Top 13 travel apps for volunteers
As an avid traveller, I am constantly on the look out for great travel apps to make my life easier. Here are some of my top 13 travel apps for volunteering abroad – both great before you go and once you are aware!
Before you go
Skyscanner is a brilliant way to see the different route options available for you chosen destination and how much these cost. If you are flexible with your departure dates you can easily check out the prices for a few dates, and choose when to go according to the best fares. The same goes if you can fly from several airports and want to check which airport is better value to fly from. Ideal for the planning stages!
2. Packing Pro
With Oyster Worldwide you will get a really comprehensive list of things that you will need to take for your project, but sometimes you just need that helping hand to work out just how much stuff you need to take. This app is just like having your mum helping you, just without the folding of the underwear and the cramming into the bag. Tell the app where you’re going and how long for and it’ll produce a suggested list of what you might need, split up into essentials (passport, currency), clothes, gadgets and more.
3. Trip Advisor
Getting excited for your trip? Want to plan all that you can, and learn what other travellers advise? Look no further than Trip Advisor, where you will find reviews of attractions, restaurants and places to stay. Beware- most of the Trip Advisor users are keen to let you know how bad their experience was, so take each tip with a pinch of salt! If you see a plethora of exclamation marks, avoid this advice like the plague.
Duolingo is a free and incredibly well-designed language learning app. Whilst it is clearly no replacement for proper language tuition and learning, this app is a great way to get to know the basics. It can also help you with grammar and vocabulary and is designed like a game with levels to achieve before you advance to the next level of learning. For the competitive ones out there, and those who need to learn in a fun environment, this is beyond idea.
5. Weather Pro
Probably designed with the Brits in mind so that you can discuss weather even whilst overseas, this is a great app to use to know what sort of packing is required for your trip! This weather forecasting app has data that extends to well over 2 million locations to give highly accurate forecasts. Other information which can be useful is humidity and wind chill. Don’t go overseas without this again!
6. Citymaps 2go
If your travels will be taking you to a city, this is like having the entire workings of the city in your pocket. Make sure to download your destination city’s map before you go, and it will cleverly link up to wi-fi whilst you are away and help you plot where you are in the city, and how to get to the places that you want to reach!
Whilst you are away
7. XE Currency converter
Hurrah! The days of complicated mathematical calculations trying to work out how much something actually costs (ie in a currency language that you understand) are finally over. This great travel app makes life super duper easy when you are trying to work out if something is good value or within your budget. Life overseas made easy.
This is an app that is designed to keep mum and dad happy whilst you are on your gap year – a database of emergency service numbers for just about every country you’re likely to visit – and many that you’re not! You can also upgrade the app to have the details of your embassy should you lose your passport or similar.
9. Entrain / Jet Lag Genie
These travel apps aim to solve the greatest problem of all for long haul travellers – how to beat the jet lag. This scientifically created app allows you to input your travel dates and destination, and then hey presto – offers you advice on how to prepare for your journey and adjust your sleeping patterns in readiness.
10. Onavo Extend
This app has led to a travel revolution for social media-ites. If you are someone who is constantly updating your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds, this app is for you. This app allows you to dramatically reduce your data roaming charges when you are using heavy data such as emails and photos. How does it work? Err, good question, but it seems to! All we know is that once installed, this app drastically reduces the amount of data required! Whilst we would not advise ruining the trip of a lifetime by spending your entire time online, this is great way to have a little smug moment once in a while without the enormous roaming charges!
11. Wi-Fi Finder
This app is similar in premise to Onavo Extend – but enables you to hunt out where the closest wi-fi spots are for even cheaper online access. This app works out your closest wi-fi hot spots according to your location services or your search preferences.
I have yet to meet a Whatsapp user that doesn’t love it. Just like sending a text, but free, this is fantastic for keeping in touch with friends and family back at home – as well as new chums that you have made whilst overseas. Data is sent using either wi-fi or your phone’s web package and you get a convenient little tick to show you that your message has been received.
This could be the old-school in me coming out, but I love this idea! Touchnote allows you to send create and send physical postcards cards bearing your own travel snaps and text to anywhere in the world, for a thoroughly reasonable price. Just select your favourite travel snap, submit it together with the destination address, and it will be printed and sent off to the recipient. Hurray!
There are loads of great other travel apps out there, and if there is anything that you think could be useful, it probably exists! Please note that not all apps will be available for the different countries that you are going to, so make sure to do your research before you go.