Apps are a must have when jetting off for your study abroad. They can make your life so much easier when you are away by saving you time and hassle. I have a really outdated phone – Galaxy S3 mini – so all of these apps are available for android, however, I am not sure about iPhones.
Here is a list of my top apps I could not live without while studying abroad:
This app is a currency converter. It is really simple to use, which is why I love it. Being unfamiliar with the national currency is a bit of a struggle when you first arrive so it is nice to be able to quickly compare prices with familiar rates. It also will auto-update to make sure you are getting the most recent exchange rate. I mainly use this app for converting SEK to USD but it can work for almost any currency.
WhatsApp is probably the most common app for texting when in a different country. Almost everyone I have met uses this app. It is nice because it allows you to send texts via your phone number to others over wifi. It doesn’t cost you anything because it only works with a wifi connections. The downside to this is that when you are out and about without wifi, it isn’t really useful.
Personally, I don’t prefer this app. I don’t really have a good reason other than I started using a different app for texting and like to stick to it.
Viber is my preferred app for texting. It is basically the same concept as WhatsApp, you can text your friends or family with your phone number via wifi. One thing that makes this app more useful than WhatsApp is that with Viber you can place free calls over wifi. I use this to call my family oversea’s and it always works great. I usually get a good connection and don’t have any problems with disconnection.
4. Facebook Messenger
Although I am not a huge fan of the Facebook app (it takes up a lot of space on my phone) I consider it a necessary one for study abroad. In my experience, everything is planned through Facebook. From group projects at school, to weekend parties to local flea markets, everything is posted as an event on Facebook. Having the ability to quickly and easily send a message to a friend or group is very useful. You can also make pretty decent calls on this app too, which I like.
Skype is also a great app for connecting with people. It has better video quality than some of the other messaging apps, so it is nice to have in your repertoire. I don’t often use this app on my phone because I also have it on my computer, but if you are on the go and want a quick video chat, it is a must have.
6. Google Maps
I love the Google Maps app! I probably use it every day. Although I am actually very good with directions, it is nice to map out your path and this app is perfect for that. I love that you can easily switch between regular and satellite views to give you a better sense of where you are heading. It is also great because it does a good job of keeping up with where you are, so when you look at the directions on your phone, you can see exactly what street corner you are standing on.
7. Google Translate
Another must-have app is Google translate. Since I took four years of Spanish in high school I am very familiar with this app, so I prefer to use it over other translation apps. It does require an internet connection to function, which is one downside but most translation apps do. A couple of nice features about this app include your ability to take a picture of words and it will translate them for you. This saves me a lot of time because some Swedish words are quite long and require special characters which are a nuisance to type. You also can free hand write words and it will translate for you, which is kind of nice if you prefer to hand write.
Skyscanner is another awesome app when traveling because it allows you to quickly and easily search for and book flights. Every time I have used it, it defaults to the cheapest flights (which I looked online to compare), which is nice. You don’t have to spend forever on the internet searching for the best deals when you have this app.
9. Airline apps
I typically fly United when I travel, because it usually is the cheapest. Having their app is useful because you can keep track of your flights, look up your itinerary, and check in to your flights all using one platform.
10. Trip Advisor
Trip Advisor is a cool app for getting to know your area. You can find hotels, restaurants, flights, and activities all using this app. I mainly use it for looking up restaurants near me. I love this app because you can search for restaurants based on your price range. Since I am all about saving money, I always search for the “cheap eats.” It is also nice that most of the restaurants have reviews and prices so you can see if it is worth going to.
Those are my top 10 apps I use regularly when I am traveling. Some other good ones to consider are:
- Games that do not require the internet
- Your banks app
- Weather app
- Google Drive or Dropbox
- World Clock