• Russell Levinson

Top 10 apps for solo & international travel

Google Maps - Absolutely essential for your safety, convenience, and can save you a ton of time with its vast public transit info and data. Always download the maps of where you will be going before leaving so you have maps even without data. You can also search for restaurants, hotels, or just about any business you can imagine including hotels. Then, read reviews from others that may help you decide on where to go/stay. The app can give you directions with options for walking, biking, driving, or public transit. Oh, it also has traffic data to make that trip as quick as possible..

Google Translate - Also an essential tool that even has the ability to translate signs and menus through your camera lens instantly. You can write, type or speak and get instant translation to just about any language.

Airline apps - Having your airline app will give you access to seating, check-in, delays, gate changes, etc through push notifications. Of course you will also have easy access to your digital boarding pass and your flight info. It is certainly worth it to download the app after booking your flight and then deleting it after you get back home.

Hotel apps - While not as important or useful as your airline app, this can come in handy as some chains allow you to choose your room, check-in digitally, and even open your room door with your phone. Its certainly worth the download for the duration of your stay.

Tripadvisor - This is essential for helping read reviews about hotels, attractions, and activities, as well as get prices, view maps, see amenities, etc. You can also book hotels through this app, and compare prices from multiple websites. It is a great place to start when looking for things to do in any city.

Whatsapp - Truly a gamechanger for international travelers, as all you need is a wifi connection to make calls, video chat, send pics, docs, or videos anywhere in the world for free. Of course, it also works when you have data, but sending large files can eat up your data quickly. This app has widely grown to over 2 billions users globally.

Uber - Another gamechanger for international travelers for two reasons. One is safety. Many countries have taxi drivers that may take advantage of tourists and some can even be dangerous. The second reason is price. Uber is often cheaper than traditional taxis and hotel transfers. You can see the price, the driver, the vehicle, and then follow along with the map, all with the app. I have used Uber in over 15 countries and always felt safe and saved money. Some countries don't have Uber like Thailand where I quickly learned about a similar service called Grab, which I used with the same success while there.

Tripit - Unlike other travel apps, TripIt can organize your travel plans no matter where you book. Simply forward your confirmation emails to and in a matter of seconds, TripIt will create a master itinerary for every trip.

Loungebuddy - If you have access to priority pass and/or Amex Centurion lounges or you are flying in business or first class, this app will take all your info and tell you if you have access to a lounge at any airport and how to get there. It also allows you to purchase one-time passes for certain lounges worldwide.

Trip Whistle - Do you know the emergency number in Thailand? Me neither, and by the time you realize you don't know the number, you may be in a world of trouble.

Dial local emergency police, fire, and ambulance phone numbers anywhere in the world with a single touch. Quickly provide critical information to emergency respondents with in-app access to your street address and GPS coordinates.

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