The temperature is dropping (along with the air quality) and Christmas is just around the corner. But just because the weather is cooler, doesn’t mean it’s time to pack away your suitcase and retire your passport. There are still plenty of incredible places to visit during the winter months!
Like any professional, the crafty traveler is only as good as her tools; and these days, most of us carry our toolbox around in our pocket. So we scoured the Internet to find you the most helpful travel apps of 2018! Before you head off on your next adventure, switch on your VPN (or see our first recommendation if you don’t have one) and start downloading!
If you live in #China and you don’t have a VPN already—what are you waiting for?! ExpressVPN isn’t free, but it is one of the most reliable VPNs in China. Plus, they constantly update their program to evade the Great Fire Wall. If you are visiting China and you don’t know what a VPN is, do a quick Google search before arriving. Most of the helpful apps on this list will require one.
Y’all, if you aren’t already traveling with TripIt, it’s seriously pretty cool. Keep all of your flights, hotels, excursions, and confirmations in one master itinerary that you can share with your other adventure partners. Just send your confirmations to the app and it compiles everything for you! The pro version costs a bit of money, but the basic version is free.
Ok, does anybody else ever get to a destination and realize they have forgotten something incredibly important? Like toothpaste or underwear? (Yes, this has happened IRL.) We’ve all been there. Don’t forget anything again with this handy app. Just tell PackPoint where you are going and what you will be doing, and it will create a list of things to pack (which is also completely customizable). I’m a sucker for checklists, so this one gets me all kinds of excited. Plus, you can import your list into TripIt, so everything is in one convenient place.
Does your trip include a long flight, bus ride, layover, beach day, or any form of relaxation? Of course it does. Which is why you need reading material. Of course, you can’t lug along a ton of heavy books—so download this helpful app that allows you to check out digital books from your home library! All you need is a library card number and you can have a whole library at your fingertips anywhere you go! Oh yeah, and it’s free.
WeChat makes splitting bills amongst friends super easy, but what if you are traveling somewhere that doesn’t accept WeChat? Enter Splittr, the app that allows you to easily split costs with friends. Just input your travel expenses as you go and at the end of your trip, Splittr will send you a document with the split costs for your entire party.
We all know that half the point of traveling is to snap up those Instagram-able photos worthy of WeChat moments. If you are looking to up your photography game, check out 500px. It is a platform for professional photography that will inspire your wanderlust while also providing the technical information for each photo so you can improve your skills.
This may not be as sexy as the other apps, but it is the most downloaded currency exchange app on the market. If you are traveling to a destination with foreign currency, use this to make sure you aren’t getting fleeced at the exchange table. Plus, it feels less like spending Monopoly money when you know how much the currency is worth.
This app touts “hyper-local forecasts”. Meaning it will tell you the weather exactly where you are standing minute by minute. So are you unsure if you should call off your hike early because it’s pouring rain? Dark Sky can tell you that the rain will stop in fifteen minutes, so you can continue your trek.
If you are traveling to a new destination, it’s usually a good idea to know a little about the language and culture of your locale. Otherwise you may risk coming across as the dreaded “T” word—tourist. Memrise offers hundreds of classes in over 200 languages. Subjects range from language lessons to cultural and historical courses. Plus, the topics are fun and the interface is easy to use. Be a traveler, not a tourist.
This is one of my favorite apps since moving to China. Marco Polo allows you to communicate with friends and family via recorded group video chats. It’s a great way to stay up to date with loved ones even if you are multiple time zones apart. Share all of your adventures no matter where you are. Plus, it’s free—which is always pretty awesome.
Traveling in 2018 will be easier than ever with these apps at your disposal! Plus, you will be a savvy traveler no matter where your adventures take you. Which of these have you tried already? Are there any that we missed?
*Originally published for OkDeal! Travel based in Shanghai, China. You can see the original article here.