Having access to cell data while traveling overseas is often complicated, slow, limited, and/or expensive. Even in the US, fast, reliable coverage everywhere is far from certain once you get outside major metro areas.
Fortunately, there are many travel apps that don’t need a real-time data connection at all. Instead, they can be synced via Wi-Fi in advance, then used in offline mode while on the move, saving money and frustration.
Here are 11 of the most useful examples, and there are many others depending on your needs. All are available on at least iOS and Android.
01 of 11
Google Maps has a checkered history when it comes to its offline abilities, but recent versions bought back support for unlimited saved areas, and added offline turn-by-turn navigation.
It's easy to pick towns, cities, or regions, sync them to your phone, then get driving directions even in flight mode. You won't get cycling, public transport, or walking directions without a connection, unfortunately, but can still see where you are on the map in real-time.
02 of 11
Originally developed by Nokia, Here WeGo is likely the best offline navigation app out there. Unlike Google's offering, it can give directions for walking, cycling, and public transit even while offline, and downloading map data for entire regions or countries is very straightforward.
Directions are generally accurate, although when you're offline, it helps to have the exact address of the place you're going, not just a name.
Pay attention to the storage requirements, though, since if you want to download maps for several countries, you'll need plenty of space on your phone to do it.
03 of 11
Tripit has been around for years, and is still the best way to manage your itinerary with or without a data connection.
It can monitor your email for travel bookings and updates, or you can manually forward confirmations if you’d prefer. The app will then sync the latest updates whenever it has an Internet connection.
Hotels, flights, car rentals and more are all stored in one place, and the service automatically builds a detailed itinerary for you.
The basic Tripit app is free, with a Pro version adding a few extra features for $49/year.
04 of 11
XE Currency is another long-time favorite, this time for making currency conversions quickly and easily. Add the currencies you need ahead of time, then use the free app anywhere you want to. Rates update whenever you're connected.
It’ll instantly convert from a selected currency to all the others you've saved, taking a few seconds at most. This makes it ideal when out shopping, or standing at the bureau de change to ensure you’re being offered a reasonable exchange rate.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
If you're looking for a travel guide, check out Triposo. It grabs information from Wikipedia, Wikitravel, and elsewhere, and bundles it all together into a useful, easy-to-use offline guide.
Download the data pack for your destination(s) before leaving home, since they can be pretty large, and you’ll have activities, hotels, and restaurants, maps, and basic directions, all at your fingertips.
There’s background country information, phrasebooks, currency conversion and more, all available for free and without an Internet connection. Impressive!
06 of 11
Whenever you're planning a trip, you'll inevitably end up saving a lot of information about your intended destination—restaurant recommendations, places to go, navigation information, and more. To ensure you can access it all offline, install the Pocket browser extension and app.
One click or tap saves your current web page, and the app then automatically syncs everything whenever it has a Wi-fi connection. All that saved information stays available on your phone, wherever and whenever you need it.
07 of 11
When it comes to translation, Google Translate is the stand-out performer. Both the iOS and Android versions let you download 50+ different language packs, allowing for quick translation of words and phrases when on the move.
While offline, you can either type in the words you'd like to translate, or just point your phone camera at a menu, sign, or other printed material. If you're traveling somewhere you don't speak the language, it's an absolute godsend.
08 of 11
There’s even an offline app to help you get online. The paid version of Wifi Map lets you download its database of Wi-fi locations for entire cities ahead of time, so that you can fire up the app when you’re away from home and find the nearest hotspot.
Information, including location and password, is entered by the apps users, and there are over one hundred million networks currently listed around the world.
As mentioned, the version with offline support isn't free—but at five dollars, it's a small price to pay to have Internet access when you need it.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
The American Red Cross has developed a small range of health-based apps, with the most useful for travelers based around first aid.
Covering things like anaphylaxis, burns, bleeding, and much more, the app helps teach appropriate techniques in advance via video training, and provides step-by-step guidance on what to do in an emergency.
There's also a quiz section, to make sure you've retained what you learned—a nice touch.
10 of 11
It's pretty hard to avoid TripAdvisor when planning a vacation—its the 800-pound gorilla of restaurant, accommodation, and attraction reviews. You'll usually come across it from a Google search, but if you want offline access, it's worth downloading the company's app as well.
It works much the same as the website, but also lets you download reviews, maps, and your saved locations for over 300 popular cities around the world.
11 of 11
Streaming music services are now the main way most of us listen to our favorite tunes, but they've got a couple of disadvantages for travelers: they don't work offline, and use quite a bit of data if you listen for hours.
Spotify gets around that problem by letting you download songs, podcasts, albums, and playlists to your device. Once that's done, the songs will play normally even when you don't have a connection—just switch into Offline mode, and you'll only see the tracks you've saved.
Note that you'll need a paid subscription to Spotify to enable the offline feature.