5 Best Offline Apps for Traveling Latin America
Anyone who travels knows that there’s not always internet when you need it most. That’s why I am sharing with you my list of the 5 Best Offline Apps for Traveling! Once you’ve downloaded and set up these apps, there’s no internet required. Some of these apps are specific to certain places and you may notice that there are 6 apps in the photo. I’m going to tell you if these apps are right for you and how to make the best of each. I’ll also share with you what NOT to do with a couple of these apps and what causes them to stop working. So let’s get started.
#1 Word Lens App ($3-5 per language)
This app may actually not have been my most useful app but it gets ranked # 1 for it’s exceptional use of modern technology. I’m sure you’ve seen the Word Lens App ad and thought “that’s cool” or “It would be neat if an iPhone really could do that.” If you haven’t seen Word Lens App first hand, check out this video. Basically, this app translates written language in real time. Don’t understand the menu? Pull up the Word Lens App and just hover over the text. Easy to see why it’s one of the 5 best offline apps isn’t it?
There are two things you need to do in order to get the most out of this app. First, understand it’s limitations. The Word Lens app can read just about anything as long as you are still and at the appropriate distance. Translating a stop sign while driving at 60 MPH will produce mixed results. Certain fonts are also more difficult for the app than others, but what this means is a lot of times the name of a restaurant won’t translate while the menu will. Second is to use the pause feature. When trying to translate something as complex as a whole menu, the app may not get it all. Pause it, read what’s available, then repeat the process. Two or three times of that and you should know what you need to know.
#2 Jibbigo app ($5 per language)
Jibbigo simply does for speaking and typing what World Lens did for writing. Check out this video if you’re not familiar with it. You simply speak or type into the english box and it translates for you. The other person can do the same into the Spanish, or other language, and it will translate into English. This may have been my most used app on my trip to Latin America. The key to success with this app is understanding that some things may come across awkwardly in translation. The app does a pretty good job of correcting for things like I am hungry vs. I have hunger, but it’s not always perfect. It will get the point across 99% of the time and was a huge help when trying to get to know the ladies!
#3 Currency Exchange App (get a free one)
The truth is there are tons of currency exchange apps out there. I use this one called… wait for it…. “Currency Exchange.” Look for the icon in the photo of my iPhone above if you want to use the same one. It’s currently free and works great. Just make sure to load the currency before taking your trip. If you try to load a new currency without internet the app will crash until you find internet. As long as the currency you are going to use is loaded in advance, it works great. It does a pretty good job of staying current and is accurate enough for the average traveler. Find another way if you’re trying to day trade currencies. Just on a side note, understand that this is giving you the government approved exchanges, not black market rates.
#4 Offline Maps (various $)
There are also various offline map options. There are two options that I use and one I’m going to recommend in the 5 best offline apps for traveling Latin America. There is a third one that I use but it is complicated and I’ll go into it some other time. The offline map that makes the cut for the 5 best offline apps is OffMaps2. It’s a 99 cent app but expect to pay another $6 dollars in app to get all the functions. It’s still cheaper than most of its competitors and seems to have the most natural flow and best map selections. It does have some really weird black light options, but I’ve gotten past that.
This app allows you to find local establishments from food to fun to emergency centers for alcohol poisoning. It also gives you the option to download Wikipedia articles when you download the map. All downloaded ahead of time so you don’t need internet on the go. Quick side note for some of you out there… If you’re planning on using this on an iPad, make sure it is the 3G/4G model. The wi-fi only iPads do not have GPS! If you’re like most of my friends who have so many i-devices they refer to their Glock-19 as an iGlock, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just wanted to point it out for the rest of you.
The camera. Yes the one that came with your device. I’m not going to write about it, but don’t underestimate it. All the photos on this blog were either from my iPhone or my Android. (Good quality pics from iPhone).
And those are this gringo’s 5 best offline apps for traveling Latin America. Get Going!