There's something to be said for leaving your electronics behind when you travel, as they can get a bit distracting when you're trying to enjoy your holiday. Look into the audience at any event or landmark and you see a sea of cell phones instead of faces. However, if you know what apps to download, your tech gadgets can become your best (and most portable!) travel companions.

Here are our three favourite apps to make your smartphone smarter and to help you acclimate to your new surroundings quickly on your next big trip.

Viber

If you're like most Kiwis, you love your smartphone. It's the best way to keep in touch with friends and family when you're home, but it quickly morphs into a waste of (heavy!) space because you won't have service when travelling abroad.

Fear not! With Viber, you can send free text messages and make phone calls over the internet, so whenever you have Wi-Fi connectivity or can connect to a data network, you can keep in touch with anyone using Viber, anywhere in the world. This app instantly integrates with your existing contact list and offers some of the best quality mobile calls using 3G or Wi-Fi.

UrbanSpoon

One of the best parts of visiting a new place is getting the chance to try different foods. But, many tourists don't know where the best restaurants are! UrbanSpoon has your back. This app's users review and rate restaurants in cities and towns all over the world so no matter where you are, you have real, unbiased reviews on the eateries around you.

In addition to reading reviews, you can also look up menus and contact information on the go so you can make reservations for you and your travel companions when you find the right place. In addition, UrbanSpoon lets you see real waitlists, get access to your wish list and see nearby restaurants options listed by location and price on a map!  This app will make you feel like a native, no matter where your travels take you.

Google Translate

Leave it to Google to create one of the most essential apps for international travellers. Google's translation app may not be as well-known as Google's general search or Gmail, but this little app is immensely helpful when you're scratching your head at that Thai menu or trying to read a French road sign.Google Translate can help you break the language barriers and translate text between more than 70 languages. Even better, you don't need an internet connection to translate offline. And, as only Google can do, you can speak, type write or even take a picture to have it translated.

Now that you have these cool apps to download to your smartphone, take the extra step to cover your devices. Electronics are pricey, and many of us depend on them for work and social events. The next time you travel, be sure to cover your electronics with an international travel insurance plan.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance.