Travel App Round Up II
Last week, we took a look at GPS Horror Stories and highlighted multiple ways drivers end up off-course. In an unfortunate turn of circumstances, we now heavily rely on technology not only for communication, but also to get us places. Gone are the arduous days of pulling a paper map from the back seat of the family van, but the days of struggling to follow a blue dot across a smartphone screen are upon us.
To help relieve some stress, we took a look at some popular travel apps. In an effort to keep your arsenal of go-to apps updated, another set of helpful options is included below. Traveling within the US is made easy because, well, we are used to it. However, this week we take you across the pond to non-English speaking countries and make things a little easier.
The first way to find trouble in another country is misreading important signs. Preventing constant frustration and confusion, Word Lens makes pocket translators a thing of the past. Download Word Lens (free), then purchase the necessary language pack ($4.99) as an in-app-purchase. Once loaded, the magic begins. Simply point your iPhone at the sign, text, description and a live translated view will show. The words actually change to English as you watch the app translate the necessary phrase. Most importantly, there is no network required for the app to operate, preventing a service charge. If the sign is too far away to get a good look, simply type the words into the translator for an instant translation.
Another language translation app is published by Google. The Google Translate app allows the user to translate words and phrases by typing the entry or speaking the phrase into the app. Translations will work in 64 languages. Additionally, speaking into the app in English will provide a spoken response in any of 24 languages. Translations are offered in a full screen mode, making them easy to share with those around you and a history section provides quick translations while off-line. In Google fashion, the app is offered as a free download.
Because languages are not the only trouble with traveling abroad, there are multiple currency translators in the App Store. Powered by www.XE.com, the free XE Currency app will convert every world currency and is offered for free. The app displays currently updated proprietary currency rates, tracking charts and, if you are off-line, stores last known rates. When connected, the rates are updated every minute, including precious metals. In addition to straight raw data, a currency converter is included to help for exact amounts.
Traveling abroad can cause a long-distance phone-call nightmare. To avoid buying a plan in the visited country, rely on WiFi based communication apps to keep in touch with loved ones still stateside. As a reminder, using iMessage allows communication between any iOS devices, regardless of physical location. Using FaceTime is also available on iOS devices and will offer voice-only calls in iOS 7. However, not everyone uses an Apple device. There are a lot of options, but Skype still reigns supreme. Offering the ability to text and video chat for free, Skype is the best option for all smartphones. Additionally, after purchasing credits, the user can call mobile and landlines across the world for a cheaper price than adding network access in another country.
Traveling internationally is made simple with Yelp. If you are looking for a great place to eat but want to see the menu, get a phone number, or even directions, Yelp is the free one stop shop. Powered primarily by user reviews, Yelpers are quick to offer advice for other users who want a quick look at restaurant locations. Even better, augmented reality provides the user with a real world view of the local hot spots. Turning on the Monocle view and holding the phone at eye level, Yelp overlays a pop up info window for restaurants in the vicinity. Spin the phone around to see what is near you and tap the boxes for a full profile.
Do you have any favorite travel apps? Share your story with us on Facebook.