans start at $7.99 per month.

If you’re only using your Amazon Prime membership for the free two-day shipping, you’re doing it wrong. With Amazon Prime you can also download shows and movies to watch later.
Available on iOS, Android, and Amazon devices. It is free with a Prime membership.

Spotify
No travel adventure would be complete without a killer soundtrack. Thankfully, Spotify has premade travel playlists for road trips, red-eyes, and even layovers! You can create your own playlists and share them with your travel companions.
Available on iOS and Android devices for $9.99 per month (basic version available for free).

Snapseed
If you don’t post pictures online, did you really go anywhere? Step up your social media game with Snapseed. Snapseed goes beyond filters to give your photos a more professional feel. A great way to pass the time when you’re waiting to board your next flight.
Free for iOS and Android devices.

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