A smartphone is a hiker’s best friend when they’re traveling abroad. There are a lot of enticing trails located in other countries, but the logistics of planning those kinds of trips can be difficult without a helping hand. Whether the hiker needs assistance with interpreting signs, converting currency, or staying on the trail, these mobile applications will help.
Our Top 10 Apps for Hiking Abroad
MAPS.me is available for iOS and Android and is an offline map application that supports downloading the information for a region and using it without a wireless connection. Since hiking often takes place through areas with limited or no cell signal, the offline functionality is essential to having a great hike. It also works well when the person is back in town and needing to find their way around a foreign country or a new city. Having a dependable map application takes a lot of frustration out of traveling. It’s simple to get from point A to point B without it being unclear or overly complicated. In countries where a traveler doesn’t understand the language, the maps can act as a valuable guide for interpreting signage. Of course, using a translation application is always an option for that.
2. Google Translate
Translation applications make it possible to communicate with other people who don’t speak your language out on the trail. While it’s an imperfect translator, Google incorporated machine learning into the application to improve the accuracy of the translations and to speed up the process. It’s also capable of translating signs by pointing the camera at them. When a hiker encounters a trail sign, this feature is essential for ensuring that they’re on the right path and they’re not heading into danger.
Hostelworld is great for keeping hiking trips abroad low-cost and affordable. It provides valuable information on the nearby hostels, their prices, and their ratings. A hostel is an excellent way to meet new people, some of whom may be going on a hiking adventure too. If a traveler is backpacking for a lot of their trip, this application will also make it possible to add in a few days where the person gets access to showers and a bed. These breaks can make a big difference in the overall enjoyment of the trip. Plus, if there’s some sort of emergency where the hiker needs a bed for the night, hostels are going to be more accommodating with a last minute reservation than a hotel would be. Couchsurfing is a similar app that would prove useful for hikers who only have occasional needs for a place indoors to sleep. This app connects people with locals who are willing to open up their homes to visitors. The hosts often act as an amazing gateway to experiencing the local culture of the area.
Rome2Rio answers the question of how to get from city to city on a hiking trip. Trails don’t always lead the traveler where they’d like to visit, so it’s sometimes necessary to take a train, plane, or automobile to the next destination. This application streamlines the process by offering the most efficient and cost-effective routes to make an itinerary happen. Once the traveler finds the right combination of transportation methods to match their budget, they can make ticket purchases directly through the app. It can be complicated to compare different travel methods and see how they combine together, so having the guesswork taken out of it is a great asset. This is also a life-saving app when it comes to complex, multi-country itineraries.
Surfshark is a virtual private network service that makes hikers’ online browsing safer. It does this by encrypting the information that the smartphone or tablet sends over the Internet, and routes it through their own private servers. After that step takes place, the hiker gets connected to the public internet. There are a few reasons why this is so helpful. The first is that it makes it impossible for a hacker to try to intercept and decipher someone’s data if they connect to public Wi-Fi. Since a traveler may be relying on hotel and coffee shop Wi-Fi for their Internet connection, this protection is essential to their digital well-being.
Use a VPN while traveling in locations that only have public Wi-Fi available. If someone is only going to be in a country for the day for a hike, then they probably won’t bother to get a SIM card for that region. Being able to leverage readily available Internet sources is a must-have option in that situation. There are a lot of people who rely on hostels when they’re backpacking, but not all of them are going to have good intentions. A VPN allows the traveler to rest easy and ensure that their digital well-being is being well taken care of while they push their physical being to the limit.
6. The Kindle App
The Kindle App is excellent for bringing ebooks on the trail with a traveler. Ultralight backpackers would be particularly happy about cutting down on the number of physical books that they plan on bringing along, as those can add a lot of weight. The Kindle app or a similar ebook reader has options for downloading the books for offline reading. That sounds like the perfect way to end the day after a strenuous hike. The stars are scattered above the traveler, and they can sit back and immerse themselves into an excellent book in the quiet of nature. Pocket is another app that provides offline reading materials. This app allows the traveler to create offline copies of interesting articles and other web content. They can revisit the pages later on when they have time to read them in full. Some libraries also support ebook loans, so those could be a low-cost option for loading up books for the road.
AllTrails guides hikers to the enticing trails that are nearby, by using the GPS to make suggestions. Not only does it provide travelers with hiking trail options, it also has user-submitted content that includes tips on the trail, any safety considerations to keep in mind, and the best scenic spots throughout. Obviously trails in frequented locations are going to have more tips than lesser-known ones, but all of the details are useful. This app supports downloading offline maps, which is critically important in areas with no internet access.
8. Trail Wallet
Trail Wallet is a financial application specifically designed to address the needs of backpackers and hikers. Since many travelers that take these kinds of trips operate on a shoestring budget, it’s important to account for any and all spending. It supports multiple currencies, can group expenses by the day or the trip and has other user-friendly features that hikers will find invaluable. When the trip is tracked correctly, it allows the traveler to maximize their adventures and know whether they can stop in at a hostel for the night as needed.
PeakVisor helps to answer hikers’ endless curiosity about what the names of the mountains are that they see from the trail. This application will identify these peaks with the help of the phone’s camera, and it can also provide hiking routes that take travelers to the top of these mountains. It also provides information on the elevations of each peak. As they explore new trails, they can put together a list of places that they want to eventually climb. This app works well when used alongside other hiking route applications, to provide more context on the mountains and any significant landmarks in the area
10. XE Currency
XE Currency is one of the most popular currency converter apps available on mobile platforms. It keeps up with the latest conversion rates so the traveler always has accurate information. For people bouncing between multiple countries, it can allow access to 10 offline currencies at a time. One reason why it’s important to know what the latest market rates are is to ensure that the traveler isn’t getting ripped off at currency conversions. Some currencies are difficult to convert using mental math, so this application is a time and money saver in this situation.
Mobile apps can make or break a hiking trip in a foreign country, especially if the hiker doesn’t speak the native language. These applications empower travelers to explore the great outdoors in completely new to their locations. The breathtaking trails and looming peaks are a few of the many gifts that nature has waiting.