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Tech

10 travel apps fit for James Bond

International intrigue and espionage is tough work. These apps will up your spy game (or at least make traveling abroad easier).

by Michael Carl Budd

Being a globe-trotting secret agent is a tall order.  You narrowly avoid death, get seduced, and deftly avoid detection, all while getting over jetlag.  Don't make things harder than they have to be — use these 10 apps to keeping in touch (clandestinely of course), understand foreign tongues, find your way around, fend off terrorists, an dmore.  

Communication

You may not have a cache of cleverly disguised radio transmitters lying around, but your smartphone's probably even better at securing your communications than some of Bond's early gadgets.  There's a sea of apps out there, but these are the best and most secure available, even in light of recent rumblings of intelligence entities being able to crack them.  

 

1
Signal

Gizmodo calls Signal the "holy grail of encrypted messaging apps."  Free, straightforward, and secure, there's really no reason not to use to Signal to keep your secret spy plans (or your dinner plans) safe from prying eyes.  The app allows for both text messaging and calling.  

Signal
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WhatsApp

WhatsApp has the advantage of having a massive user base, so chances are, many of your friends and relatives are already on it — no extra apps to download.  With automatic end-to-end encryption that uses the Signal Protocol, WhatsApp is just about as spy-suitable as Signal itself.  Some users are a little skeptical about Facebook's ownership of the app, but by all acounts, it hasn't affected privacy and security.

WhatsApp

Navigation

If you don't happen to have a MINOX camera to snap surreptitious photos of supervillians' secret maps, you'll want to stick with these apps to situate yourself on your next mission.  

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Rome2rio

Even the savviest spy needs a little navigation assistance in order to select the best route.  Rome2rio offers a host of options to get you from point A to point B just about anywhere in the world. Not only will the app yield different transportation options — planes, trains, and automobiles are just the beginning — but you'll also see estimated fares as well.
 

Rome2rio
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Google Maps

Google Maps, is the reigning map app, so ubiquitous that you probably already have it.  If you don't feel like cluttering your phone with extra apps for a trip, then this one will largely do the trick.  One particularly helpful feature is offline maps.  If you are planning on flying somewhere where you need to grab a SIM card and won't have internet right when you land, you can prepared with an offline map.  It doesn't have walking directions or mass transit functionality, however.  When you're back online, you can largely expect the same functionality that you enjoy in your home country.

Google Maps
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Maps.Me

Maps.Me has got you covered the world over and has better offline functionality than Google Maps including an offline search feature.  It's also powered by OpenStreetMap that you'll appreciate if you're a collaborative, open-source kind of a spy.  

Maps.Me

Exchange

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XE Currency Converter

When you need to know immediately how many rubles your pound sterling will fetch, XE Currency Converter is the way to go.  It offers live rates when you're connected to the internet, but stores the latest rates so you can use it offline as well.  The basic version is free and highly functional, but the pro version spares you ads.  

XE Currency Converter

Translation

In Live and Let Die, Agent Dawes was killed when an evil henchman hijacked his translation feed and send brain-liquifying ultrasonic doom into his head.  So please, don't get your translations from a villain.  Get the from these handy apps.

 

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Google Translate

Probably the most popular translation site and app out there among English-language users, Google Translate supports over a 100 languages with its typed translation feature, half of which come with offline funcitonality.  Google continues to add more languages to its Word Lens feature, which allows you to hold up your smartphone to transform foreign words around you into your native language.  For many langauges, Chinese for example, the translations are far from perfect, but constantly improving.  If you're on a Eurocentric mission, Google Translate will do the trick.

Google Translate
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iTranslate Voice

iTranslate Voice feels a lot like the future.  You just talk into a phone and it talks for you to someone who doesn't speak a lick of your language.  Functionality and language availability vary, sure, but it's still really freaking impressive.  When you weren't up to snuff in your language training, but still have to cultivate that mole in the foreign intelligence services, you'll need this app.  

iTranslate Voice

Survival

In the course of your espionage (or travel), you may end up confronting nefarious evildoers, extreme conditions, and forces of nature (like your bowels).  These apps will give you a fighting chance at survival.

 

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SAS Survival Guide

Lofty Wiseman's SAS Survival Guide app will prepare you to handle everything from snakes to poisonous plants to terrorists.  Anyone traveling on Her Majesty's Secret Service will want to know Morse code or how to start a fire at a minimum.  Available for Android and iPhone.

SAS Survival Guide
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Flush Toilet Finder

For the spy who has to go, JRuston Apps brings you Flush, "the quickest, simplest way of finding a public bathroom or restroom".  Because hey, sometimes finding the WC feels like a matter of survival too.

Flush Toilet Finder
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