The Top Five Travel Apps for Android Phone Users
Twenty years ago, when I first started travelling around the world, I never dreamed that I would write an article called The Top Five Travel Apps for Android Phone Users. Back then, private email was still something of a novelty, and when I travelled around Australia for the first time, I was still picking up “poste restante” letters. Check out 20 ways in which travel has changed in 20 years for more information on that!
It is only in the last five years or so that smartphones have really come into their own, and whilst some people may prefer Apple products, there are far more Android phone users. As well as being an essential companion in everyday modern life, they have also become incredibly useful for anyone looking to travel around the world, and below are the top five travel apps for Android phone users.
Long gone are the days of standing on a strange street in a foreign country with a badly designed tourist map in one hand, trying to work out where the local attractions are! Google maps is possibly one of the most used, useful, and underrated apps available for Android users today. Not only is the ability to zoom in and out on the map a godsend, but there are also a wealth of other features that most users may not even be aware of. One of those is the “Lattitude” feature, which enables connected people to see each others positions on a map. This is amazingly useful for anyone looking to meet up with friends or contacts in a city one is a visitor too. The “Local” feature is also excellent news for anyone looking to find places to eat, sleep or visit. All in all, Google maps is one of the most impressive travel apps for Android phone users, and on occasion, it's hard to remember back to those days when it was not available.
It would be fair to say that Skype has revolutionised communications for people all around the world. First released in 2003, its evolution and then migration onto Android smartphones was inevitable. At its basic level, it allows people with an internet connection to communicate with each other by calling, video calling or messaging all for free. There are also various bolt on options available which offer other interesting possibilities, and the one that I use, is a subscription based service that lets me call landlines for free in the country of my choice. It costs about 20 pounds a year (don't quote me on that!), and I have chosen the UK to be the country that I can call into for free. This means that when I am travelling, I am able to call people on their landlines in the UK and it doesn't cost me a penny. I can't say just how much money this has saved me over the years – In some of the most expensive countries, I have paid nearly a pound a minute to dial home!
Evernote may not immediately spring to mind as a travel app, but it has a wide range of uses that can all be utilised by travellers. Evernote is specifically designed for note taking and archiving (I have actually written this article on Evernote!), but there are also many other features, which when used to their fullest, help make Evernote an essential travel companion. Examples of how to use it include keeping a diary, taking photos of receipts which can then be “read” by the system, being able to upload photos, keeping important notes, passwords and photocopies in one place and much more. At first, I didn't really understand just what Evernote had to offer, but after spending some time with it, I find it to be invaluable.
Love them or loathe them, Google have some excellent apps, and Translate is the perfect example of this. Its really useful for people travelling through a country where they don't know the language, and can be used to translate menus, work out greetings, or find words that are on the tip of the tongue bu are just out of reach. In my opinion, it works well with short phrases, but trying to translate sentences of any length will result in some classic comedy moments!
Whether you are into different variations of solitaire, arcade games or strategy games, there are any number of game apps that Android users can choose from. Personally, I prefer card games and chess from those available on Android, and they can be the perfect distraction during a wait at the airport, long bus ride or camp-site at night. Not all travelling is fun and excitement – Some of it can involve quite boring bits in between, and game apps for Android smartphones can really help to keep a traveller sane!