It doesn’t take 80 days to circumnavigate the world anymore, but we do have a host of new problems, like how to stay connected when overseas and outside of our smartphone carrier’s signal!

Well, a fun article popped up on Gizmodo Japan this weekend with nine great apps to have on your iPhone while traveling the world. Based on the author’s personal 3-month long journey around the world, there are lots of good recommendations! Unfortunately, some of these apps might not help you if you don’t live in Japan, but most of them will be useful for any world traveler. We’ve come up with our own alternatives where applicable.

google maps
1. Google Maps

This one is probably the most useful. Now that you can save maps to your phone, you can even use the app offline. Combined with GPS (which doesn’t require an Internet connection), you can use your saved maps to tell if you’re going the right way on the bus or if your taxi driver is trying to rip you off…or if you’re being taken to the desert to be striped of your clothes and wallet instead of your hotel. Obviously, the iOS map app has similar functionality, but it’s complicated and not very useful.

2. Zaim

This one’s useful even when you’re not traveling. A budgeting app, it can also convert your accounts into various currencies. So whether you’re in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Chile, Brazil, or Israel, you can stay on budget in the local currency. Be careful, though, since not all currencies are supported. The app also uses the most current rates, so be sure to keep it updated!

3. Pocket

When traveling, there are tons of blog entries, restaurant information pages, and the usual sites you like to read that are inaccessible without a connection. Pocket helps out by letting you store pages for offline reading. It’s a lifesaver in cases when you open Google Chrome to find a blank white page.

4. Evernote/Google Drive/Dropbox/Any cloud app

Any cloud app will work as long as you can access documents offline. This way you can store a picture of your passport to present when entering various institutions. Of course, then you have a picture of your passport in your phone which could be trouble if your phone winds up stolen. You can also save your e-tickets and other travel documents for easy access.

5. iBooks

This is good for PDFs you’ve made yourself, particularly for travel guides. After trying a number of different apps for reading PDFs, this one was the fastest and easiest to use.

6. Kindle

We live in a convenient age where we can buy books or comics with the touch of a button. When traveling, you can buy and read books and comics on your iPad or iPhone.

7. SmartNews

This is a pretty useful app, since you can go online, download news, and then read it later when you have free time. Unfortunately, it’s not in English, so before you go abroad, make sure your RSS reader has offline functionality. Also, remember Google Reader is disappearing in July, so make sure you have something that doesn’t rely on it. Feedly is making a move to being a full replacement for Google Reader, and, though it doesn’t support offline reading entirely yet, they’ve indicated that it’s in development.

world convo
8. World Conversation Notebook

When traveling overseas, you want to at least be able to exchange greetings with the locals. This app has a bunch of basic phrases for every country in the world and also offers sound files. It’s simple but convenient, and you can search for phrases. For example, if you want to look up “How much is this?” you can enter “how” and a list of important phrases starting with that word will show up. The World Conversation Notebook handles languages for 13 countries. Unfortunately it uses Japanese as it’s base language, so you might want to check out Travel Interpreter for English support.

9. 050plus

When calling Japan, this app is really useful. As long as you’re connected to a WiFi network, you can make inexpensive phone calls and get an original number (though you can’t receive calls at the number). For example, if you lose your cash card in Italy, you can easily and quickly call Japan and get the card stopped. If you don’t happen to live in Japan, Skype would be the obvious alternative.

Source: Gizmodo Japan

Image source: Cult of Mac