iPhone apps useful for travelers to Bydgoszcz

iPhone apps useful for travelers to Poland – Bydgoszcz – and beyond

By Donald G. McGahan

The traveler coming to Europe from the United States is faced with a myriad of challenges. Language is one that is of concern to the novice. Fortunately, a great number of Europeans have English skills. While the spectrum of mastery over English varies widely it is truly impressive how many Polish can deal with English. Far greater in number than the number of Americans visiting Poland.


GoogleTranslate-ImageOne tool the American visitor to Poland can use is something like Google Translator. One disadvantage to Google Translator is that it relies on communicating with Google servers and therefore requires an internet connection. This is a concern since international data packages from American cellular services are notoriously costly. Purchasing a modest data block can be valuable lifeline to quick translations using Google Translate. Google Translator web page. Google Translate in iTunes store.

Google Translate needs internet connection to function. No internet data, no translation. You can leverage Google Translate if you plan ahead. When you are at a wifi location, copy Polish content from web pages or apps and paste into Translate to get the English version. Also, you can use this in tandem with other apps. One of the most useful purposes of this application is planning ahead with purchases of train tickets by writing what you want to purchase in English, translating to Polish, and then copy and past to Notes. This way if you have no wifi, or cellular data, when you arrive at the ticket window, and need to show them what you wish to purchase in Polish, all you have to do is bring up the Note and hold it to the glass. Really speeds up the communications.

For translations of web pages see browser translations below.


Maps.Me-icon175x175Another tool the American visitor to Poland may find valuable is a map app. Map apps, such as Google Maps or the Apple Map app, are built into nearly all smartphones today. These applications also require an internet connection to servers. Given the graphical nature of the data there is a fair bit of bandwidth transmitted by these native applications. As of the writing of this page another alternative is Maps.me. Maps.Me link to iTunes store.

Once the Maps.Me app is downloaded you are not done yet. In the app look to the lower right of the screen and tap on the three stacked lines to get a pop-up menu. Choose Download Maps and download the country, or portion of the country, that you will visit. For Poland choose Europe and then find Poland. This will allow zooming in to street level maps for more detail. Once all the downloading has occurred, via wifi to keep costs down, the maps are accessed offline and this works even with cellular data turned off.

A stellar tip: the mobile device will use its GPS capabilities to keep track of where you are. An iPad without cellular will not track your location though. I have tested this tracking the location with all cellular data turned off on my iPhone and it works great! No data used. These are open source maps so you cannot expect the richness of building and business names, but it is a great help.

Poland-Travel-Guide-With-Me-OfflineFor the travel guide reader who does not want to buy the travel guide there is Poland Travel Guide With Me Offline. I am just now evaluating this app, but it looks promising. I ran across it in my use of the above described Maps.me app which it uses.

This app covers a bit of several locals in Poland.

Apple_SafariTeach your Safari Polish. Google Chrome will already translate Polish to bing-imageEnglish, but Chrome is not nearly as miserly on battery juice as is Safari. Battery life is a huge consideration when traveling. To enable translation in Safari first download Bing Search from the app store.

  1. Launch Safari on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Pull up any web page and tap on the Share button in the bottom navigation.
  3. In the bottom row of icons, scroll horizontally and tap on the More button.
  4. Turn On the option for Bing translator and drag it to whatever position you’d like it to appear in.

Now you have three browsers that will translate for you!

rome2rio-2When traveling sometimes you want to alter your itinerary or take a side excursion. Lots of questions arise when making these decisions, but chief among the “need to know” is how long does it take to get there, how much does it cost, and what are my transportation options.

For really quick and adaptive research I like the Rome2Rio app, or the website.

ICCCIn Poland a robust rail system exists. It is relatively comfortable and affordable. The National rail system is PKP. I have used the ICCC mobile but somewhere among the updates I/they seem to have lost the English version button and now I mostly use the web page which adapts to mobile devices. It is maybe important to point out that some trains you can board without a prior ticket and pay the porter, with a slight surcharge. The Express Intercity Premium trains explicitly state that tickets have to be purchased in advance. Mind the transit time because there are essentially three types of trains and the travel time can be vastly different.


To call to the USA or Canada for no charge Google Hangouts is the app. When in wifi connection it is truly cost-less. If you allow Hangouts to use cellular data then there is the data cost. To do Hangouts you’ll need a Google account, free, and install the app if using a tablet or smartphone.

Calling to other Hangouts users is also free, no matter where they are, unless you are using paid for cellular data. To call other non USA or Canada landlines and mobile phones add credit to your account.

When in wifi this is a great way to communicate because Hangouts also supports chat messaging and video messaging.

For more Google Hangouts Help.

Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection.

  • Online Security
  • Identity Protection
  • Stop Eavesdroppers
  • Anonymity
  • Unblock Websites
  • Uncensored Internet Access

Many providers exist and the level of technical skills requires of the user varies.

ExpressVPN is touted by many travel blogs an currently it is $12.99 per month with discounts for 6 month ($59.99) and 12 month ($99.95) subscriptions.

images-3As of the writing of this page I am using PrivateInternetAccess (PIA) at $39.99 per year though a $6.99 per month subscription exists. Shop around and choose your service. My opinion is that PIA works, but could be more friendly on iOS devices. The iOS setup is really not that hard, but if you want to change the server country it is a bit cumbersome. Frankly, I am not sure other services are better in this respect.



Open VPN has apps that help get connected on smartphones when using PIA.



Note: ExpressVPN is reported to work even from China (if you need to travel to China).


Bydgoszcz-Image-1For Bydgoszcz itself there is a website and a mobile version of the website. The iPhone mobile app and Google Play app may be available, but as of the writing of this page (May 2015) the iPhone Mobile was not available. I have a version from the past and it works, but I am not sure if this will be updated. Perhaps they are promoting the mobi version of the web site as a replacement of the generalized Bydgoszcz app.

For a Bydgoszcz Events app: iPhone mobile and Google Play. As of the writing of this page (May 2015) the iPhone version is available.


A must visit in Bydgoszcz is the open air Bazar.

The Bazar is at Plac Piastowski with the cross streets of Śniadeckich and Wileńska streets.


That is a list of apps useful for Poland travel. Check back later as I’ll add more as I find useful or indispensable apps. Feel free to suggest candidates for inclusion here.

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