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Top 5 Must-Have Phone Apps for International Traveling

By Dennis Peng|Tuesday July 10, 2018

Are you preparing for your next international trip? Whether you’re traveling for business or are about to have an overseas adventure, getting ready requires more than packing your suitcases. You’ll need digital tools to help you get around, stay connected, and understand what people are saying.

essential apps for business travel

Here are our recommendations for the five essential apps for your next international trip.

Google Maps App

You may already be using the Google Maps app at home, but it’s likely that the app has just as much information about your international destination as it does about your local Main Street. Wondering how extensive their maps are? Google Maps has roadmaps for the Galapagos Islands, and there’s a Galapagos street view too.

In addition to the broad reach of Google Maps, there is another major advantage of using the app when traveling internationally — the ability to use the maps offline. By downloading specified map areas to your device, you can access the maps without using cellular data and without needing Wi-Fi. So when your travel group gets lost in Melbourne, you’ll have the street map at your fingertips to save the day.

Download (iOS, Android)

Google Translate App

Even if you prepare for your trip with endless Rosetta Stone lessons, it’s useful to have language tools to help you navigate a foreign tongue. Luckily, carrying travel dictionaries is no longer necessary.

The Google Translate app has amazed us with its language translation ability, making it an essential resource when traveling to countries where they speak other languages. The app can translate typed text from English to another language and in the reverse direction. It can also translate spoken words in both directions.

For example, you can type in foreign words to figure out what they mean. You can also speak into your phone in English, and it will give you the foreign language translation. And if you want to understand what someone else is saying, ask them to speak into your phone so that the app can translate it into English for you. Moreover, the translate images function lets you hold your phone’s camera up to printed text, and the app will translate it into your language.

Plus, like Google Maps, you can use the app offline by downloading individual language dictionaries to your device.

Download iOS, Android


Getting an Uber when you’re in Milan is just as easy as it is in Philadelphia. For example, when you land at your destination airport, the Uber app can help you get to your hotel easily. Simply connect to the airport’s Wi-Fi, choose your ride, set your destination, and then get your driver.

use uber app when traveling

Uber is available in cities around the globe, and it can be a great way to meet a local while also affordably getting where you need to go. Plus, you don’t need to make a new Uber account when catching rides in international locations. To avoid international cellular data charges, be sure to connect to Wi-Fi before using the app.


WhatsApp can keep you texting while you’re traveling. When using your smartphone overseas, many cellular phone plans can charge high international rates for texts that are sent or received. Plus, for many cellular providers, text messages are billed per recipient. So a single SMS sent to five people while abroad would be billed as five international text messages.

Whether you’re using WhatsApp for group chats to keep your contacts in the loop or you have a pic to share, WhatsApp has you covered with free text messaging. To avoid data charges, connect to Wi-Fi.

Ooma Free Calling App

Sometimes, texting isn’t enough. Ooma makes it easy to have a conversation with its free calling app.

All Ooma Telo customers can use the app to make unlimited calls to the U.S. Use it to make personal or business calls. Call home to share stories about your travels or call the office to ensure your work projects are problem-free. Remember to connect to Wi-Fi to avoid any cellular data charges.

low-cost international rates with Ooma app

The free calling app also gives you access to many other international calling benefits, including low-cost international rates. So if you need to make a call to your hotel in Osaka, Japan, it would cost only pennies per minute no matter where you’re calling from.

Both Basic service and Premier customers can use the app for unlimited outbound calls to U.S. numbers, one-touch voicemail access, remote 911 service, and more.

Premier customers gain access to additional functionality, such as being able to both make and receive unlimited phone calls. Subscriptions cost a low $9.99 per month for access to a host of advanced calling features, including Do Not Disturb, voicemail audio forwarding to email, and unlimited calling to Canadian, Puerto Rican, and Mexican contacts. Premier customers can also add on the voice-to-text voicemail transcription service so that you can avoid listening to messages while traveling and receive the message as a written email. This function can be especially useful when traveling to locations like Japan where it’s a faux pas to talk on the phone in certain public spaces.

Whether you’re using the app as a free Basic customer or as a paid Premier customer, the app is linked to your Ooma account back home so you’ll stay connected 24/7.

