These days, we’re used to high-speed, 24/7 internet access. Case in point: On Royal Caribbean’s new smartship, Quantum of the Seas, download speeds match the fastest broadband connections onshore. In the middle of the Atlantic, you can still stream your favorite shows and Skype with family back home.
But when it comes to traveling, the unplanned “unplugged” moment is unavoidable, whether you’re in transit and find yourself with no bars, or you have to switch to airplane mode after boarding. These five apps work offline and make traveling just a little easier—and much more enjoyable.
Want access to news stories, videos, and blog posts on a flight, but don’t feel like paying for spotty WiFi at 10,000 feet? Save stories you’d like to read or watch, and then go back to them anytime you don’t have a connection with this app. In other words, “pocket” content that you can check out later, anytime. Free on iTunes and Google Play.
Wiki Encyclopedia Offline
This app fills the void for those moments when you need to Google something but can’t. Think: On a road trip, when you’re winding through the Rockies and someone says aloud, “I wonder how tall this mountain is…” or when you order a Bloody Mary on an early-morning flight and find yourself curious about the drink’s history. Whoever thought to mix vodka with tomato juice anyway? 99 cents on iTunes.
Though you won’t be able to get real-time updates when you’re offline, this app still makes short work of finding the best public-transit route in 600 cities worldwide. Just plug in your current location and where you’re trying to go, and HopStop pulls up the best options, along with travel time and cost for each. Free on iTunes.
Test your knowledge of much-loved brands with this visual trivia game, which quizzes you on specific details, such as which way the Dunkin’ Donuts cup tilts, or what type of bowtie the Pringles man wears. Especially in close quarters (read: flying economy), you’ll feel better zoning out to a game like this—it’s exercise for your brain—than Angry Birds or Candy Crush. Free on iTunes and Google Play.
Yep, you read that right. But there’s a catch: To access maps when you’re not connected, you must first save them to your device for offline viewing. When you’re in the app (and online), click on the “Your Places” icon and scroll to the bottom, where you’ll see a section titled “Offline maps.” Search for the area you want, zoom in or out, then name and save the map. Later, sans WiFi, you can get acquainted with your destination and scope out the area. Free on iTunes and Google Play.