Smartphones can be your best friend when traveling abroad. Your phone can be your “go to” for keeping track of your travel documents and reservations, and it can help manage and save your money.
The first order of business is finding out if your phone is unlocked or can be unlocked. You must be able to add SIM cards from countries you are traveling to so you can make use of the phone network in the country. This also will allow you to use 3G or 4G technology for internet services if you so choose.
Having internet services on your phone can immensely help you when traveling abroad. First and foremost, you can access Google Maps or Waze and use their GPS system to find your location and help you navigate. It will also help you find places of interest, restaurants, hotels, and shopping nearby. This can save an endless amount of time and money.
A currency converter is an essential app to make sure you know what you are spending and what things cost in your own currency. They are easy to use and are kept accurate with updated daily exchange rates. XE.com is one of the most popular currency conversion websites, and it has its own app called XE Currency.
If you need to keep track of money you are spending on your time abroad, download the Smart Receipts app. It can scan your receipts and organize them by category and currency. It can even build expense reports into PDF files or CSV files for Excel.
Ever wonder how much you should tip in another country? There is an app for that too. Download the Global Tipping Guide to find out the etiquette for the countries you are visiting.
Need a way to get around? Download the Uber app. You can preprogram it with a credit card, PayPal account, or let Uber know you prefer to pay cash. Once downloaded the Uber app knows your location and you just add your destination. You will instantly know how much a ride will cost, how close a driver is, and how far away your destination is. In many cases, Uber will be cheaper than hailing a taxi.
Every online travel company and airline has its own app. These are invaluable to get you the information you are looking for when traveling and can save you lots of time and money when comparing hotels, flights, and car rentals.
If you need to communicate with others in another country, or call home, and don’t want to use your prepaid plan or add to your phone bill, you can download an array of easy-to-use apps you can call on for free to anyone using the same app around the world. Provided you have access to WiFi. All of these apps provide excellent service and great communication. Some of the most popular are WhatsApp, Skype, Messenger, Viber, and Tango.
Don’t forget that YouTube is free to use on your phone if you’re connected to WiFi. YouTube can provide you with lots of videos that people just like you posted about where you are going. It is a great way to get some tips from people who already have been there.
You can even watch U.S. TV for free when traveling. Just go to your web browser and lookup USTVnow. There you can enjoy live channels for free of ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and Fox.
And the best part about all these apps is they’re free to download to your phone.