So you really want to stay disconnected on your next vacation, but you're scared your cell phone addiction will get in the way? Well, you're not alone. According to a survey from intrepidtravel.com, which runs digital detox tours, the average adult said 16 hours is the longest they can stay away from their cell phones before feeling “miserable.”
Well, don't worry. You can stay disconnected without actually leaving your phone. In fact, your phone is one of the best tools available for keeping you from spending too much time on the internet.
There are a number of excellent apps with offline capabilities that will allow you to navigate new countries, stay entertained and get informed even when you don't have a connection. So save money on your roaming charges, avoid those emails from your boss and take a Facebook detox by downloading these apps:
How can you possibly stay disconnected when you've become so dependent on Google Maps' little blue dot? Well, you can still follow that blue dot all over the globe, since GPS doesn't rely on internet. The app's one downfall is that you'll need to upload maps before you disconnect.
CityMaps2Go has even more offline features, allowing you to search streets, addresses or attractions and get detailed directions even when you don’t have service.
Really want to head off the grid? Avenza PDF Maps is the king of single-purpose maps. This database has thousands of specialty maps for download, including maps from the National Park Service, nautical maps from the NOAA and maps for special events, all of which are available for offline use.
Google Translate has come a long way since the first edition of its audio translation option caused travelers everywhere to get lost in translation. While it's still not always perfect, it's usually close enough. The latest iteration of the app will even instantly translate a photo of printed text for a wide range of languages and automatically detect spoken languages, which would be helpful in say, India, where people speak in more than 1,500 tongues.
XE provides live exchange rates and historical charts, which is probably only necessary if you're a day trader. But for regular travelers who need to trade dollars with wily money changers, the app will store the last updated rates, so you can avoid getting ripped off even when you're offline.
Many traditional guidebooks are now available in digital versions, so rather than carrying a 1,000-page Lonely Planet for a week, you can take the electronic version in your pocket.
Triposo will do your online research for you, sifting through millions of websites to offer you personalized hotel and restaurant recommendations and access to offline maps, local tips, saved wish lists and previous bookings.
Tripit allows you to easily manage your bookings by creating trip itineraries that include transportation, accommodation and car rental information, all of which can be automatically imported by forwarding the app your email confirmations. Tripit will also save confirmation numbers for events, restaurant reservations and directions.
Evernote is a one-stop shop notepad, scrapbook and self-created guidebook that will allow you to save pages from the internet for later use, compile notes, integrate photos, and seamlessly sync up with all your devices to be stored forever as soon as you get internet connection.
Pocket is a total game-changer, especially if you live in a city where you lose cell phone service on public transportation. This app allows you to save articles you didn’t have time to read because you were too busy watching the latest Donald Trump parody video, and save them for offline use later. This can also be particularly helpful when saving articles relevant to your destination.
The Kindle app is just as useful as ever. The reading app will allow you to download and read books from the Kindle store without having an actual Kindle, and it even has a free and low-priced titles section.
The pay version of Spotify is totally worth the $9.99 per month (or $14.99 for up to six accounts), because in addition to providing you with ad-free music, it will also let you save thousands of songs for offline use. Now you can show your new European friends how Justin Bieber's new album is actually kind of good, even if you don't have Wi-Fi.
Freedom is a versatile app that will allow you to block yourself from using the internet for a predetermined period of time across various devices. It will also allow you to block only certain websites and schedule recurring sessions.
Similarly, Moment will track your iPhone and iPad usage each day and allow you to set daily limits.