- As Business Insider’s international correspondent, I’ve spent the past six months traveling through Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Greece, Israel, and Russia, among other places.
- Most countries these days have homegrown apps that are specifically tailored to the needs of the people who live there.
- Knowing which apps are most used when visiting a country can make your trip more efficient and seamless. I decided it would be fun to reveal the homegrown apps I used in each country I visited.
- Among the many, many apps I used were WeChat, KakaoTalk, Naver Maps, Go-Jek, and Grab.
As Business Insider’s international correspondent, I’ve spent the past six months traveling through Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Greece, Israel, and Russia, among other places.
Traveling for a living is a fun, exhilarating, and, quite frankly, exhausting experience. But the best way to make it more fun and less exhausting is to have a digital toolkit — i.e., a smartphone loaded up with every app I need to get things done as efficiently as possible.
When I get off a plane, I want to know how much money to take out of the ATM, how to hail a cab, where the best hole-in-the-wall restaurant is for dinner, and how to say, “I’d like to order 10 of those, please.”
But contrary to many Americans’ expectations, not every country uses GoogleMaps or Uber. Most countries these days have homegrown apps that are specifically tailored to the needs of the people who live there. Researching which apps are most used in each country I visited made traveling much easier.
With 12 countries checked off on the trip so far (and who knows how many to go), I decided it was time to reveal the apps I used in each country.
Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration for your next trip abroad.
Anywhere: ExpressVPN ($12.95/month)
If you plan on traveling to China, Russia, or any other country with a limited internet, plan on getting ExpressVPN. VPNs, or virtual private networks, create a secure internet tunnel connecting where you are with some other place on the network, like the US. If you want to get over China’s Great Firewall, VPNs are the way to do it.
ExpressVPN is not the cheapest VPN around but, in my experience, it’s the fastest and most reliable.
Anywhere: Google Translate (free)
Yes, Google Translate can teach you how to say “Nǐ hǎo” — but did you know you can download entire languages for offline translation, or hold it up to signs or menus for instant translation?
Hong Kong: OpenRice (free)
The quality of restaurant and other small business recommendations in any place you visit depends entirely on having an active community for a particular app. OpenRice doesn’t have the best interface in the world, but it is what Hong Kongers use most to find that perfect bowl of noodles.