In today's interconnected world filled with fun-seeking globetrotters and time-crunched business people racing to catch their next flight, mobile devices have become essential to everyday life on the go. In fact, 75% of U.S. travelers use mobile apps while away from home, and it's not just for booking hotels or checking in for their flights. It's to stay connected with friends and family all while saving a few bucks!
If you have upcoming travel plans this winter break or beyond, here are our favorite free or low-cost communications apps for travel you wont want to miss...
No WiFi? No problem. This free app will search for free hotspots near you and worldwide, so no matter where your travels take you, you'll be able to find a connection in no time saving you big money on your mobile data plan. Remember, staying connected over WiFi is not only a great way to update your social networks with your latest pics and stories, it's also the best way to take advantage of apps like Voxox...
Are you traveling internationally and can't seem to stomach the high overseas calling and texting rates? With time zone differences and other stress factors like scheduling calls around your daily piña colada on the beach or a trip to a nearby city center, no one has time to worry about roaming charges or if youll be in your hotel room when the phone rings. So, when it comes to communication apps for travel on a budget, Voxox is one you can't live without. With Voxox you can call and text for free or super cheap no matter where you are. Plus, you can be reached at your free Voxox number anywhere in the world and get free bonus features, like on-the-fly 2-way text messaging language translation, voicemail transcription, call forwarding, photo and video sharing, map and location sharing, and more. It's free to sign up -- mobile and desktop versions available.
Everyone loves to get snail mail, especially postcards with pretty pictures and tales of adventure scribbled on the back, but while traveling abroad, finding stamps and a post office isnt always that easy. With Touchnote, you can turn any photo into a real postcard and send it to anywhere in the world -- all from your mobile phone. All you have to do is snap a picture, upload it to the app and choose who the lucky recipient will be. This free app a fun, simple and creative way to stay in touch!
This free app makes it possible to have a verbal conversation with someone who doesnt speak your language. You simply talk into your mobile phone mic and the app will say the phrase you need in the language of your choice. You do need to switch the language settings back and forth if youre having a conversation, which makes this a little awkward, but hey at least you can ask the guy standing next to you for directions and actually understand what he says!
5. Help Call
When youre making your list of communication apps for travel, dont forget this one. Help Call automatically detects your location in 126 countries and instantly provides one-touch access to local police, fire, and ambulance services. The app also gives you the option to make an emergency call with a quick shake of your phone. ($2.99)
If youre a WordPress enthusiast who loves to communicate with the world by blogging about your travels, dont forget to download the free WordPress mobile app to report on your adventures abroad. You can create and edit posts, add images, view stats, and manage comments while on the go.
7. Trip Journal
With an award like The #1 Google Awarded Travel Application can you really say no to Trip Journal? If you want to document your travels in a sharable format, consider this app your right hand man -- its the 21st century alternative to scrapbooking! More than just a virtual travel scrapbook, it can also tap into your mobiles GPS to create maps of your trip and geo-tag pictures and notes from your explorations. ($2.99)
If youre not up for writing, a picture is worth a thousand words! Thats why Instagram is such a popular free app that transforms snapshots into showcase-worthy artwork with fun filters and effects. Give any picture a faded vintage glow, boldly vibrant colors, or a touch of shadowy drama with a simple tap of your finger. But, most importantly share your masterpieces with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Tumblr.
And if a picture just isnt enough, take a video! Then use this app to select a theme, adjust the length, or insert a soundtrack or narration so you can make the most of the memory. Share your video with friends and family on Facebook, YouTube, or Vimeo. Being able to do all of this quickly and easily right from your mobile phone will save you time and effort, all for only $5. (If you simply want to capture a video clip and text it to a friend, you can do so for free with Voxox when you open the media drawer in messaging.)
For the parents out there who says you cant tuck in your little ones when youre away from home? This app allows for long-distance nursery rhymes and lets you share a beautifully written and illustrated story with your children no matter how many miles apart you may be. Most of the communication apps for travel on this list are here to help you stick to a budget, but we just had to include this one to get your daily bonding fix with the kiddos without breaking the bank. ($.99)
Image credit: Flickr user Elvert Barnes