Want some additional recommendations for frequent travelers? Check out our Guide to Running Your Business From Your Mobile Device.

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Loyal customers are critical to business success because they tend to be a source of repeat business. According to The Loyalty Report 2018, “Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with Members see 27% more of their Membership increasing their spend with the Brand.” This research tells us that building customer loyalty can lead to more spending.

Loyalty programs vs. improving customer experience: Designing your approach

There are different approaches to building customer loyalty. Some companies use loyalty program cards, bonus offers and other incentives. You might offer access to special deals like CVS or take 5% off the purchase price like Target. You might even give some or part of your product away for free, like airlines that provide free flights through their loyalty programs. What if your small business isn’t interested or able to offer these kinds of loyalty programs?

There is another way to encourage loyal customers to keep giving you repeat business. Gather customer feedback through a phone survey and then use that data to improve the customer experience. When customers see that the business owner has acted on their feedback, they may feel inspired to return to that business. That means more revenue for the bottom line. You just need a fast and straightforward way to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. That’s where a focused business phone survey comes in.

Why increasing customer loyalty with a phone survey is a good choice.

Organizing a customer satisfaction survey by phone offers notable advantages compared to other methods. While a net promoter survey can give you interesting data, there is no conversational element involved. Further, using the net promoter survey approach effectively requires a certain degree of specialized training in the net promoter methodology.

You might also consider online customer surveys. Surveying your email list or website is worth attempting. Depending on the size of your email list or website traffic, you might be able to get a large number of survey responses. The challenge with online customer surveys is that you will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the data to find insights. There is no way to ask a customer to clarify their survey responses or provide an example.

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey by phone gives you the best of both worlds. You can ask questions and get survey responses. However, you also have the opportunity to provide the human touch. For instance, you may hear a customer complain about a lost or delayed order. When you hear about a problem during a phone survey, you can gather all the necessary details to make the situation right with the customer.

How to increase customer loyalty with a phone survey step by step.

The following steps give you a starting point to create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Over the course of a month, you could gather a significant amount of insights to improve your customer service by calling five to 10 customers per day.

  1. Define your customer satisfaction survey goals.

Before calling a single customer, reflect on your business goals. Are you seeking to improve your profit margins? In that case, you may want to focus your survey on the customers that spend the most on your business. Finding ways to make high-spending customers content may give you an excellent return. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your survey project on whether your local SEO has attracted customers. 

  1. Write your customer satisfaction survey questions.

Now that you have clarity on your goals, it is time to write your questions. According to Survey Monkey, a survey software company, it is best to focus your survey on closed-ended questions. An example of a closed-ended question would be: “How many times have you bought from our business in the past 12 months?” However, this kind of question may not give you the ideas you need to improve the customer experience.

At the end of the survey, consider asking one or two open-ended questions to understand better what your customers like. Encourage customers to think creatively with a question like this: “If you could change anything in our business, what would you improve?”

Tip: Reduce your need for note-taking by using call recording, but make sure that you ask for permission first.

  1. Test the survey with a small group of customers.

With your list of customer satisfaction questions, make a few test phone calls to customers. The purpose of the test is to discover if any of the questions are unclear. If you receive confusing answers, revise the question to make them clearer.

  1. Train employees on how to gather survey responses.

Consider running a few training phone calls for your employees. Ask them to call you or other employees in a role-playing scenario. Making a few practice calls will help your employees become more familiar with the questions. Besides, practice phone surveys will help employees learn how to record survey responses accurately. Once the training is complete, give your staff a list of customers to call and let them get started.

  1. Review the survey responses for insights and follow up with customers.

After all of the survey responses are in, schedule time to review the results. In particular, look for patterns in the results. If a large number of people gave low scores to your website, you may need to make improvements. Also, review the survey responses received in the open-ended questions. You might be pleasantly surprised at what customers tell you.

  1. Follow up with customers after the survey when needed.

A phone survey lets you gather rich insights because you can quickly ask follow-up questions. However, merely gathering survey responses may not impress your customers very much. Instead, offer to refer problems to the business owner for improvement or offer to enter the respondent in a drawing for a gift card. That is a much more compelling improvement! By addressing problems and issues when they arise, you stand a much better chance of winning additional loyal customers.