Europe is one of the top travel destinations in the world, and with good reason. History, culture, food – Europe has a lot going for it. Given the number of countries, customs and languages, it can sometimes be tricky to navigate, especially for the first time visitor. Thanks to technology though, there are a number of mobile device applications that can help us navigate our way through the Old World; here are my favorites.
EuroRailways – One of the best aspects of traveling around Europe is taking advantage of the phenomenal train service. The train system is so fast and efficient, that cars are completely unnecessary when touring and planes are only needed for very long distances. The train tables can be confusing though, so I use this app to help organize my trip and figure out what kind of Eurail pass I need to buy. This is perfect for anyone traveling around Europe, especially on a budget.
Lonely Planet – I love travel guides; almost any brand about any area of the world. I do have some favorites, such as Rick Steves, Frommers and of course Lonely Planet. I love the approach Lonely Planet takes because their philosophy is very close to mine: that travel is about really understanding a destination and experiencing it, not just looking at it. In addition to being a comprehensive, mobile travel guide, the apps also supply the same unique destination background as do their award winning guide books. I’ve downloaded several and am amazed at the how much more I learn from the experience and how much more efficiently I am able to navigate my way around with the guides than on my own.
Cost – Varies
AllSubway HD – This is one of my favorite apps for the iPhone and I was thrilled to see that they adapted it for the iPad as well. Simply put, AllSubway compiles comprehensive metro and light rail maps for more than 100 cities around the world and puts them at your fingertips.
If you’ve traveled to a new city, then you are probably familiar with the feeling of looking at an alien transit map and wondering who concocted such a thing and how on earth do you use it? The AllSubway app is a good step forward to helping you get around a new city without looking lost.
I love this app because I can quickly and easily access a transit system map without being online and without looking like a tourist. I have used this app throughout Europe and love its ease of use and convenience.
XE Currency – I always use the XE currency conversion site whenever I need to find the latest rates. I was very happy to find their mobile app which brings the same high quality of their site to your handheld device.
XE is very simple and straightforward. You simply select the currencies you want to convert, the amount and you’re done. It’s a must have app for anyone planning a trip overseas.
Free WiFi Finder – Free WiFi is vital for anyone traveling, especially overseas. Data roaming should always be turned off when you are abroad, otherwise you will incur hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in charges. Free WiFi though is a great way to access the internet and stay in touch with friends and family. Rather than wander around a foreign city looking for a McDonalds or Free WiFi sign, I use this app to help me quickly find the closest free WiFi hotspot. Of course one would think the irony here is that you have to be online to find free WiFi, but not so with this app. You can download an offline WiFi Finder in advance so that you can find a free hotspot anywhere in the world.