10 free apps everyone should download before traveling to a foreign country

10 free apps everyone should download before traveling to a foreign country

A new language, new currency, new restaurants and many new things to get used to make the transition difficult when people move or travel to a foreign country. Having the right tools to help with adjustment is essential, and apps that help with transitioning abroad should be at the top of your list.

The best apps solve problems that come with everyday activities in a new country, such as shopping, currency exchange, reading menus and ordering food, as well as learning key phrases that help foreigners get around in the local language. Some of the most useful apps travelers need abroad can be downloaded for free and customized to their location for convenience.


Google Maps

A screenshot of the Google Maps app

Google Maps is the most used navigation app in the world, with all users contributing data that has made the app more detailed and accurate. Apple Maps is also good in its own right, but doesn’t have as many local users as Google, which limits the options when you’re moving around.

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Google Maps is free to use and often sufficient when you need to find a new place. With its vast network of users, Google Maps can find almost any known place, even in the most remote places on earth, which can be useful if someone needs to find their way while abroad.


A screenshot of the Duolingo app

Google Translate is useful for quick translations of foreign words, but it does little to get the pronunciation of basic greetings and common phrases right. Duolingo prepares people to better interact with locals in a foreign country by providing them with free lessons in the most popular languages ​​spoken around the world.

The app features courses that challenge students to learn both the written and spoken aspects of language with detailed, easy-to-follow instructions. The app also allows students to pair with native speakers and other users to synchronize lessons for a better experience. It is also free to download and use, although it contains ads that can only be removed for a fee.

Globe Convert currency and unit converter

A screenshot of GlobeConvert-Currency-and-Units

It can be disappointing to overpay for everyday items in a foreign country simply because foreigners don’t know the exchange rate. While Google has fast currency conversion, it only works with an internet connection that may not be available everywhere in a foreign country. Globe Convert currently has more than 173 currencies that users can set up their regularly used currencies from which it then converts based on current rates.

The app updates current exchange rates when a phone is online and makes them available for offline use. The app also makes life easy by allowing users to convert other units they use daily such as miles to kilometers, pounds to kilograms, meters to feet and many more depending on the units used in the country.


Airbnb 2021's curated listings, arrival guide and payment screen

Airbnb’s home-sharing model has been embraced in most countries around the world, bringing more homeowners on board. The homes on the platform are detailed and harmoniously priced, which gives better value for money when accommodation is booked on the app.

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Even if users have booked accommodation before departure, having Airbnb installed on their phones will help them price their accommodation correctly and give them other options if their preferred accommodation disappoints. With Airbnb, travelers have more flexibility, such as cooking at home and protecting against exploitation, as opposed to the limitations of traditional hotel rooms.


VPN and ad blocking apps

Public WiFi in airports and hotels are not as secure as the home networks travelers are used to, but they are often the only option available when traveling to a foreign country. The only way to secure devices while using unsecured networks is to get a reliable VPN service that hides a device’s IP address and gives them an extra layer of protection.

VPNs also allow travelers to access geo-fenced websites and services at home, such as Netflix and other streaming services. There are plenty of free VPN options to choose from, including Proton, Privado, and Hotspot Shield, so it’s a good idea to review reviews to make sure the VPN isn’t causing significant lag on your device.

Shopwell-better food choices

A banner showing hands with juice bottles and a smartphone with the Shopwell app

When traveling to a new country, shopping lists are one of the first things to change, meaning travelers struggle to get food and groceries similar to what they’re used to at home. Shopwell is one of the best free nutrition apps, which allows users to check if the products suit them by scanning the barcode. It helps users match product requirements to their lifestyle needs when shopping.

Users can enter specifications such as vegan, gluten-free, no preservatives, no added sugar and low cholesterol into the app and then scan barcodes to check if the items on the shelf meet those requirements. The app also relies on information from the public, which means there are billions of products on the platform making the results accurate.


A screenshot of the tripadvisor app

With over 700 million users worldwide, Tripadvisor is one of the most resourceful free travel apps for any country. It has millions of hotels, restaurants and tourist destinations with authentic reviews that give travelers a clear picture of their experience when visiting the destination.

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The app is free to download on both Android and iOS, allowing travelers to search for the most visited entertainment venues, hotels and tourist destinations and check reviews before spending their money. Tripadvisor also offers tips on how to get to a location and the most valuable benefits to pay for.


A screenshot of the Rome2Rio navigation app

This is one of the best transit apps for commuters around the world that helps people move comfortably between places by offering them the best available means of travel in the area. It only requires two destinations, including a city, street or address, to bring up the most efficient means of travel between the two points.

From the best value for money flights to the best bus or train between local cities, the app brings it all up, helping travelers plan their trip. The app includes rental cars and hotel bookings.

Google translator

A screenshot of the free google translate app

Translating menus, signs, directions and other written text makes it easy to change and get around comfortably in a foreign country. Google Translate is now available for all platforms, just like Google Maps.

The app only needs a camera to point to the words that need translation, including those with special characters. The app also accepts voice input, meaning travelers can have locals speak into the translator in the local dialect, which then pulls up the English translation.

What’s up

WhatsApp Carts have screenshots

While roaming can help travelers stay in touch with family and friends back home, the costs can be extremely high, so secure online communication is a relief. There are many apps that offer these services, but security and cost can be a major concern.

However, WhatsApp has been around for a long time and now allows free video and voice calls as well, making communication more efficient when you’re abroad. It’s a great option for travelers who aren’t interested in loading up a local SIM card with minutes.

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