7 Best Apps For International Travel

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

Imagine being on your first international trip and upon arrival, you realize all you have is your phone and wallet. What would you do?

Well, you could freak out! But you were smart. You pre-planned before your departure and made sure you had all the right apps. What are they, you ask? Let’s take a look.

What to Do Before You Go

Before you leave home, make sure you take photos of your passport and ID and upload them to Google Drive for safekeeping and easy access. Okay, next, where are you going to stay?

1. Airbnb

AirBnb created with Canva
AirBnb created with Canva

Before you arrived, you used your Airbnb app to locate a place to stay. You did your research and found a highly rated apartment or house and booked it. You advised your host of your ETA, so all is good.

When I first arrived in Medellin, it was after midnight. I sent a message to my host and was advised of a self-check-in. It worked out perfectly. Alright, I’m here; now what?

Where’s My Ride?

 2. Uber

Uber Photo Made With Canva
Uber Photo Made With Canva

Next, you open your Uber app and get a ride.

The first time I visited Medellin, it took a while at first because it was so late, but they located one.  I did not realize until I had been in the country for three weeks that Uber was illegal.

Travel tip * It’s a good idea to check on the legality of Uber in the country you are planning to visit.
Update* Uber is no longer illegal in Colombia as of March 2020. However, here are a few alternative apps to use. They work just like Uber.

1. Didi
2. Beat
3. Cabify
4. iTaxi

3. Google Maps 

Google Maps App - Photo by Google Images
Google Maps App by Google Images

This was a lifesaver. I have no sense of direction. Looking lost can bring unwanted attention. Thanks to Google maps, I could plug in where I wanted to go and get directions. I put in my earbuds and allowed the navigation feature to do its thing. No one ever knew I was clueless.

How Can I Communicate?

Holy Moly, I don’t speak Spanish what am I going to do? That was me when I arrived, but I had a handy dandy weapon!

 4. Google Translate

Google Translate - by Google Images
Google Translate by Google Images

As I said, I didn’t speak any Spanish when I arrived in Colombia. Little did I know, Colombia is NOT a bi-lingual country. Very few people speak English. By using Google Translate, I was able to communicate with my driver, store associates, as well as utilize some other groovy features available in the app.

The camera feature was the best. It kept me from ordering weird food. Just point the camera over your menu or ingredients, and the translation will appear. … it came in handy in so many ways. I could not have gotten through without it.

5. WhatsApp 

WhatsApp image by Pixabay
WhatsApp by Pixabay

This is a must-have app to communicate within a country and to call internationally.

I learned this the hard way. When I first arrived at Medellin, I noticed WhatsApp numbers on everything, from takeout menus to small business owners. I didn’t think much about it until I started calling home, or my family began calling me. I was shell-shocked when my cell phone bill arrived. It hit me, ‘that’s why I need to get on WhatsApp”.

Once you set up WhatsApp, you can call, text or video call anyone within the app with Wi-Fi. Save your data and your wallet.

I’m Hungry!

6. Delivery Apps

These apps totally saved my life. After you get settled in and are now in unfamiliar territory, can’t speak the language, what do you do? When I encountered this, I pulled out my phone, went to the App store, put in food delivery, and several options came up.

Uber Eats

Uber Eats Photo by Google Images
Uber Eats by Google Images

Go with what you know. I was already familiar with this app and knew I could get something quick to eat from nearby restaurants. iFood and Rappi – I also came across these two apps and quickly downloaded them. They both work in the same way as Uber Eats, but one stood out.




Rappi image from Apple Store
Rappi image from Apple Store

This one became my ace-in-the-hole! Not only could I have restaurant food delivered, but groceries, pharmacy items, shopping mall items, messenger pickup & delivery, and get this…. MONEY! Yessss! This app also acts as an ATM. You can actually request funds in incremental small amounts up to $100 USD (depending on conversion rate). You can get whatever you need to be delivered to your door. BOOM!

*Special Note – Rappi is also available in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile.

Getting To Know You!

Friends in of other expats in Colombia - Photo Op by Gail Turner Brown
Friends in of other expats in Colombia
by Gail Turner Brown

So now you are getting to know your surroundings and you want to know what is there to do, are there other expats out there, where can I meet locals? We got you covered!


7. FB Groups

Hopefully, you did this before you left, but if not, no worries. FB Groups, in my opinion, are the best place to connect with whatever interest you have. There is a group for EVERYTHING!

Black Women In Colombia Facebook Group via Facebook
Black Women In Colombia Facebook Group via Facebook

I found Expat Women in Medellin and Black Expats of Colombia.

The people in the groups are very helpful. They post what’s happening in and around the city. You can ask for advice on everything from where to get your nails or hair done, or what festivals or adventures are taking place. Even ask to get together for coffee or lunch just to meet someone new.

I found my Spanish teacher, friends to go out with, fitness and yoga classes, and meet-ups taking place around the city. I can’t say enough about FB groups and how helpful they are to the new person in an unfamiliar country.

Airbnb Experiences

Gail and Spanish Teacher Maria - photo op Gail Turner Brown
Gail and Spanish Teacher Maria by Gail Turner Brown

This is where you can find local people who are there to help you get to know the culture, food, and the city. You can book a cooking class, walking tour, exercise class, language class, historical excursions, just to name a few. You never know what you will discover.

That’s it, folks! These are the apps that will allow you to navigate confidently your way through any foreign country.


What apps are you using where you landed? Share your top apps with us.

Happy travels! 

by: Gail Turner Brown