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10 essential travel apps

Must-have tools for your next trip

By Jesse Logan

When you're traveling, your best resource can be your smartphone or tablet. If you're ready to say goodbye to paper maps and guidebooks, consider our list of the ten best travel apps. Most can be downloaded for free, while others are available for less than $2.00.

Find My Medicine

Dropped your Digitalis on the flight to Delhi ? Took your last dosage of Lipitor in Ljubljana ? Find My Medicine tells you the names of your prescriptions in the country you're visiting. The current version of this free app covers nine countries—including Italy, Spain, and India —and more than 6,500 medicines. Users say it's the perfect tool for staving off travel bugs and other unwanted illnesses abroad.

Wi-Fi Finder

With this free app, you can scan for hotspots around you and search for public Wi-Fi almost anywhere in the world. The latest version features more than half a million Wi-Fi locations in 144 countries. Best of all, the app works both online and offline and enables you to view details about the hotspot (including directions) and share it with fellow travelers.

Google Translate

Break language barriers with Google Translate, a free app that can translate between English and 90 languages. Let your new friends from Peru speak naturally into the system and watch this app work its magic—churning out whole paragraphs of the English translation. Not only does it work with voice, but with your camera, keyboard, or handwriting. No Internet connection needed.

Skype

For as little as one cent a minute, you can use Skype to connect with family and friends back home—while you're jet-setting around the world. As long as you are in a Wi-Fi zone, you can bypass exorbitant cell phone international carrier fees and roaming charges. Calls you place to other Skype accounts are free.

Postagram

Want to share that scenic photo you took of a Serengeti sunrise? This free app allows you to send photos from your travels as real postcards—right from your phone. For under a dollar, you can send thick, glossy photo postcards anywhere in the U.S. along with a 140-character message.

The Weather Channel

From severe storms to bizarre weather occurrences, the free Weather Channel app will keep you up-to-date. Get forecasts in both Celsius and Fahrenheit before and during your trip.

CityMaps2Go

Install the CityMaps2Go app for free on your phone and navigate the world like a pro. This offline map will guide you to the places you want to explore, with worldwide coverage spanning virtually every corner of the globe. Once a map is fully downloaded and stored on your device, all features, such as your address searches and GPS location, work offline.

Trip Advisor

With more than 75 million reviews by travelers, the free Trip Advisor app will help you delve into the places you plan to discover. View ratings on restaurants, hotels, and must-see attractions on a five-star system. Plus, offline city guides provide information on 80 of the world's top metropolitan areas.

Eat Smart Abroad

This app contains extensive alphabetical lists for some of the most common (and obscure) international foods and beverages—as well as spices and kitchen terms—so that you can decipher what's on the menu before diving into your culinary adventure. Priced at just $1.99, the app covers 12 countries—including Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey —with planned updates to include additional destinations. Plus, you can run your food searches without Wi-Fi.

Ramblr

Ramblr takes the story behind your journey to the next level by allowing you to track and add not only photos, but videos and notes, too—all in an easily sharable format. Whether you’re sitting on the sandy shores of the Galápagos Islands or camping out in the Sahara Desert, you can quickly capture moments and record memories.

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