Helpful Travel Apps That Don’t Require Wi-Fi

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Travel apps can be an indispensable tool for navigating smoothly through almost any situation you find yourself in life on the road, allowing you to avoid inconveniences or giving shortcuts and insights you might otherwise not have access to. And while you may wonder how you ever survived without them, there’s an Achilles heel to the technology: connectivity. A poor connection (or none at all) and lack of Wi-Fi can suddenly become the bane of your travel existence.

Fortunately you can still have your apps and use them too. There are a number of excellent travel apps available that provide either partial or full functionality without cell or internet access, and that won’t leave you in the lurch (unless your battery dies, but that’s another story). Here are a few apps that will make travel life better during those times of no connection.

Yes, it’s possible to get Google Maps offline if you plan ahead, but it’s not the only mapper out there. With Citymaps, you can download maps of all your destinations ahead of time, and access them later for directions and recommendations. The app also allows you to specify types of locations to include, such as hotels, restaurants, event spaces, shopping, itineraries and even Starbucks. Or map a grid of suggested attractions from local curators, or publications like Eater and Travel + Leisure. Avenza Maps is another option for more specialized maps, where you can download pdf’s from a long list of vendors and categories, such as hiking maps from the National Park Service, bike paths or city tour guides.

Keeping track of flight information is an essential part of traveling, whether it’s for yourself or a conference VIP. App in the Air lets you track the status of your flight, from check-in and boarding to departure and arrival, all without an internet connection. You’ll even receive text message notifications if you’re already onboard and don’t have Wi-Fi. It can also pull in other flight details through its integration with Tripit – an app that takes travel info from emails (flights, hotels, rental cars, events) and organizes it into a single itinerary.

Staying on top of travel expenses can be a messy affair, especially if you have to account for other planners or attendees in your group. Splittr allows you to plug in an expense you label yourself, followed by the cost and the name of the payee. At the end of the trip, you can generate a pdf report of expenses, who paid what and how much. The app also supports multiple currencies for international meetings.

Speaking of overseas meetings, XE Currency is the go-to app for converting US dollars to and from euros, pesos, yuan, or anywhere else in the world you happen to be. Download the currencies you expect to use, and you’ll be able check how much that dinner entrée costs in dollars, or how much you’re getting out of the ATM. It works offline, with exchange rates updated whenever your phone comes within range of Wi-Fi.

Long flights and layovers are the perfect time to tune in or catch up on your favorite podcast. With Pocket Casts, you can automatically download selected episodes for offline playback and sync them with your other devices. The app notifies you of new episodes, and includes a host of other features such as a sleep timer that pauses playback while you nap.

Another indispensable app for traveling to international meetings, the app for Google Translate lets you save the languages you’ll need on your trip and access them later. You can translate 52 languages offline, and enjoy features such as instant camera translation. Just snap a photo of a menu description or street sign and the translation pops up instantly.

One of the bigger technological challenges of life on the go is functioning without everyone’s favorite online resource: Google. The crutch of choice to get you through those unconnected times is Offline Browser, an app that lets you download pages from the internet and save it for offline reading. Any links embedded on those downloaded pages are accessible as well. The app is currently only available for Android phones.

Photo credits: Shutterstock.com

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and blogger based in San Jose, California. He has covered the meetings and hospitality industry extensively since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @jcax01

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