Using your mobile data abroad can cause some serious drama. Most operators offer special roaming services and then bombard you with text messages prompting you to activate those rates as soon as you cross a border. But the most economical option is always to deactivate your 3/4G connection, make do with the WiFi networks you come across, and, above all, download useful travel applications beforehand that don’t need an Internet connection to work. These are some of the most useful.
First, the basics: GETTING YOUR BEARINGS. There are lots of map services that offer the possibility to download offline maps for a certain area, as in the case of both HERE Maps and Google Maps, but in these cases, the amount of space taken up and the transparency of the installed data leave a bit to be desired. Maps.ME lets you download independent map packs and points of interest by country, so you can keep control over how much space they take up and uninstall them as desired. In addition, you can install just the maps or add the route calculator as well (GPS doesn’t use your data allowance).
The appeal of Maps.ME is that it runs over OpenStreetMap, the collaborative open maps platform that’s constantly updated by users, and includes not just street names but also the locations and additional information for all kinds of services. Best of all, the offline maps have recently seen the addition of local shops and lodgings.
A translator always comes in handy. In this case you don’t need to turn to third-party apps when Google Translate itself lets you download language packs locally. Depending on where you are you’ll already have different language packs downloaded, which you can see from Settings > Manage offline languages.
If the info in the aforementioned maps app isn’t quite enough, you can always turn to a custom platform like TripAdvisor, the search and reviews tool for flights, hotels, and hostels that now includes the option to download all the info related to a particular city offline. From the main menu you have to go to Downloaded cities > Add and find it there via the search bar.
The online download includes all the related data offered by the platform: user reviews, photos, additional information, and map locations. If you get lost, it’s because you want to.
Super useful for when you need minute info about something in particular. Imagine you’re visiting an iconic building but you don’t have anyone to explain what you’re looking at. The official Wikipedia app lets you download entries locally to later consult offline. To do so, when you’re at the entry in question, you’ll drop down the context menu with the button at the upper right and tick the Save page option. You can store as many as you like, and access them from the left sliding menu in the Saved pages section.