We’ve been travelling for years now. At the rate of sounding ancient, I remember the time I used to carry guidebooks on our travels. Times have changed and our mobiles seem to have an answer to everything. I hate to admit it but it’s true – a good mobile phone is well and truly a traveller’s best friend. Over the past few years we’ve used dozens of apps on our phones. There are loads of mobile apps we enjoy but here are 5 of our favourite apps for travellers:
iTranslate for translating a new language
We discovered iTranslate fairly recently, thanks to a tipoff by a friend who used it while travelling in Italy. But we have come to love it over the past couple of months. We used it almost on a daily basis in Central America. The premise is simple – iTranslate essentially translates words, phrases, and sentences from your first language to the language of the country you’re in. It helps travellers speak, learn, and translate languages.
The online version is free but we suggest purchasing the offline version (which costs less than £2/month) for the road. It works perfectly without the internet. The app is tailored to the needs to the twenty-first century traveller and boasts of several useful features, but we love the vocal feature the best. Type in a sentence in English and the app doesn’t just translate it for you – it actually speaks it aloud for you in the requested language. We used this feature so much while ordering food at restaurants, bargaining for groceries, and even making friends in Central America. We’d punch in a sentence or two in English and before we knew it, the app was talking aloud in Spanish. Utilitarian aspect apart, iTranslate is also the perfect ice-breaker and conversation starter in a foreign country.
Snapseed for editing photos
Truth be told, we rarely upload photos clicked from our iphone onto Bruised Passports’ social media channels. Vid is too much of a perfectionist and loves taking his DSLR wherever he can. But if we ever upload photos clicked on the phone, then we use Snapseed to edit those photos. It’s the perfect app to have on your phone if you’re a serious mobile photographer.
There are a million and one photo editing apps out there but Snapseed’s layout makes it easy to play with contrast, brightness, saturation, and shadows. The interface isn’t particularly intuitive and takes some getting used to. But Snapseed offers great control over every image – For instance it has some really handy features like selective adjustment where you can modify a portion of the photo without touching the rest of it. We don’t use filters on Snapseed but the app does have a variety of filters in case you’re too lazy to edit photos manually.
GoEuro for price comparison
It’s no secret that we love to travel. We’ve gotten so used to researching and planning for a trip that we can actually do it on our sleep now. Jokes apart, over the years we have developed a workflow, if you may, to start planning our upcoming trips. Once we have decided our destination, we look for the most convenient and economical way to get to that place. Our first stop is usually a price comparison website.
Now there’s no dearth of price comparison websites online so it becomes difficult to choose from the unending list out there. One of our favourite website/app for researching fares is GoEuro. It’s different from most of the comparison websites out there in that it also compares modes of transport other than flying – bus and train. We were surprised to see so many cases where taking a train was turning out to be faster and cheaper than flying. GoEuro collates all prices and duration for each mode of transport in a beautifully designed user interface, making the selection process easier and better informed.
Once you have made your selection, it takes you to that partner’s site for you to complete your booking. Easy! They are constantly adding more countries and partners in their database.
TraveLibro for documenting travels
We all know how powerful social media is these days. A big part of travel is about sharing your experiences with your friends and family. Now imagine a social media app dedicated solely to travel. Enter Travelibro. From planning a trip to documenting your daily activities when on vacation, Travelibro lets you search other travelers’ itineraries for ideas, get in touch with travel agents who can plan and book your trip, share your trip experiences with your friends and followers just as in Facebook, and save your trips for you to look back on in the future.
We have been using Travelibro for almost a year now and have been enjoying it. It’s a great little app to plan, document, and share your travel with the world. It’s been going through regular updates and is missing a few things such as video uploads on the go but we’re told that the new version due at the end of this year is going to be an even better experience for the users. We can’t wait!
Maps.me for offline maps and GPS
If you’ve been reading Bruised Passports for a while, you must be familiar with our weakness for road trips. We love rocking in a new country and renting a car to explore it. However renting a GPS along with a rental car often incurs a daily charge. Such expenses add up quickly, especially if one is a frequent traveller. Enter maps.me – the app offers detailed offline maps of the world.
All you need to do is download maps of the country you intend to drive in while you still have access to wifi. Once those maps are on your phone, you can use the maps.me app to drive to any part of the country you want. It works just like any other GPS device – you can specify starting points and ending points, plan journeys, or search for nearby gas stations, supermarkets, and restaurants.
There is one obvious drawback – since this is an offline app, it doesn’t provide live traffic updates. This means there is a greater chance of being stuck in a traffic jam if you’re driving around in a busy city. However that hasn’t deterred us from driving thousands of kilometres through Croatia, South Africa, Latvia, Mexico, and so many other countries using the maps.me app – we love it!
Of course we’re constantly adding to this list. So we’d love to know what your favourite apps are. Tell us in the comments below 🙂