Traveling has become incredibly easy with today’s technology. You can go just about anywhere and make your way around with just your smartphone. Even if you don’t buy a SIM card, you can access public WiFi at restaurants, coffee shops, and WiFi booths. However, there are some provisions you should make before you leave for your destination. There are specific travel apps (some of which even work offline) made to make your vacation experience easier. The internet is not as easily accessible everywhere in the world, and you need to be prepared for any obstacles.
Here are the most important apps to download, which will get you past potential bumps in the road.
A Good VPN
A VPN is essential for security purposes. You should be using one right now. But if you haven’t got a VPN, you must download one before you travel. In many countries, the internet is regulated or censored, and it can be difficult to get important information while there. Social media is even blocked in some places.
A VPN for Facebook and other blocked websites is a must-have. It also ensures your privacy won’t be violated by government surveillance or malicious hackers, which is common even in the U.S.
Kayak (or an Equivalent Travel App)
Kayak has recently gone from being a mediocre booking tool to one of the most essential travel apps. It provides information on your destination and what to do there, but that’s not what makes it a must-have. Much more importantly, it brings all of your bookings together in one handy space. If you connect it to your email account, it will do this automatically.
The reason you need Kayak or an equivalent is that when you do not have access to the internet, looking for your booking information in your emails becomes very difficult. Even when you are online, it is difficult to find all the info you need quickly and conveniently. Kayak streamlines this for you.
Related: Tech You Should Expect to See on Your Next Vacation
Of course, Google or Apple Maps is an essential tool on your phone when you are traveling (and in general). However, it can be useless if you don’t have internet access. Before you leave, download a map of your destination to use offline. By doing so, you ensure you will be able to use it for directions even when you are nowhere near a WiFi hotspot.
Download the entire area. It won’t take up very much space on your phone.
Finally, TripAdvisor really is one of those travel apps that every traveler should have. Without it, we are all prone to fumble through a place, finding the occasional gem but also being disappointed way too often. TripAdvisor helps you plan an itinerary through places and tours that people actually enjoyed. By focusing on finding realistic reviews – and especially reviews that are very recent – you can find information about possible reasons you will hate a place, even though others claim to love it.
The unfortunate truth is that travel guides and agencies promote a specific agenda, that is designed to make money rather than to give you the perfect experience. So, if there is a hidden gem that you can get to on your own, they’re not going to bother telling you about it. Similarly, if there are reasons you may hate a famous landmark, you will not hear about them from the pros.