Wi-Fi can be found nearly everywhere these days—even in the middle of the ocean on board Royal Caribbean ships via VOOM (the fastest internet at sea)—but sometimes there are unplanned, “unplugged” moments when you’re exploring a new place. Whether in transit or in another country where your data plan may not work, with a little prep before you head out, you can still access handy smartphone apps that are perfect for travel.
1. Organization: Pocket
Who couldn’t use another Pocket while traveling? This app will help you keep all your ducks in a row before and during your vacation. Say you’re searching for museum hours, you can save all the information into Pocket to conveniently access while offline. Pocket is integrated with other apps, so if you see someone retweet an awesome travel video about a Cuban restaurant that is part of the underground food culture (also culturally known as a “paladar”), you can save it in Pocket with a quick tap and pull it up again when you’re there and ready to eat!
2. GPS: Google Maps
Google Maps has some of the most abundant and accurate data available—but did you know you can access it offline? Plan ahead by downloading a customizable chunk of any city while you’re connected to Wi-Fi, and that area will remain available to you offline for 30 days. You can download up to 2 GB of location data, so you’ll always have a map with you while adventuring in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe or any other of the more than 260 destinations Royal Caribbean visits.
3. Translation: Google Translate
Another no-brainer is Google Translate. With an ever-expanding library of language, now you can download nearly 60 languages to take with you even when you’re offline. It’s great to ask simple questions in a country’s native language when traveling—“How much for that?” or “May I have more wine please?” come to mind—so file away key phrases for easy translation. Snap a photo of the text for instant translation, or dictate and translate with the voice feature while on the go.
4. Currency Converter: XE Currency
You need a trusted source for foreign money exchanges—whether you’re working with Australian dollars or Cuban pesos—and XE Currency is your best bet. Once you’re connected to the ship’s Wi-Fi, VOOM, the app will refresh for live rates so that when you’re offline exploring new cities, you can refer to the most up-to-date rates.
5. Gaming: Quizoid
Quizoid is an endlessly fun trivia game, and it doesn’t need data or Wi-Fi. You and your crew can quiz yourselves on a variety of topics like food or entertainment—or learn about history or geography, perhaps even of your destination!
6. Entertainment: Audiobooks
You probably know about Audible, and other popular apps for audiobooks out there, but Audiobooks provides exactly what its name suggests—only free. They have the hottest podcasts available, too. When you’re looking to just close your eyes, lie back on an idyllic beach and get in vacation mode, Audiobooks has you covered with a wide selection of free content—nearly 10,000 titles—especially classics.
7. Communication: Firechat
There’s plenty to explore aboard Royal Caribbean ships and on land, so there may be times you’ll want to branch off to wander on your own. Don’t worry; you’ll be able to keep in touch with your friends with Firechat, an app that allows you to communicate without data, Wi-Fi or even SMS. Simply turn on your Bluetooth (and Wi-Fi even if there’s no connection) fire up the app, and you can chat with your travel squad through the phone-to-phone messaging system which is particularly useful for crowded areas.
8. Wi-Fi: WiFi Map
In a perfect world, we’d have access to Wi-Fi anywhere, anytime. Royal Caribbean’s VOOM makes that a reality on board, but once at port, that can be another story. WiFi Map brings you closer to that dream with its Wi-Fi community, where you’ll find a map of hotspots and Wi-Fi networks available—whether you’re online or offline. This way, you can check your email, or more likely, post to your Instagram to show your friends what they’re missing.
Speaking of which, if you’re ready to explore all the incredible destinations Royal Caribbean visits, find your next vacation here.