Best offline iOS travel apps?
September 17, 2012 7:18 AM   Subscribe

What are the best iOS apps you can use while travelling without a data plan?

We just got back from a European vacation and found the TripAdvisor City Guides app to be invaluable. We didn't have a data plan but they let you find your place on a map and look up restaurants, sites, etc without a network connection. Biggest problem is they only support a small list of around 20 cities. It made us wonder what other apps we are missing out on. Any suggestions?
posted by smackfu to Technology (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of apps are you looking for? Just map-related apps? Or other categories?

Most games don't require an internet connection, for example, nor does the Kindle.
posted by dfriedman at 7:20 AM on September 17, 2012

OffMaps2 allows you to download maps of various cities/regions for offline. The app will also download the relevant wiki articles if you wish, and in several languages.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 7:43 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you keep the database updated when you are online, JiWire will tell you where to find the closest free/paid hotspots.
posted by jquinby at 7:44 AM on September 17, 2012

There's an offline Wikipedia app that may be useful, and an offline Wikitravel app.
posted by jedicus at 7:50 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Wikipedia offline.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:13 AM on September 17, 2012

You can use Instapaper, Evernote, Dropbox & Goodreader to save web pages, notes, and pdfs and have them available offline - this requires research beforehand, but then you'll have all the research on your device. Most transit systems, for instance, have pdf versions of their system maps available, and if you save those to Dropbox you can either set them to be available offline in the Dropbox app or sync the folder to Goodreader.

Offmaps is good, and there's an app called AllTrails that lets you download trail maps.

I've found that the Accio language dictionaries are very helpful when traveling - fast, entirely offline.

I don't know of a good offline restaurant directory app (maybe Zagat?). The Yelp app does let you mark bookmarks, which caches some basic information offline.

Having offline Wikipedia is pretty amazing - not exactly great for finding restaurants but if you are vaguely curious about any proper noun you encounter you have access to a wealth of information about it.

Here's a travel apps link I have bookmarked: it doesn't have a specific focus on offline apps but mentions offline capabilities where they exist.
posted by yarrow at 8:33 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Spotted by locals (iOS, Android, or pdf) - I really liked their Barcelona (both the way the app worked, as well as their info), so I'm guessing their other cities are good, too.

On another tack, entirely: Geocaching, with its app, has proven to be a great, off-the-usual-track travel companion/game, with excellent offline functionality (iOS).
posted by progosk at 1:44 PM on September 17, 2012

I like CityMaps2Go.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:32 PM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm a bit (very) biased as co-founder, but I would say Spotted by Locals too! We provide up-to-date tips by locals in 44 European cities - both Android and iPhone app work 100% offline
posted by spottedbylocals at 11:06 PM on September 17, 2012

Very emphatically seconding City Maps to Go. Like the Trip Advisor app, it has pre-downloadable cities that work with Location Services and the locations of lots of restaurants and attactions, but it has maps for almost any city you can think of. We found that it worked best when researched a little when we had access to WiFi using the online Trip Advisor app.

Last year when we went to Europe we spent $100+ on data because we didn't know such apps existed. This year we spent nothing at all. CityMaps2Go was just like having Google Maps for every city we visited.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:09 AM on September 18, 2012

We used copilot live for GPS driving directions on a recent trip. You can download one set of maps for free and use them offline, although you will need the 3G version of the iPad for this (for the GPS, even though you don't need a data plan).
posted by piyushnz at 1:09 PM on September 18, 2012

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