If you own a smartphone, unlock it before you leave! (That is if it is legal.) I don’t use a data plan abroad since it is costly, but the pre-downloaded maps and locally-stored resources can be super handy. These apps and accompanying websites will make trip planning and exploring easier.
The offline maps feature on the Google Maps makes sure you won’t get lost. I personally star the places I want to visit and remove them when I’m done.
Trip Advisor has city guides so you remember the long list of top attractions. The website has great reviews, helping you narrow that down.
Wikisherpa allows you to download a local copy of the Wikitravel page for your destination. Sometimes, it doesn’t capture all the sub-points, but is great overall.
Triposo can also be a great cached guidebook.
You can plan stops on Tripomatic (Android version yet to be released), and it will help you find a route to hit those attractions efficiently. They have good data for major cities, but smaller ones, this might not be a good option.
For traveling around Europe, Rail planner lets you find a train to use with your Eurail pass or just to get from point A to B if you aren’t sure how.
Also check the destination’s tourism website. For example, Switzerland offers City Guides for popular places.
If you do have access to a data plan, there are even more resources at your fingertips. With Yelp (in the US) and Open Rice (in Hong Kong), I was never disappointed eating out. I need to find a suitable equivalent in Switzerland.
There are also some less-travel related gems I want to share. Google Sky Map is fun for evenings out. My friends love looking for constellations on a clear night with this app.
I use Dropbox to sync my phone’s photos with my computer. That way, I don’t need to transfer them manually; they’ll magically appear on my computer once I have Wi-fi.
And if you know of a good offline or image translating app, I would love to know about it.
Originally posted on halfwayaroundtheworld.studentsgoneglobal.com.