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Top smartphone apps for travelers

By: Jack White
For teachers headed overseas, one of the smartest things to pack (and maybe among the lightest!) is a smartphone. Leave the travel guides, multilingual dictionaries, and GPS at home and instead download these apps to help you get the most out of your teaching overseas experience.

FlightAware (free/Android, iOS):

Check your flight arrival and departure times in real-time, anywhere in the world. This app spares you any nasty surprises when you arrive at the airport. If you’re still stuck on the tarmac, FlightAware can’t help you – but it can provide you useful info that the flight crew might not be sharing with the cabin.

TripAdvisor (free/Android, iOS):

Explore your destination before you’ve even left for the airport with this valuable app. It also allows you to bookmark hotels, attractions, landmarks, and restaurants that you might want to check out – and save the essential information for offline use.

Word Lens (free/iOS, Android):

Not even sure how to type the text you’re trying to decipher? This useful app just needs a photo to provide you with an English translation. While it is a free app, the language packs do require an in-app purchase.

Google Goggles (free/iOS, Android):

Google Glass is a cool concept but a terrible fashion move. This app allows you to use your smartphone to access the same information without looking like a total nerd. Point your camera at the landmark, building, or establishment and you’ll be provided with relevant information pulled from the Internet.

FourSquare (free/iOS, Android):

A great app for checking nearby landmarks, cafes, and restaurants, FourSquare started as a social network marketing tool but is now a terrific resource for travelers worldwide. Get tips from fellow tourists and locals, and find out about Happy Hour deals and discount certificates during your stay.

Galileo ($4/iOS):

Maps are essential for navigating around a new city, and this handy mapping application downloads Street Map data for offline use. Great for Starbucks or hotel wifi pit stops that can later be used on the go.  

Wi-Fi Finder (free/iOS, Android):

The modern traveler is always on the lookout for decent wifi hotspots, and this app is here to help. It not only detects nearby spots that are free, it provides directions to the nearest source.

WhatsApp Messenger ($0.99/iOS, free/Android):

For a small fee on iOS and a free download on Android, you can use this app to keep in touch with friends back home and abroad for free. While standard data charges apply, you won’t get stung for unlimited texting, pictures, videos, sound clips, and GPS links.


Do you have apps that you’ve used that have been a lifesaver while abroad? Share with other teachers below!

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