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Having the best smartphone applications for your trip can save you money, hassle and a lot of time wasted on planning that could be spent enjoying your vacation. There are innovative apps that do everything from map out your itinerary to book you an affordable last-minute hotel room that you probably wouldn't have found otherwise. However, one of the downsides of travel apps is that they're most effective on the go but require Internet access to work. You don't want to accumulate a hefty roaming fee or spend your afternoon searching for a cafe with free WiFi.
Whether you're a backpacker or simply prefer to have a map of your location handy for reference, if you like to rely on your smartphone to assist you on your journeys, download these apps that don't require a WiFi connection. You get everything that you would from a regular app wherever you need it. Here are four of the best offline apps for your next vacation.
1. World Lens
If you happen to be traveling overseas, you'll probably need to have a tool on hand that helps you translate the local language. This is especially true if you're traveling solo and don't have a companion to assist you. Use the World Lens app to guide you as you learn to interact with locals in a foreign language.
All you have to do is snap a photo of a sign, written instructions or food labels and the app will automatically translate the writing to your language of choice. World Lens could be a lifesaver if you're dining at a local restaurant and can't read the menu - take a picture and the app will translate the available dishes for you. The app is available through the iTunes store for iPhones. It costs $9.99, but past users have deemed it more than worthy of the one-time expense.
2. Google Maps
You may be surprised to find out that Google Maps has been rated by Royal Caribbean International travel experts as one of the best offline apps on the market, as most smartphone owners rely on it solely for online use.
Google Maps is available offline to enable travelers to pull up the map of their destination wherever they are to ensure they never get lost. However, Google Maps does require a little bit of planning because you have to search for the map you want to download while in a WiFi zone and then save it for future reference. Just go to "Your Places" on the bottom of your screen and choose "Offline Maps." You can zoom as far in or out as you need before saving your map depending on how detailed you want the map to be when you'll need it.
If you happen to have a TripIt account, don't forget to download the convenient TripDeck app for your iPhone at no charge. According to Appstorm, you simply log into your web-based TripIt account and upload your itinerary, including everything from your airfare, hotel information and travel schedule. Once you download the app, all of this information will be readily available to you when and where you need to access it. This is the perfect app for those planning business travel, as it's never been easier to create and access your schedule and confirmation information on the go.
4. XE Currency
XE Currency is free for your smartphone and serves as an easy way to stay up to date on current exchange rates. TripHackr recommended the app if you plan on visiting multiple countries in one trip, as exchange rates can be hard to keep track of because they're constantly changing. It's important to have a general idea of how much you're spending. Use the app to enter any currency and convert it to U.S. dollars so you aren't buying souvenirs or hotel rooms without knowing exactly how much they're costing you.
Similarly, if you're at the ATM and don't know how many Turkish Lire to withdraw, XE Currency can help by telling you exactly how much you need. Conde Nast Traveler magazine pointed out that the only catch is you have to add all of the currencies you plan to use while your phone is connected to WiFi in order to convert them while you're offline.