Traveling is always a welcome reprieve from the day-to-day grind, but let’s be honest.
It can also be stressful at times – navigating around a new city, speaking and understanding a foreign language or even knowing how many pesos or euros make a U.S. dollar can stress out the most seasoned traveler!
2 Girls Who Travel have dealt with these and many other issues in our travels, so we’re sharing how we overcame them and other common travel nightmares by using a few simple phone apps. These apps make our travel lives easier and save us time and headaches.
The Mobile Passport app was shared by a flight attendant on a trip back into the United States from abroad. She raved about its convenience and said she used it on all her international flights. Mobile Passport is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection-approved app that helps speed you through the extra-long immigration lines – if you have a U.S. or Canadian passport – by submitting your passport control and customs declarations through the app. This replaces the paper forms you receive on the plane coming back into the U.S. and makes processing faster in many major U.S. airports where Mobile Passport service is supported. Kim, who also has Global Entry, a trusted traveler program that allows expedited entry back into the U.S. for low-risk travelers, tried Mobile Passport to compare it to Global Entry on a recent trip and sure enough it was just as fast – no waiting in lines! So if you don’t have Global Entry to speed you through, Mobile Passport is the perfect app for you.
If you’re traveling where there is a possibility of poor internet connections, Maps.me is a lifesaver. The app is available for Android and Apple phones. The important detail to remember is that you have to download the map before you get to your destination where you won’t have internet access. It operates totally offline and has cool features like attractions, restaurants and landmarks with contact information. This app was our go-to for navigating around Havana, Cuba recently!
WhatsApp uses your phone’s Internet connection to send messages so you can communicate with friends and family for free (data charges could apply, so always check with your carrier). You can also make voice calls for free, even if they’re in another country. Plus, you can video call for some face-to-face time. WhatsApp voice and video calls use your phone’s Internet connection, instead of your cell plan’s voice minutes, so you can cut out expensive calling charges while abroad. The other great feature we love about WhatsApp is the ability to send photos and videos instantly, even if you’re on a slow connection. This app has been a lifesaver around the world!
Google Translate is like having an interpreter right beside you who knows more than 100 different languages. Plus, this app works offline with almost 60 languages. You can also take a picture of a sign and ask the app to translate it for you! How cool and convenient is that?!
XE Currency is one of the most highly-recommended currency converter apps on the market. It works for both Android and iPhone. When traveling abroad it’s important to know how the U.S. dollar stacks up to the currency in the country you are visiting. Are you losing money on the exchange or will your U.S. dollar go far? These are important things to know BEFORE you go and really even before you book a flight!
Uber and Lyft
Uber and Lyft are ride-share services that are available around the world. We’ve used Uber all over the U.S. and in Rome, Paris and Mexico City and Lyft is available in the U.S. and parts of Canada. Both services are super-convenient and their apps are easy to use. We have loved Uber since our first ride back in 2015 and we are also Lyft fans. Recently, Lyft has had some good promotions and discounts on rides based on your rider rating.
Netflix. Audible. Amazon Prime Video.
Don’t sleep on Netflix, Audible and Amazon Prime Video. Now we know these are entertainment apps, but they are definitely a great addition to travel. They make long flights bearable. Netflix and Amazon Prime have a download option that makes some of their shows available for download for viewing offline – a great way to binge watch a show or series on a long flight. If you are a book person, Audible is a convenient way to hear a great new book. You can download it and listen offline while laying out on the beach.
Now these are just a few of the apps we love. What are your favorite travel apps? Share your must-have travel apps in the comments!