When going abroad for the first time, especially as a student, finding your way in a different country can be difficult and quite daunting. Traveling and day to day living can get expensive, how does the transportation system work, how do I find a place to stay, and feeling along, are all questions and common difficulties that can arise. In this article I am going to give you a list of the best apps to keep you connected and as well versed in the ways of getting by in a foreign country!
1. Can I stay with you?
- is verified
- has many good reviews
- isn’t too far from where you’d like to be
- has a lot of pictures
- speaks your native language
Feel free to go ahead and add them as a friend, that way you can speak and get to know them before requesting to stay! Keep in mind you are staying with strangers so be smart and stay safe!
Another good app for finding places to stay is Hostelworld. This app allows you to look up all nearby hostels in order of lowest prices and best reviews. Hostels are awesome because a lot of the time it’s other travelers who are looking to meet new people and explore wherever you’re staying. Lastly, AirBnB is a good app if you’d like to rent an apartment for a few nights.
2. Means of Transportation
Now when abroad, especially in places like Europe, getting around when you know no one, can seem like an impossible task. The transportation systems are completely different, and sometimes more efficient, but still hard to navigate. With these apps you can get anywhere, for the best prices! Uber is actually one of the top ways to get around; you can find Uber nearly everywhere you go all over Europe!
Probably when you’re traveling you’ll be looking for other means of getting around besides a car. The app GoEuro allows you to look up start and end destinations and gives you a comparison of the best modes of travel (bus, train, plane). For more specific travel booking apps Ryanair, easyJet, and FlixBus are awesome ways to find flight,bus, and train schedules according to your destination, and allow you to book your tickets at the best prices!
If you’re looking for a cheaper, simpler means of transportation, something that is popular in Europe is carpooling. BlahBlahCar and Karzoo are both credible ways of contacting and linking up with people in order to carpool your way across Europe!
3. Meeting People
One of the most terrifying parts of traveling abroad is feeling helplessly alone. These apps allow you to find experiences and meet-up with locals in order to find your niche. AirBnB has a tab solely for experiences so you can search for specific types of events (classes, photography, concerts, and meet-ups) near your location. Another great app would be Party With a Local. This app allows you to friend and make plans with people in your area who are also looking to have a good time and make new friends. If you don’t feel comfortable using an app to meet strangers, another tip is for when you’re staying in Hostels. Many hostels abroad have social areas in which the other residents hang out and meet up. The majority of people in Hostels are doing exactly what you’re doing, traveling; so hang out in the lounge area, strike up a conversation. You never know who you might meet, and what connections you’ll make.
4. Other Tips & Tricks
Going abroad can be a multi-faceted project, that is hard to keep track of. The app Rail Planner, acts as an organizer for all your rail trips you plan to take! If you’re ever unsure of where your stops are, or when your train comes, just check your app and you’ll have the full schedule at your disposal!
Another task that can seem extremely difficult and expensive, is getting your phone to work abroad, without charging you an arm an a leg. The best thing to recommend as a solution would be to get a sim card. If you have a Verizon and you have 4 LG phone, it is almost always unlocked. If you’re not certain your phone is unlocked, call your provider and ask them if they would be able to unlock your phone. The next step, is wherever you are, get a sim card! Research about your local carriers and choose your plan. The article Traveling abroad with a smartphone: How to cut costs overseas gives great tips on how to unlock your phone, etc.
Something you need to do immediately when leaving the country is TURN OFF YOUR DATA. Without a plan, you will be charged ridiculous prices for using your data abroad. I recommend putting your phone in airplane mode until you have your sim card! Until then wifi is your friend; use the app Wifi Finder to find the nearest, open wifi source.
5. Added Resources
- This article gives you the best tips and tricks for going abroad: 18 of the Best Apps for Travelling
- A more in depth guide, plan to plan, about how to take your phone abroad: A Traveler’s Guide to Taking a Smartphone Abroad
- More must have apps: 18 Must-Have Travel Apps For Traveling Abroad