Mobile Apps for Travel Part II: Ready? Set, Jet!

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Okay, so a while ago we wrote an article on some of the best apps for travel, including: Airbnb, HopperTripit, Wordreference, and Google Translate. With summer fast approaching, its time to update our phones and get ready for our beach vacays. My favorite mobile app will always be Instagram, but here is an updated list of some of the apps we missed the first time around.

Language

Babbel

Babbel was one of the first online language apps. You can use it to learn fourteen different languages. That is crazy! Definitely more productive than listening to Beyoncé on the way to work. The app works by helping you build a grammar and vocabulary foundation, in order to have real life conversations. You can listen to dialogues and practice pronunciation. Best of all, you have the ability to customize the app so that it works for your learning style.

Duolingo

Duolingo is another great option for learning a language. It breaks up the courses and organizes them into “bite-sized” lessons. Sort of like the Pizza bites of language apps. The app uses fun symbols to get you motivated -the flame symbolizes a streak and hearts represent correct answers. Plus, the little green bird is adorable. Like Babbel, you can also practice pronunciation and listening.

General Travel

Booking.com

Booking.com helps you to find deals while booking and organizing your trips, securely, without reservation fees. It has an unreal hotel/hostel selection, so you can be sure to find whatever it is you are looking for, anywhere, with any budget. The reviews are helpful for narrowing down your choices. You can also use it to rent cars, but remember that you need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Spain, and that if you are under 25 years old, you might have to pay an extra insurance fee. **Helpful hint** You can get $15 off if you refer a friend. Remember, sharing is caring!

Find My iPhone

Findmyiphone is obviously only for iPhone users, but it can be a real lifesaver if your phone does get stolen. The police might be able to use it to track down and recover your phone. The app also helps you to send alerts, remotely lock your device, and to erase any personal information.

Google Maps

You are probably already familiar with Google Maps. Here’s the thing, maps take on a whole new level of importance when you are traveling, especially if you are low on data and there no wifi in the pueblo you are exploring. This is why: 1. You can use the app to get tips about museums, restaurants, bars, parks, spas, stores, and pretty much anything else you could possibly think of in your area. So when you and your girls are starving, you can make a well-informed decision instead of wandering into the nearest place. 2. You can save your searches and star locations so that you can use the map without wifi. MAGIC!

Hailo

Hailo is an app very similar to Uber, Cabify, or Mytaxi, which are other good options when you can’t find a taxi. Its easy, fast, and trustworthy. What’s not to like?

Hitlist

If you want to travel more for less, Hitlist is a great find! Hitlist lets you set a number of filters that you can set yourself or choose from a predetermined list. Another great feature? You can see where your friends have been so that you can get even more ideas. After you fill in your preferences, the company will send you alerts if they find a flight or a special deal that you might be interested in. That means less work for you and more travel…so here I come Hawaii!

Kwickie

Kwickie combines social media and video so that you can send public or private video messages to your friends/family/fans (so my cat). In all seriousness though, it’s a nice way to make your messages more personal while you are away from loved ones.

Orbitz

Orbitz is like Booking.com. On both websites, you plug-in the dates that you are looking for and the location. Click under the Sort By, to arrange the recommendations in order of what’s most important to you: distance from downtown, price, guest rating, and recommended. There are other filters that you can add as well, if you are interested in narrowing down the results further. With Orbitz, you can book flights, hotels, cars, and activities. Each time you book, you get reward points, which is always a perk!

Trip.com

Trip.com, not to be confused with Tripit.com, is an amazing source of travel inspiration. They provide itineraries, restaurant and bar recommendations, nightlife plans, sight-seeing ideas, shopping tips, and info about local transportation. This is in addition to the hotel and flight suggestions that connect you to major booking companies, like Orbitz and Booking.com so that you can reserve immediately. Even if you aren’t traveling, you can check out their ideas for what to do in your local city if you want an adventure!

VSCO

VSCO is the ultimate in photo editing apps. It allows you to change the brightness and saturation, while also providing additional filters to help you differentiate your Instas. You can also use the app to post photos and connect with other photographers. Sure it’s not going to help you catch that flight, but photos are an important way for remembering all the places you have seen, people you have met, and experiences you have had. So take lots!

Whatsapp

Whatsapp is the texting app of choice for many Spaniards. Its like what BBM was for Blackberries, but its for everyone. Woohoo democracy! But seriously, Spanish people don’t text- they Whatsapp you, so this is a lifesaver for staying in touch with new friends, networking, or calling your boss. The app is totally free so be sure to download it soon.

Madrid

Deliveroo

Deliveroo is one of the most popular home delivery methods in Madrid. On the website you can find any restaurant you want (they have over 6,000 choices), and its on your doorstep fast. You do have to place your order through the app on your phone, but it’s so easy, you’ll be wishing I didn’t tell you about it.

Metro Madrid

Metro Madrid is an essential app for staying informed about any changes in service, directions, approximate waiting times, or just checking the map.

Mytaxi

Mytaxi was mentioned above, and is basically a taxi-ordering service, but it is specific to Madrid. It works with the available taxis in the area so that you get where you want to go in no time!

RealMadrid

Want to know how to snag a Madrileño cutie? Talk football. No, we are not talking about the Rose Bowl (which I almost wrote as Ball… sorry dad!). Football meaning soccer. Maybe you were way cooler than I was when I moved to Madrid, and already like soccer, but if you are looking for an adoptive hometown team, pick Real Madrid. They are the champions. Or just Google Marcelo and tell me you aren’t in love… I won’t believe you. Anyway this app will keep you up to date on scores, games, etc. If nothing else, it’s a good conversation starter, if you can talk about last nights game or the rivalry between Real Madrid and Atletico.

Skype/Facetime

Skype and Facetime are both well-known video chatting options. Trust us, life abroad is fun, but sometimes its tough being away from home. These apps help you to stay in touch and “see” each other whenever you want. One note about Skype, is that it is probably better for professional purposes, so if you have to talk to a professor or have a job interview, we would recommend Skype.

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About the Author

Anna Whetzle is a native New Yorker currently teaching English in Madrid, Spain. She graduated from Bates College, a small liberal arts college in Maine, where she studied history and Spanish, but mostly just tried to stay warm. After graduation, she packed up and moved to Spain. She loves traveling (experiencing the different places mostly through getting lost/ food/ history/art in that order) and meeting new people. Feel free to connect with her on social media and to check out her other articles!

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