Hotspot Shield VPN

You may not think of a VPN as a necessary tool when you’re traveling, but you’d be surprised what sites get blocked, depending on what country you’re visiting.

Here in Cayman, a number of sites won’t allow you to stream videos due to copyright laws based on your IP address location. This is not really a big deal; however, when sites pertaining to your travel plans are blocked, that can become a real hassle.

The Hotspot Shield VPN app is free to use, so it’s worth giving it a try before you start forking out for pricey alternatives. If the ads that pop up sometimes drive you nuts, spring for the Elite version.

Free (in-app purchases available)

travel-appsMemrise

It never hurts to be able to speak a bit of the language when visiting a foreign land. Even those who shy away from the memory of conjugated verbs on the blackboard back in school days, may find themselves to be fans of the Memrise app.

Developed by the memory champ Ed Cooke and Greg Detre, a Princeton neuroscientist, Memrise makes learning languages fun and strangely addictive through its mix of flashcards and audiovisual games. There’s also an entertaining option called “The Partial Polyglot,” which teaches you a few choice words and phrases in multiple languages.

Free, or pay for the Pro option

Avast Photo Space

How many times have you gone to take some pictures with your phone, and you get a message to say that you’re out of space and you need to delete something? It’s hard to scroll through images on the fly when time is of the essence, and you could end up deleting an image you wanted to keep.

Avast Photo Space is a new app that aims to eliminate this quandary by connecting to Dropbox or a Google Drive account and uploading the original, high-res photos for safekeeping. You’re left with a smaller-sized, lower-resolution copy of the picture on your phone, so you can still have it close at hand.

Free

5 Every Day

This app is a little narrower of focus – covering Los Angeles only – but if you’re visiting the City of Angels, you’ll probably find 5 Every Day very useful indeed.

It curates a list of five off-the-beaten path events, restaurants and activities in Los Angeles every day of the year.

You’ll get suggestions for theatrical productions, hikes, select musical events and dive bars you didn’t know about. The app is simple and intuitive, and mines the city’s events calendar for interesting goings-on. 5 Every Day is free, but allows for the unlimited “fave-ing” (that is, saving for later) of events for an additional $1.99.

Free