The age of technology has officially taken over. Long gone are the days of maps, payphones, and calling cards. If it doesn’t have a touch screen, it won’t survive. Trust me, I tried to resist the iEverything for as long as humanely possible, but with my first sweep across the shiny screen of my iTouch, I was hooked. I was hooked bad.
The following list is composed of the top 5 apps I actually USED abroad. Trust me, there were many, many more purchased, but I thought I should save you some mula and give you the essentials:
This app is my number one. The ability to instantly convert your money is a godsend. The app allows you to pick your desired currencies from two menus, and the minute you enter the desired amount in one box, it has already calculated the conversion in the other. Although the app can’t update its rates without an internet connection, you are able to make a conversion offline. I wouldn’t whip it out to estimate a bottle of beer, but if I was trying to budget myself per day, this was the fastest, easiest option. $FREE
2) iRail Europe
I am only posting iRail Europe because that is where I was last, obviously this wouldn’t benefit anyone going to South America or Asia or wherever. This app allows you to see different routes, check train prices, and determine lengths of time for any destination in Europe. It also allows for a “via” option, so you can plan out a stop in between if you so wish to. Plugging in Munich as my starting point, and Zagreb as my end, I can see that there’s a train leaving tomorrow at 8:30, it will arrive at 5:10 in Croatia, it will cost me 100 Euro (if you don’t already have a EuRail pass), and that I’ll need a reservation for the second half. Amazing! You do need internet service for this app to work, but that’s not usually a problem anymore in hostels. I found this app much more reliable than any train schedule book I had due to its constant updates. $2.99
This one’s a given. Easy to use, requires an internet connection, and allows for instant communication with any friend or family member who also has a Skype account. The only downside is that people can reach you too. I was getting pestered by friends and family all the time until I made the decision to logout of the app until I had made a skype-date with someone ahead of time. I recommend this app not to encourage more communication with back home, but to make it easier. $FREE
For those of you, like myself, who are borderline anal-retentive when it come to schedules, this is your app. All you have to do is set up an account with TripIt, forward any emails regarding planes, ho(s)tels, or train reservations to their designated email address and they will set up an easy to read/use itinerary. For those of us who check our flight time one…two..okay, five times, you need to get this. $FREE
This app wins because of its offline mode. You can access hundreds of metros in practically any city while traveling. The less papers I have to fish out of my bag, the better. With its zoom ability and basic layouts, it made navigating European subways simple and fast. $O.99