Studying abroad can be a challenging experience, especially for students who are leaving the country for the first time. Traveling is always more enjoyable when you can be organized and prepared for any potential adventure or problem. Today, most students are aware of the most popular smartphone apps such as apps like Instagram, Skype, and Uber, but there are several under the radar apps that can be clutch for any traveler, especially students that are studying abroad. We’ve outlined a few of the better apps along with a few honorable mentions, that you should consider downloading before you embark on your journey. Be sure to remember to check with your service provider to make sure you have a clear understanding of what services will be available to you abroad, and how much any additional data will cost so that it can be accounted for in your budget.
Best Social App
Like a Local: Like a Local give insight on local attractions, eateries, and hangout spots to help travelers avoid the tourist traps. The reviews are written by actual locals, not professional traveling writers. This gives users an inside track to getting the most out of their study abroad experiences. This app is free for iOS and Android. (Pro Tip: Use your discretion. Local and off the beaten path, doesn’t always mean safe).
Best Budgeting App
Trail Wallet: Trail Wallet is an app designed to help travelers keep track of their daily spending while abroad. The easy to use interface allows you to set a daily, weekly, or monthly budget and enter purchases as you go, to keep your spending under control while abroad. Trail Wallet is free for iOS users. Android users will find Monefy, to be a similar and capable alternative. (Pro Tip: Unlike popular apps like Mint, Trail Wallet and Monefy also allow you to switch between currencies and update the exchange rate for accurate accounting. Monefy also enables users to switch between various languages.)
Best Map App
Google Maps: At this point, most smartphone users who’ve ever needed driving directions are familiar with Google Maps. What many don’t know is that Google Maps also offers transit directions for bus, train, and subway routes. The map data that Google has under its belt is unmatched any other maps database and is not limited to American or European cities. That means wherever you go; Google Maps can most likely provide you transit directions. Google Maps is available free on iOS, and Android. (Pro Tip: Be sure to download maps of your specific destinations ahead of time so that you will have access to maps and directions without WiFi or cellular service).
Best Safety App
Smart Traveler: This app, designed by the U.S. State Department is a must have for any international traveler, especially those going to off the beaten path locations, and locations that can be politically unstable. This app allows users to e-register with U.S. Embassies and consulates and sends alerts and warnings if there is potential for violence or even natural disasters. The Smart Traveler app is free and available for iOS and Android. (Pro Tip: Although this is a government app, it does not save any personal information.)
Best Language App
Google Translate: Yes, a big part of traveling abroad is learning a new language, so this one might be cheating. Google Translate, however, can help you with specific words and phrases in a pinch. Speak into the app using your phone’s microphone, and the app will translate to the desired language. Google Translate is available free on iOS and Android. (Pro Tip: You can use your phone’s camera and microphone to translate signs and real-time conversations instantly).
Best App for Communication
WhatsApp Messenger: This app allows you to send messages to any of your contacts using a WiFi or 3G connection to avoid paying SMS messaging fees with your service carrier and is free on iOS, Windows and Android devices. (Pro Tip: The broadcast feature lets you send one message to multiple contacts, but appears as a private message instead of a group text).
Authored by: Byron Francis