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Recommended apps for android phone

Hi,

We are just getting back into travel and, per others’ suggestions, purchased a cell phone (Samsung Galaxy A32, cdma, gsm) and installed Google Fi. We have traveled without a cell phone for many years but I think many of you feel that a cell phone is essential these days in light of the covid situation, the need for digital QR codes, etc. I have installed a currency converter (xe) and have Google maps. Is there a translator app that you recommend besides Google translate? I am also looking at Google Pay for contactless payments. Are there any other apps that you consider essential for travel? Thanks so much for your help.

Posted by
3052 posts

The relevant public transport apps for the area you plan to visit.

Posted by
9546 posts

To me it depends on which country you are traveling to.

For myself, the app for my airline of choice is key.

Since I've been to France most recently I also frequently used the G7 Taxi app in Paris and the app from the French train company.

If you are planning to visit museums, they may or may not have a good app. In 2019 when I was in the Netherlands the apps for the Rijksmuseum and Mauritshuis were wonderful. In contrast, I find the app for the Louvre confusing and useless. In 2018 Westminster Abbey had an app where you had their entire audio tour on your phone. I think the one for Stonehenge was good as well but that is a bit fuzzy. Anyway, check the big sites you will visit and see if there are apps sponsored by the museum or venue (not a paid app!).

Do you just have one phone for 2 of you? That can be difficult. For instance, for France you needed to access the health Pass Sanitaire on your phone for EACH person which were separate. You could print out the code or screen shot them into your photos so you could just go there for the restaurants to scan your QR codes if you just had one phone for 2 of you.

To me the critical skills are:

  • Being able to access an email for every person in your party - everyone needs a separate email account. For France each person needed their own email address to be able to get a health code.

  • Being able to take a screen shot. This means taking a photo of whatever is on your phone screen. This may be a ticket you have just purchased for a museum or a health code or even your boarding pass for your flight. You need to know how to access your pictures so you can find this screen shot. It is helpful if you learn how to add a screen shot to a "Notes" section (sorry, that is what it is called on an Apple product, not sure what it is called on Android). IF you screenshot something you do not need to access your WIFI to retrieve the information as you would if you are looking for something in email or on an app/website.

  • Practice surfing the internet from your phone so you can figure out how to buy museum or other venue tickets online.

  • Many use googlemaps online. I prefer a paper map but you can also do a route on googlemaps and screenshot the route so that you are not using battery when you navigate somewhere. If you intend to use googlemaps, practice with this ahead of time so you will understand how long your battery will last.

Good luck! Use your phone a lot at home so you are comfortable with it.

Posted by
7439 posts

Easier than tracking down various public transport apps is downloading CityMapper, which has dozens of European cities and has always been extraordinarily accurate for me. I am using it in Rome this weekend, and I use it daily in Paris, where I live. It's also my preferred app for local transport in London. It's astonishing to me how well they do what they do (given how much disparate data they are integrating into their app).

I like to have the app for my airline, and I like to have the app for the national rail system where I am going to be, and Trainline, too.

And the all-important Weather app !!!

P.s. no, I don't have any affiliation whatsoever with CityMapper. They just make my life a whole lot easier — for free.

Posted by
1593 posts

Thanks, Badger. That would have been helpful for when we were in Stockholm 2 years ago. Somehow we muddled through ok.

Thanks, Pam. I have now made sure that both our email accounts are accessible on the phone and I know how to do screen shots and post the photos in notes. Good suggestion. I got one of the airline apps and will get the others as needed this year. I have surfed the net on this phone so good on that one. No, those batteries don’t last very long it seems. I will look into the museum apps for our trip in the spring.

Thanks, Kim. City mapper will be a good app for when we are in Rome.

We will be using this phone a lot over the next two weeks before we head to Costa Rica.

Posted by
232 posts

I'll add a +1 for City Mapper as well as the relevant train and airline apps. The apps certainly make it easier to manage schedules and tickets.

