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Essential Free Travel Apps — 2016 Edition

Essential Free Travel Apps — 2016 Edition
Krishna Pérmi
Krishna Pérmi|December 31, 2016 8:10 AM

This is not a list of unique and trendy apps of the year. These are just essential, reliable popular solutions that you can depend on.

Whether you're traveling with your phone or with your laptop, these apps come to your rescue when you're away from home. I have compiled this list of apps and services considering you're travelling the world and your country may have its own list.

Google as a company provides many useful tools for travelers. You can easily find the weather of the place you're traveling to, using very simple terms. Or find out what's happening in that place with Google News. Google Flights helps you find the best price for the flights you're searching.

The Google app for mobiles provides relevant and time-to-to information via its card interface by scanning your emails and knowing your interests and location.

The Maps app or Waze app from Google are very hand for navigation if you're on road trips or if you're looking for a coffee shop near you.

Using Google Keep you can note down your travel ideas, plans or even make a checklist of important places to visit. Google Keep is available on mobile as well as the web.

Google Trips is a new addition to the slew of their app this year. I found this very useful when I was planning a short trip to a location that has a lot of places of interest. The app helps you plan the places to visit on an any particular day. You could ignore a certain places that have lesser ratings. It also pulls the flight, hotel or travel ticket info from you Gmail. All this information can be downloaded for offline use within the app.

Google Translate is very versatile translation app for the number of languages it supports: 90 languages with the words you type and about half the languages you speak, and 26 languages with the picture (of the languages you capture on your phone's camera) input. Similar to Google Trips, this app also allows offline usage if you've downloaded the necessary data prior.


This is one single app that has changed how we communicate in 2016. With its newly added support for free video calls over the internet, WhatsApp has become a standard for text, voice, and video communication world-wide. You may no longer need to use the separate free options like Viber for calls and Skype for video calls. Just install WhatsApp during travel and be in touch with your friends and family all along.


This one is my favorite travel companions. Save articles to Instapaper to read later while you're offline. I absolutely love this app on iPad during long journeys to read longform articles. You can read in the airport, on the plane, in the car, and just about anywhere. It's also one of those important things perfectly suited for use on iPad.


If you don't wish stay in a hotel that you might find costlier in certain places, Airbnb is what you all need. Air, bed and breakfast offered by individuals property owners for your homestay. Airbnb hosts share their spaces in 190 countries and more than 34,000 cities.


With Uber you don't have to be a local in a foreign place. Just fire up the Uber app and enter the destination and get moving. It is that simple. I found it very useful in a neighbouring state when some of the local taxis were deceiving and tried to overcharge me.


I depend more on TripAdvisor than Google reviews for hotels and local interests because of its very active community. It is the largest repository of destination reviews. Photo and video reviews are a big advantage. It is also a dependable service to compare hotel prices. Not only hotels, it's useful for bars, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and much more.


TripAdvisor provides the reviews of restaurant and bars but Yelp does it a lot better. Yelp is really good with local businesses. Also, Tripadvisor encourages hotels and business owners to ask travelers for reviews but Yelp discourages it. If you're looking for a place to eat in a new city, Yelp is an useful service.


WiFire is a new but a great free app that helps you find all open Wi-Fi networks around you. The app displays how far you are from the network. The app is useful for locating Wi-Fi networks at railway stations, airports, and coffee shops. Sometimes these connections are not sure and it's highly advisable to use a VPN.


If you're connecting to networks in places like hotels you need to sure about the security of the connections. VPNs protect your privacy by creating a secure connection to another network over the internet. TunnelBear is my choice because of the simpler interface and faster connectivity. TunnelBear is not completely free but the monthly cap of up to 1GB usage can be sufficient while you're travelling.

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Essential Free Travel Apps — 2016 Edition