In my opinion, one of the greatest things that anyone can do for themselves is travel to new places, embrace new cultures, and meet new people from different backgrounds. Last semester I had the opportunity to study abroad in Liverpool, England for six months. Over the course of these months I became an expert in traveling efficiently, balling on a budget, and getting the most of the places I traveled to in a short amount of time. I learned through trial and error and am sharing these tips to make the most of your experiences studying abroad! My experience is primarily in Europe – so it may not be as applicable in other places.
Before studying abroad, I downloaded a ton of apps that I thought would be beneficial. These apps fall under three categories: Everyday Use, Accommodations, and Transportation.
The first category, Everyday Use, encompasses general apps that were useful to me on a daily basis. I used WhatsApp as most people I met in Europe used it to communicate rather than texting on other applications. WhatsApp functions as a safety net for when you meet individuals you need to keep in contact with.
The Currency app allows you to convert any currency into another of your choice. If you stay in one country it may become second nature to convert currency in your head. This app is especially convenient when you travel within several countries with various currencies. This can also help you to understand how much you really will be spending and to budget more efficiently.
Where you stay will really depend on your budget. Thankfully, for college students looking to travel for a decent price there are apps for that. Hostelworld allows you to see prices for hostels across the city you wish to stay in. I recommend looking at the map provided within the app to see where the hostel is located. Generally, staying closer to the city centre is better for easy access to shops, attractions, etc.. I mostly stayed in hostels during my travels unless I was with a bigger group which made sharing one space cheaper.
The second app that I used for accommodations was Airbnb. I usually checked out both Hostelworld and Airbnb before deciding which option was the best to use. In some places, you can find a reasonably priced Airbnb that ends up being very cheap for a large group. My friends and I were able to stay in Greece for around $10 a night because of this!
The last, and most important category in my opinion, is Transportation. Transportation fails are bound to happen while studying abroad, but I found apps that helped significantly with overcoming the confusion of navigating transport in other countries. The first app is Skyscanner. This app helps find you the cheapest prices for flights from all different airlines. When I traveled Skyscanner was the first app that I checked for flights. It shows pricing between multiple dates, allowing me to pick flight times depending on price since my schedule was flexible. When it comes to flights, I suggest downloading the apps for airlines you use frequently or downloading flight tickets to the Apple Wallet app. This is important so you have a backup plan incase you are unable to get internet connection.
The last app that was very useful during my time abroad was CityMapper. This app is essential when traveling abroad. This app enables you to find out which forms of transportation will be the most effective to travel around. You can also see the cost of each option of transportation would cost so you know which method will be most cost efficient.
I hope that this article helps you when studying abroad. Share your favorite traveling apps in the comments!