Top Apps For Students Traveling Abroad
Traveling abroad is something every college student should do before they graduate. But spending a semester in a foreign country isn’t always a cakewalk. There are certain aspects of life abroad that you’re going to have to get used to. Luckily, most of us who will be spending time overseas will be accompanied by these weird handheld devices that can help us make the most of our time there. Yes, I’m talking about smartphones—here are my top app picks for your abroad trip.
Mint: Going abroad is expensive. If you want to experience whatever country you’re visiting to its full extent, you’re going to have to spend money—especially if you’re somewhere in Europe. Mint helps you manage and spend your money by allowing you to access all of your financial accounts, set budgets, and keep track of your spending. It’s always nice to know just how much of your parents’ money you’ve spent, or when you’ve gone over your budget at the bars.
WhatsApp/Viber: While you’re off in some exotic land having the time of your life, you’re bound to have a few moments of homesickness—if you shed a tear, I promise I won’t be one to judge. Whether you want to give your mom a ring to tell her about your sightseeing, show your friends a hilarious picture from a night out, or ask your dad for more money (because you clearly didn’t use your Mint app properly), you’ll need one of these two apps to contact them. WhatsApp and Viber both can use Wi-Fi to send messages and make calls to other people with the app. Be warned however, the two apps can eat up your data if roaming, so just make sure you're using good ol' Wi-Fi to avoid incurring a shitload of charges. If I had to pick only one, I’d say go with Viber simply because it has funny stickers you can send with your messages.
World Lens: This app is great for people who are too lazy to learn the local language of the place where they’re staying. World Lens uses your phone’s camera, along with some ridiculous-language-identifying technology, to translate signs, menus, or pretty much anything else in a foreign language. Although World Lens is really helpful, I still suggest that you try to learn some of the language, and not solely rely on the app.
Foodspotting: If you’re not trying out the local cuisine, then you’re not doing abroad right. When it comes to food, everyone wants to put in his or her two cents about what the best food is—and where it is. Foodspotting lets you check out other users’ reviews of local restaurants. The best thing about this app is that many of the reviews include specific dishes. So if you heard that [enter foreign dish here] is really good, but are clueless as to where to get the best one in town, Foodspotting will solve the mystery. Unfortunately, it can’t help you pick the right Instagram filter for your Nutella crepe.
Airbnb: This app is particularly helpful if you’re going to Europe or some other spot where you’re constantly hopping around. Airbnb offers a ton of user reviews of under-utilized hostels and other lodging spots. A lot of the places featured are fairly cheap—and pretty cool. Another highlight is that many hostel managers and hosts are on Airbnb and are very helpful with crafting the perfect itinerary—because you’re simply not in Europe if you don’t take a picture in front of the Lennon Wall.
Having just recently returned from an overseas trip using a few of these, I can say from firsthand experience that they will contribute to making your trip awesome. So download these bad boys before you take off for the adventure of your life.