Few things are more frustrating when traveling abroad than not having mobile service or an internet connection. Thanks to a few handy apps that function without a data plan or Wi-Fi, you can still get around, message your fellow travelers and even translate a restaurant menu. Read on for a handful of apps that will help your vacation run smoothly—plus two to help you plan your getaway.
Of course, our favorite way to come up with an idea for your next vacation is with the Endless Vacation® magazine app (iTunes, Android; free). On it, you’ll find all of the great stories you do in the magazine—plus bonus articles, videos, interactive extras, 360-degree images and more. If you know where you want to go, you can search for related content. Or you can browse by issue and check out the From the Web section to stumble upon an escape you hadn’t considered before. To access content offline, simply tap the down arrow in the top right corner and you’ll be able to read that issue without Wi-Fi.
Plan Your Trip
We like to think of TripRider (iTunes; $4.99) as a digital folder that keeps all of your travel details in one place. A top-notch planning tool (especially if there are several people in your group), TripRider plots out itineraries, budgets expenses and organizes packing lists. It can also save images of documents, transfer files between travel companions and create printable PDFs of your final plans. The free version, TripRider Lite (iTunes), has fewer features.
Triposo (iTunes, Android; free) grants you access to offline city guides—currently, 50,000—with tons of practical information from transportation to weather as well as tidbits on history and culture. There’s also a trove of recommendations for where to eat and what to do. You can browse picks for each city (such as Best Brunches or Must-See Art Museums), pull up a lineup of festivals and events or use the map function to explore.
Looking for the best way to get from point A to point B? Navigation app Maps.me (iTunes, Android; free) covers most major cities and doesn’t require internet to plan a route, so travelers can search for and find directions to points of interest (via walking, biking or driving), gas stations, Wi-Fi hot spots and the like.
If you’re traveling with someone else and don’t have an international phone plan, FireChat (iTunes, Android; free) is a relatively simple way to stay in touch. The texting app works through Bluetooth, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi or a mesh network—that’s to say, without requiring internet access. The catch? Don’t wander too far from each other or you’ll get out of the 30-foot range.
There’s a downloadable version of the constantly improving Google Translate (iTunes, Android; free), which covers more than 100 languages. At a loss for words? Type or voice record a phrase, and voilà! The foreign-language equivalent will appear on-screen. For select tongues, you can also snap photos of signs. The offline rendition acts as a cheat sheet or phrasebook and has a robust lexicon (although it’s a little more limited than the online version).
- Consult your wireless provider for fees. Rates may apply.
- NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
- Published: February 2018