As you get ready for your next trip abroad, there are probably plenty of items on your to-do list. You need to go shopping and pack your luggage, find your passport, book your flight, arrange your accommodations, find a pet-sitter – and that isn’t even all of it! With so much on your plate, it might seem silly to add another task to tackle, but I promise – taking time to install a few apps to your smartphone before you leave on your next international trip will ultimately make your life a whole lot easier when you’re actually on vacation, enjoying your destination.
In a few short weeks, Madison and I will be once again “wheels up” as we embark on another mini vacation out of the country. If you’re looking for some useful apps to install before your next international vacation, here are some of the most helpful ones I’ve found to make life easy when traveling abroad:
Whether or not you use Gmail and rely on other Google products and tools to get you through your day, Google Trips is a must-have for any traveler looking for an easy way to make plans and organize details – and when you’re traveling abroad, there are often a few more details to arrange than usual. This handy app will keep track of your flight information and boarding passes, hotel reservations, car rental arrangements, and scheduled activities, and it offers plenty of other useful functionality, like useful maps and suggested attractions and itineraries.
MOBILE PASSPORT CONTROL
This no-frills app was designed with one purpose in mind – to help you get through the customs process faster. Who doesn’t want to do that? This app lets you digitally answer the inspection questions you’d otherwise answer by completing a physical form, and as long as everything checks out, you’re presented with a QR code to scan upon arrival – and that’s it! As long as the service is available at your airport of choice, you’ll be able to save a significant amount and stress here.
If you’re looking for ways to stay busy at your vacation destination, the Viator app can be a great help. This app provides an easy way to review the tourist attractions, activities, and tours available at your destination, letting you do a bit of research and plan your day from the comfort of your hotel room, the breakfast table, or your morning stroll. You can even use the app to book tickets and secure skip-the-line passes from certain attractions, which can be a huge time-saver in major tourist destinations like Paris.
Chances are, your trip abroad involves an unfamiliar currency, which can make managing your money and sticking to a budget a bit of a challenge. If you aren’t comfortable doing mental math and converting prices to better understand what you’re spending, this app is hugely helpful. It frequently checks for the most up-to-date exchange rates, giving you the most accurate idea of what you’re really spending on your meal, souvenir, or cab ride. If you’re traveling to a destination known for swindling tourists and travelers, this app can be a lifesaver when it comes to uncovering scams and rip-offs.
If you’re booking a trip abroad, chances are you’ve sorted out your accommodations long before you boarded your plane. Still, it’s smart to come equipped with a back-up plan in case something falls through. Don’t say it never happens – from overbookings at your original hotel to weather-induced delays that leave you stuck in an unexpected city for a couple of days; you should always come prepared to make last-minute arrangements if needed.
My favorite app for this is HotelTonight, a hotel-booking app that specifically offers last-minute deals to help travelers in a pinch – or who simply want to explore on a whim. You can typically land an upscale room in a great part of town for a surprisingly reasonable price, making it a great alternative when you’re forced to change your plans.
From apps to help you organize your itinerary and manage your money to ones that help you find ways to enjoy your destination, there are plenty of helpful tools you can install on your phone or tablet before you travel abroad – these are just a few of my favorites!