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5 Essential Apps for International Travel

SmartphonesOur world is increasingly more and more connected; people are jumping between countries more and more often. So whether you’re traveling across countries’ borders for business or leisure, it’s important to be prepared wherever you go. With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, being prepared and being in-the-know is easier now than ever.

Best Mobile Apps for International Travel


There are plenty of translation apps, however, Converse is specifically designed to accommodate two-way conversation. Designed for the iPhone and iPad, Converse utilizes a unique dual-keyboard layout to engage two parties in conversation at once.  When you use the Converse app, your screen display divides along the horizontal axis: one side for you to type and the other for the person with whom you’re communicating. Each party will be able to type a message and after they hit send it will appear translated for the other person. Converse currently translates between English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Dutch. Although it costs $5 in the app store, the price is well worth the ability to communicate effectively!


No one likes paying the fees for SMS while abroad. WhatsApp Messenger solves this dilemma by allowing users to exchange messages via the internet. Since WhatsApp uses the same internet data plan as your email and web browsing, you can use it with no additional costs per message. Users can even create groups and send unlimited video, picture, and audio media messages. Available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Nokia S40, Symbian, and Windows Phone, WhatsApp is free to download and the perfect way for staying in touch overseas!


Paper subway maps are a thing of the past with the AllSubway app. AllSubway is a database application that contains the subway maps of the most important metropolises across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. No internet connection required to view the maps and users can zoom in and out with multitouch. AllSubway costs $0.99 and is available for both iPhone and Android and allows a single user to store up to 165 maps.


Keeping track of travel documents can be a pain, but TripIt makes it easy by automatically storing and organizing all of your travel reservations. After downloading the app, all you have to do is forward any confirmation emails you receive to plans@tripit.com and TripIt will create an easy to read itinerary for you. To make sure you’re never without your itinerary, TripIt syncs with your phone, tablet, and online calendar in addition to just tripit.com. TripIt is free to download (although you may pay for the pro version without ads) and can be used on iPhone and iPad, Android and Tablet, and for BlackBerry.

Wi-Fi Finder

Free Wi-Fi is more and more common every day in locations such as coffee shops, hotels, airports, etc. but it’s hard to know exactly where to go! Wi-Fi Finder utilizes your GPS function on your phone or tablet to locate the free Wi-Fi closest to your current location. Wi-Fi Finder is free to download on iPhone and Android, and includes over 650,000 locations in 144 countries worldwide!

XE Currency

When jumping from country to country, it’s important to have the right currency. It’s also important, however, to know how the local money compares in value to your native currency. XE Currency can convert 180+ currencies on-the-go from your phone or tablet. XE Currency includes up-to-the-minute exchange rates and allows you to simultaneously monitor 10 currencies at once. And since XE Currency will store the last updated rates, you can use it even when you’re offline. Free to download, XE Currency is available for iPhone and iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Windows 8.

A Brave New World of Mobile Apps

The phrase “There’s an app for that” seems to apply to almost anything these days. Although these are only 5 of the most helpful apps for international travel, there is a whole host of other applications out in the world that will fit whatever you need. Looking for a restaurant? Need the nearest restroom? Want to know if you’re flight’s delayed? There’s an app for all of that; you just need to pick your poison.  


Anna Albi is a graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she received a B.A. in Creative Writing with an additional major on Professional Writing. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Professional Writing, also at CMU. Feel free to reach out to her through Google+.

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