I'll also suggest apps for your banks. Makes it easier to manage your cards -- managing travel alerts, turning cards on and off as well as reporting lost or stolen.

I have also found Google Translate especially useful. Download languages for use offline.

Posted by
1593 posts

VAP,

How safe is it to access your bank accounts/credit cards over the phone when overseas? I access my accounts at home on my computer but am reluctant to do that when out of the country and would only do so in an emergency.

Posted by
9546 posts

Good job on figuring out the screenshots! I had seen that mentioned on the forum before I traveled last fall but was in a rush when I bought a ticket to the Louvre. Once I was there I realized I had not screen shot the entry ticket and it was a crowded day so was having trouble both with using the free museum WIFI AND getting on my Verizon international data plan. I had freaked myself out then got in and quickly screen shot the ticket so it was "safe". Lesson learned and if I can prevent you or anyone else from having a slight moment of panic that's to the good, lol.

I am not very tech-y but I do access my CCs from the apps when traveling. Before I left last fall I paid my last 2 bills for each CC thru the app instead of thru my bank bill pay so I could get used to doing it there. I was gone for over 30 days so had one of the CCs come due while I traveled. It was easy, accessed it from the hotel wifi and tried to be as fast as possible. I have no idea how hackers work and if this made any difference, lol.

Also good that you figured out how to access both email accounts! That may be critical some time.

Posted by
90 posts

My most used app is maps.me.
I like to know where I am, and, how far to where I am headed.
Doesn’t need the internet. It will tell you if you need to download a map of an area, such as Croatia.
Any app you may need, or want, is easily download into your phone from wherever you are.

Posted by
1593 posts

Hi Pam,

We are total dinosaurs when it comes to some of this. We have a Tracfone that we only use for emergencies or for a quick call or text to family. I used the internet when we had to get over I 80 at Christmas in the snowstorm to access the traffic cams. But that is it. Otherwise we have an Ooma landline. Both are super inexpensive and work well. Our monthly bill is less than $16. On our new phone, you just hold down the two side buttons (volume down and power button) to do a screen shot. Thanks for the heads up on that one. Yes, it would be panic time if you didn’t know that ahead of time. Hmm, I may have to access my band account/credit card bills as we will be away for over a month at a time as well. I plan to have sufficient cash in the checking to cover those cc bills. We had our tablet hacked in Rothenburg by cyber thieves who demanded a ransom in bitcoin to unlock the tablet. It may have happened at the hotel but who knows. Luckily I was able to go online at the hotel computer and figure a work around and got the tablet back up and running. It was very distressing as that was our only way to communicate with family and manage some of our ongoing trip. I think we will get vpn on the phone as that would help.

Posted by
206 posts

When using Google Maps on your phone, you can pre-download maps of your main destinations. The maps remain cached in your phone, and will get used rather than burning your cell phone data plan. Google will periodically prompt you to update the cached maps, and you always have the option of deleting the maps from your phone.

Posted by
1593 posts

Great idea, Alan. Thanks. I have Google maps and didn’t know I could download them.

Posted by
1593 posts

Thanks, Kim. That was in 2015 when we were on a Christmas market trip. The ransom note was in German to boot and we don’t speak German. I was able to translate the note from the thieves which said we had committed a crime (we hadn’t obviously) and would have to pay a fine to unlock the tablet. I figured the tablet was pretty much toast so we went to the Apple store in Munich and bought an iPad. I figured out how to restore the functionality of my tablet shortly thereafter. There wasn’t anything worth stealing on the tablet such as financial accounts. It was just aggravating as heck. The thieves must have been pretty stupid if I was able to get my tablet functioning again as I am not that tech savvy. Don’t even ask how long it took me to figure out how to set up voice mail on the new phone. After that incident in Rothenburg, we got vpn for our computers and iPad. Edited to add that Google Fi has vpn and I have turned that on and will look at the vpn notifications on the fi. I still don’t feel great about banking online but will do it if it is absolutely necessary.

Posted by
9546 posts

My goodness, Mary. That must have been a nightmare! I understand why you are so cautious!