Published on May 29th, 2016 | by Mark Chesnut
9 Apps That Are Great for International Travel
Unless you’re headed to a far corner of the globe with absolutely no WiFi, staying connected while traveling out of the country is likely a major necessity. There are countless apps available that can be useful to international travelers, but these nine are some of the ones I’ve found most useful.
Facetune: If you need to fine tune your travel photos or people portraits, this app is one of the best (although it’s not free) — you can easily blur backgrounds and even smooth skin, whiten teeth and amp up the details. You can even slim yourself down and reshape your facial features, if you’d like a quick plastic surgery effect while on the road.
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Chapbooks: If you’re like me, you take way too many photos, and print almost none (that’s good for the trees, of course, but someday we may all end up with no printed photos to admire; only outdated photo formats, kind of like VHS movies). This app automatically creates printed photo books from groups of 60 photos from your Instagram app, and you can then edit or accept and get the printed book for just $8.
Facebook: Yeah, it’s nothing out of the ordinary to use Facebook. And their obsessive control over content isn’t necessarily a good thing. But this social media outlet remains one of the best ways to share lots of travel photos with a wide number of friends and family.
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Instagram: This very visually oriented app allows you to quickly add and edit photos.
Periscope: Not everyone’s on board with this yet, but it’s a fast and easy way to share live videos from your travels — and you can later share via other social media, including YouTube and Facebook (which, by the way, also now allows its own video broadcasts).
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Transit: This free app provides information about transportation in most major and mid-sized cities in the United States, as well as more than two dozen cities in Canada and 20 cities in Europe (I wish they’d make it useable in Latin America).
W Hotels: This hip brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts has an equally hip app, which allows you to stream music mixes from hotel DJs around the globe (even when you’re not staying there). It’s a great way to add a groovy, commercial-free music vibe, no matter where you are.
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Uber: Hated by taxi drivers, yes, but this part of the “sharing economy” provides a safe, convenient way to use the services of trusted and registered drivers — a big plus when you’re visiting cities where it’s not a good idea to hail a cab on the street (read my report, In Latin America, Uber Even Serves Drunk Drivers & Cyclists).
WhatsApp: The best, most widely used way to text with friends and family in other countries, for free. You can be traveling in Brazil and text your family back in the USA for free, or be at home in the USA and text your friends in Brazil. (If you’re outside of your home country, you may need WiFi to do so.)
Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via VisualHunt / CC BY