Traveling internationally requires a few extra considerations: cell service, charging and plugs, passport or visa restrictions and more. When traveling on your own or with family, navigating a foreign country is also a consideration before you leave for your trip. Do you speak the country’s language? How will you navigate and find directions? How will you communicate with friends and family?
Here are two helpful tools for traveling internationally, particularly if you don’t speak the language and will need a little help navigating to your destinations, or if you just want a little extra peace of mind while juggling everything else in life.
1. Offline Maps
Offline maps are nothing new. Perhaps you already know about them and use them. If so, good for you! This is something relatively new for me that I’ve turned to in the last couple of years and it has been a game changer for traveling.
Before you get to your destination, go to your Google maps and download the country or cities you will be traveling in as Offline Maps.
Before you get to your destination, go to your Google maps and download the country or cities you will be traveling in as Offline Maps. WiFi is great and is often plentiful in many countries and cities outside the U.S., but it’s not everywhere. This is especially helpful if you don’t have an international phone service plan or if you’ll be traveling in more remote areas of a country (think nature, hikes, long drives, less developed areas, etc.).
With Offline Maps you can still type in your destination and it’ll give you directions without being connected to WiFi or cell service. Even if you have cell service, when you are traveling in areas where the service cuts in and out, it’s great to have this as a back up.
2. Personal WiFi Hotspot
For trips when you don’t have an international phone data plan or when you need a little extra peace of mind, a personal WiFi hotspot is a great item to pack in your suitcase.
We use the Skyroam Solis, which is a small, palm-sized hotspot and power bank device, when traveling in a country where we are not fluent in the language or if we just need a little assurance we’ll be able to keep in touch with family.
The Solis has an app that you can buy day plans (or longer plans) on an as needed basis. It comes in very handy when you’re in unexpected situations–which let’s face it, happen all the time while traveling! You just open the app in your phone, and buy a day pass. Then you turn on the Solis and you are now connected to your own WiFi hotspot. You can also connect other devices in your group to the hotspot as well. This has helped us text or email people when needed, as well as pull up directions or information about things to do or places to go.