Free Android Apps for your trip


First off, an important tip: trash your APN (i.e. Data) toggling widget before you leave the country so you don’t inadvertently turn on data while your phone is on roaming overseas and chalk up heart-wrenching charges to your phone bill.

Now, if you are not going to use data while overseas, you will need to get the information you need into your phone beforehand. Here are the apps you may want to use:

xe currency – Ok, for this app, you actually need data connection to get currency exchange rate updates. What you can do is to perform updates up to the point before you trash your APN widget. Thereafter, while overseas, even without data, you can use this app to get a fairly accurate calculation of prices in your local currency (long press on a currency to enter the price in that currency).

ShootMe – This app captures your phone screenshots, which is useful for taking screenshots of the Google map searches you do on your phone for those places overseas you need to get to. Note that this app requires that you root your phone though (as with just about all the phone screenshot capture apps).

OsmAnd – OsmAnd stands for Open Street Map for Android. This app strives to be a full-fledge GPS app, but fails at navigation and address search (which relies on user contribution to its address indexes). However, it does offline map browsing just fine. Grab your offline maps from GoogleMaps. Here’s how:

  • Download Mobile Atlas Creator for ripping map tiles. Get zoom levels 11 through 17 (down to 100 meters which gives you fairly good detail).
  • Put the map tiles into the /sdcard/osmand/tiles/GoogleMaps folder. If you need maps for a few cities/countries, what you could do is to save the map for each city in a separate folder (e.g. /sdcard/osmand/tiles/Sydney, /sdcard/osmand/tiles/Hong Kong) and rename the folder to /sdcard/osmand/tiles/GoogleMaps when you need to switch to it.
  • Download the city/country index from Settings -> Data -> Download indexes. This allows you to perform searches of at least the major roads of the city/country.
  • Remember to turn off the “Use Internet” option in the settings

Compass – Besides offering you the obvious functionality of a compass, which may come in handy at times, it also allows you to keep track of places you have been to, taking notes and photos of the place through the companion app, Catch. This in my opinion is better than Trip Journal (Lite version is free), which, though it offers the ability to tag a place to a specific trip and has a nice looking user interface, is overly complex (non-intuitive) to use.

Been There – Finally, once you’ve been there, you’ll probably want to browse photos you’ve taken of those places. This app lays out the photos according to its location on a map, provided you’ve geo-tagged your photos (turn on GPS in your camera settings). And yes, you do need data connection for the map display, which, now that you’re back home, you can safely turn on.

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