7 Of The Best Apps for Easy Traveling in China
What are some of the best apps for making traveling in China easier? I know traveling in China is a daunting idea, and a little scary, especially if it’s your first time in China and you don’t know what you’re doing. Living there for two years afforded me the inside knowledge of the common apps used by both expats and the locals. Below are 7 of my favorite apps for traveling in China. My best advice to you when choosing apps that make your adventure in China easier is to use the apps that the locals use. You’ll be better for it.
Pleco Chinese Dictionary
The best app for expats learning the language, Pleco is the number one English / Chinese dictionary for learning and translation. You can write English to Chinese or Chinese to English and you can play the Chinese word and learn how to properly voice it. Pleco also offers you a reader option where you can paste content from books and learn to read common phrases! The downside to this app is that it’s not like a regular translator but I have a good app for that too.
One of the reasons Americans have difficulty understanding Chinese is because Americans made the English to Chinese dictionary. So, the app is designed by Americans for Americans to help them understand Chinese, which doesn’t make sense. So, instead, get a more accurate translation using a well know Chinese to English app, Youdao. Your translation will be more accurate more often and anything you translate through there will be easier for a host country national to understand.
Chances are, you’ll make some friends over there, and some pretty cool ones to boot. They may want to keep in touch while you’re back in your native country. One of my favorite apps for socializing with the locals is WeChat. And Not only is it a useful tool for communication, it is a useful tool for learning the Chinese language. You can send text messages and voice messages and use them to practice reading and listening comprehension. And if there is a text message you don’t quite understand, WeChat has a translate function to help you decipher the message.
I tried not to use Google too much in China because the Great Firewall of China isn’t friends with Google and even with a VPN, the connection is not always reliable. I use Baidu maps to get around in China because it gives you a more updated and accurate location for the places you’re looking for. The downside of this useful app is that it’s not in English, so you’ll have to learn to read a little bit of Chinese.
I used Ctrip a lot for travel because it’s character specifically for travel in China because using an app designed for China is usually cheaper. Using a travel app made in America means you may charge a tad bit more. You can book hotels, train rides, and flights from anywhere in China and even outside. What’s great about this useful app is that it’s not only in Chinese, but it’s in English as well for users who like to travel but don’t want to hassle with using too many sketchy travel apps. After a while too, you can accumulate travel points and use them later for other travel.
If you’re going to China with the intention of picking up some of the language and don’t want to carry around a stack of flash cards or a notebook full of words you right down, this is a VERY useful app to help you extend your learning It’s the modern-day flashcard set. Add the character, the pinyin, and voila, you have a flashcard. And while you’re traveling around the country enjoying China, you can study your flashcards on the bus, plane, or train to pass the time.
Didi is the Uber driver of China. This useful app is mostly in Chinese, so being relatively familiar with the language will help. However, you can book car rides home, sort of like Uber. The driver will call you up, ask for you to confirm your location and then before you know it, they’ll be picking you up to take you back to your hostel. As easy as Uber.
Local Transit Apps
Now, I am a big fan of taxi’s but they can get expensive after a while especially if you’re traveling on a budget. You can use the subways and light rails really easily if you download the right transit app for the city you’re traveling. Some of them are in English and show the pinyin for the train stations to make it easier for those who aren’t familiar with the language. Choose any one of the useful local transit apps and you can’t go wrong, plus you’ll save money utilizing local transit.
Those are some of my favorite apps and I hope they are useful to you while you travel to China! If you have questions about other some of the other best apps please leave your comments and questions below! If you have traveled to China already and you have some of the best apps to share.