Top 5 Navigation Apps for Traveling Abroad
One of the great benefits of traveling to new and exotic places is the ability to explore. However, there is a point where exploration can turn into just being lost, and no one wants to be lost in a strange place. Thankfully, technology has made it so that you don’t ever have to be. We no longer have to overcome language barriers or decipher poor directions to navigate abroad. You can navigate yourself with a mobile device, a reliable WiFi hotspot and a navigation app in almost every place on the planet. However, there are some navigation apps that are better for international travelers than others.
Download one of these 5 navigation apps on your phone or tablet, and you won’t have to worry about getting lost on your next trip abroad:
1. Google Maps - The All-In-One
If there is any app on this list that you shouldn’t travel without, it is Google Maps. The old faithful Google Maps is the prime navigation app to have on your smartphone, because it offers a bit of everything.
One of the best features for international travelers is that in addition to road directions, it provides multiple transit routes and public transportation options. So, no matter whether you are traveling by bus, car, bike or your own two feet, Google can help guide you. Some other features that make it indispensable to international travelers are:
- Explore Nearby: You can search for nearby restaurants, shops, travel attractions and more. Since it is linked with Google Search, you can research and check out reviews right from the app.
- Inside Maps: Select buildings that are huge and can be hard to navigate like museums, airports and stadiums have an indoor map.
- Versatility: Google Maps is one of the most widely available navigation apps with some of the best coverage in the world.
2. Waze - The Social GPS
Waze, which was acquired by Google in 2013, has a range of real-time features that make it one of the most handy apps to have on-the-go. It combines GPS navigation capabilities with social sharing to get the most up-to-date traffic and travel conditions. Essentially, it is a navigation app with impressive crowdsourcing to power it. If you are going on an international road trip, you’ll want to bring along Waze for the ride. It is like a more hip version of many other navigation apps, because it not only taps into GPS technology but into the community of drivers and travelers. These are the features that make it a packing must:
- Real-time updates and alerts - Since Waze is community-driven, real-time updates are often faster than other apps. Drivers share information ranging from cheap gas prices and road closures to police and traffic accidents.
- Integration with Facebook and Calendar: You can notify friends that you are meeting of your ETA and plan your travel time around other events and trips in your calendar.
3. Sygic - The Professional
The Sygic navigation and GPS app is powered by TomTom, and it features detailed 3D and 2D maps of almost every continent on Earth. These are some of the top capabilities that set it apart from other navigation apps on the market:
- Parking information: One of the trickiest parts about traveling in a foreign place, specifically by car, is finding places to park. Then, you have to figure out prices and availability. Sygic takes the work out of it by providing parking information from over 40 million lots.
- Pairs with smart devices and wearables: If you are a techie or just love wearable devices such as the Apple Watch, Sygic navigation is compatible.
Sygic is a more high-end, professional navigation app that has different subscription levels. It has a free basic version with limited capabilities and offers in-app purchases and premium versions for a small fee. It is available for download on Android and iOS devices.
4. Komoot - The Trekkie
If your travel takes you off the beaten path and into the countryside, check out the navigation app called Komoot. The app was developed in Germany but offers navigation, maps and routes for hiking and biking in Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, Africa and more. For international travelers that plan on exploring the great outdoors or backpacking, Komoot is an essential. Here are a few reasons why:
- Topographic maps and offline options: Komoot is designed for hikers and bikers, so topographic maps are a huge help to plan your trek.
- Turn-by-turn voice navigation: If you are going to explore the outdoors, you don’t want to be looking at your phone the whole time. With Komoot you can get hands-free voice navigation.
- Smart Tour guides and social sharing: Komoot helps you plan your trek with customized tour recommendations and information on hiking difficulty and elevation. It also integrates with social tools, so you can track your adventures and share them with other explorers, friends and family.
5. HERE WeGo - The City Slicker
One of the lesser known navigation apps on the list, HERE WeGo is designed specifically for city travel. You can download maps for cities in over 100 countries, and the app plans to add even more. Some of the top features are:
- Points of Interest (PoI): It helps you find points of interests like ATMs, tourist attractions and restaurants.
- Public transit and taxis: The app gives your real-time updates, directions and pricing for public transportation in select cities. You can even order a taxi right from the app and get a pricing estimate.
- Multiple travel options: If the transit option is available in a city, HERE WeGo offers information and directions. For instance, it even offers bike lane navigation and bike path information with elevation details.
If you are traveling in a city, HERE WeGo is a great app to pack with you. However, if your travels are a bit more rugged, then it won’t serve you well. The app is available for download on Android and iOS devices.
Navigation apps and GPS have become so commonplace today that it is hard to imagine life without them. With their convenience, impressive capabilities, and ease-of-use, most people wouldn’t want to resort back to paper maps and antiquated navigation techniques of the past.
Internet connectivity and advanced mobile technologies have forever changed the way that we travel the world. Although some navigation apps have offline map options, they usually require you to download and prepare before your travels. However, with one of Keepgo’s reliable and affordable international mobile SIM cards and mobile WiFi hotspots you can access the full capabilities of navigation apps and tackle any unexpected bumps that tend to happen when traveling to unfamiliar places. The best part is with Keepgo you can avoid high data roaming charges and use it in close to 64 countries around the world.