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You’re a tech-savvy traveller of the 21st century. You’ve got an algorithm-based search engine scouting out the best deals on flights, booked a lush room in a stranger’s house with a sharing economy app and are ready to chow down with local hipsters at ‘off the beaten path’ bars and cafes. You probably even hooked up with a local for a homemade meal and cultural exchange.
That’s right – you’re a traveller, not a tourist. Everything is sweet and your Insta feed is about to make all your friends jealous. But then you touch down, realise how much your roaming plan sucks and are standing outside the airport with no Wi-Fi, no phone service and no clue how you’re going to find your place, call your host and get inside. No worries. Because you’ve read this selection of the best travel apps you can use without the internet – perfect for flights, train journeys and those long dry spells between Wi-Fi zones. Phew.
Yay, you made it! But in the rush of excitement you forgot to call your mum from the Airbnb and tell her that you arrived in once piece. Now you’re sitting in a dodgy ramen bar with no Wi-Fi. Good thing you downloaded Rebtel before you left.
The app lets you use your phone to make free app-to-app calls, even if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi or cellular data. For calls to a foreign number that aren’t app-to-app (mum’s not keen on iPhones), Rebtel ‘hijacks’ local phone lines, creating a local number to connect your international call. You still won’t need internet, and you can even save the local number and reach the same person later on. You’ll need to purchase credit to make non app-to-app calls, but the service ‘consistently analyzes traffic to give you the lowest price possible’. Best of all, Rebtel is free to download and currently available in 56 countries on iOS and Android.
Lost, internet-less and struggling? The Maps.Me app offers highly detailed maps of almost everywhere on Earth, all available totally offline. Searches can be filtered to a granular level, with details such as restaurants, bars, ATMs and parks. Routes can be created for walking, cycling, driving and users can edit and contribute to the OpenStreetMap community by sharing images and details of unlisted places they’ve found.
Triposo is a ‘smart travel guide’ that uses algorithms to search through millions of websites and reviews to find the best attractions, food, drink and practical local tips – like the location of nearby cash machines or cool, historically important spots. You’ll need to download individual country or city guides first, but everything is accessible without internet access.
TripScout lays out city information in a guide-like manner, without becoming like a bible—the downfall of many guidebooks. With in-app audio guides (recorded by real-life guides employed by TripScout), it also eliminates the need for following around a tour group. This means you can explore at their own pace (no restrictive tour group itineraries) while still having a hand to hold. All audio guides and maps are available offline, which means you won’t need to use data or international roaming.
For even more internet-less entertainment on the go, Byline lets you keep up with the latest news, even when you don’t have Wi-Fi. Using Feedly subscribe to your favourite blogs, magazines and news sources and Byline will automatically use Background App Refresh to sync and bring you new content, giving you thousands of RSS feeds to read offline.