One of the best ways to prepare for a trip is by using something you might already own: your smartphone. If you get a local SIM card, your phone lets you call fellow travelers or keep in touch with your lodging area if you get lost. But even without a network abroad, there are many ways to stay connected over WiFi. With the right applications, your phone is the perfect traveling resource. From local Yelp alternatives to popular messaging apps, your smart phone can make you a smarter traveler.
Today, I will be featuring the top five apps for traveling in one of the most plugged in countries in the world: South Korea.
If you live in Korea, you probably already have this app. Everyone, no matter young or old, has downloaded this onto their phone. The messenger app allows you to communicate with friends anywhere so long as you have an Internet connection. Many travelers forego the hassle of getting a SIM card and just rely on this app because of the plethora of WiFi options in the major cities.
Bonus: KakaoTalk also has built in calling and video calling. Have your friends and family from home download it so you can use it in lieu of Skype!
Naver’s English to Korean Dictionary
Please don’t use Google Translator. Please don’t. I know that the Google Translator app is pretty good for some languages, but not for Korean.
Naver’s English to Korean Dictionary is the best app for all your translation needs. This app was very popular amongst my classmates in my Korean class while studying abroad. Whenever our professor could not explain a word in Korean, we deferred to this app. Do yourself a favor; use this instead of Google Translator.
Subway or 지하철 (Ji Ha Cheol)
There are only so many ways to make a subway app different and yet there are a lot of options to choose from. The Subway or 지하철 (Ji Ha Cheol) app is certainly not the only option to choose from nor is it necessarily the best. It is, however, the most popular rendition of the Seoul subway map and for good reasons. Not only is it accurate, but also detailed—it tells you which car is closest to your transfer.
When I first visited Korea for a study abroad program, this was one of the first apps that I downloaded. I never felt the need to switch to another one. You might find another app that fits your needs better, but this is not a bad one to start out with.
NaverMap OR DaumMap
Google maps is not very helpful in Korea as you might have previously thought. Both Naver and Daum produce great GPS/map apps and each have their pros and cons. I personally prefer Daum because they also include bus stops. It’s up to personal preference, but you must be able to type in Korean to utilize these apps.
Tired of eating out all the time? Is it monsoon season and you don’t want to get drenched from head to toe? Consider using Yogiyo, the most popular food delivery food service app in Korea. Directly translated to English, Yogiyo means “Here” or “It’s here.” This is a nice play on Cheogiyo, meaning “There” or “It’s there.” Cheogiyo is a phrase to call a server over to your table when eating out. But instead of eating out, you are eating “here,” aka wherever you are!
To use the app one will need to have basic knowledge of Korean, but it’s better than dealing with the anxiety of ordering over the phone.