Being in a new country is overwhelming but by having these apps on your phone you can navigate your new study abroad, all at your fingertips and in your own language. These are the apps I wish I had when I studied abroad!
Side note on cell data – I know that in Europe it’s really cheap to get a Sim Card and plan. Just make sure your phone is unlocked and the pack you buy extends to all of Europe and not just the country you’re in at that time. When I was studying abroad in the UK, I went with Three and it was about 20GBPs for unlimited data, calls, and text.
Rayka is a brand new app with travel reviews by and for study abroad students.
Rayka automatically is made by and for study abroad students, it’s the first app with this focus. I wish I had this app when I was studying abroad, especially in London.
By reading the reviews from other students, you can easily discover the best bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions for student travelers. Within the app, you can also follow friends and make groups to easily plan events and dates with your new international student friends. The app comes loaded with some public groups already, focused on specific travel interests like cafes, sunset views, or late night food places.
Rayka only uses student reviews. It’s important to have a credible review service when you’re exploring any place – I saw an article last week about a guy who was able to make his shed a top restaurant on TripAdvisor.
Rayka is an awesome way to connect with other travelers, find hidden gem recommendations, and make the most out of your study abroad. Rayka isn’t officially launched yet, follow them on instagram and visit their website.
I studied abroad near London and my friends and I were always riding the tube, my Oyster Card was always in my pocket. My friend from study abroad Brooke notoriously told us she was “like two stops away” when she was actually over half an hour away (Brooke blogs at Exploring Wanderland )
That’s where City Mapper comes in handy. I planned my travels with this app because it gives you your estimated time of arrival. As a traveler, it can be hard to estimate how much time transit takes. So rather than guess-timating your plans and being late and out of cell range on transit, just download City Mapper.
City Mapper lets you share your location or route with other users so you can easily meet up with people at different transit stations. This might seem like a simple thing, but it’s much appreciated when you’re trying to arrange for eight study abroad friends that are touring different areas to meet in Piccadily Circus for a dinner.
This is app is a life saver when it comes to navigating big cities with complicated and non-English transit systems. Download it for iPhone here and Android here.
Student Universe is basically a flight search engine for student travel. Because I’m on a strict budget, I take flight discounts pretty seriously. It’s usually the highest expense of any trip I take and so I really want to save on it wherever I can.
By creating a free student account, users gain access to Student Universe exclusive student travel deals. Last week, they sent me a 25$ off discount for my birthday and this week I was sent a 50$ Asia travel discount, along with a list of great Asia flight discounts. If you’re looking to save on flights, this is a great app to download and check out before your next trip on study abroad.
Even though I love Student Universe, other sites offer different deals. Something I’ve learned from flight booking is that you do need to check multiple flight search engines to find the best deal. I’ve gotten lucky with Student Universe a lot but it never hurts to check out other places just to ensure your getting the best deal.
This app is yet to be released but it’s certainly one on my radar! Backpacker College focuses on accommodation and providing the cheapest, reliable options for students. If you’ve traveled at all, you’ve either heard or experienced the AirBnb or hostel horror story – basically, it’s when you arrive at the accommodation and it does not look like the pictures at all.
This app is especially for people studying abroad and can be used in University towns – Backpacker College partners with Residence Services. You’ll be staying on campus with other university students so you’ll get the feel of what a local university student’s life is like in whatever place you’re traveling to.
Because Backpacker College is a smaller and student driven service, it’s sure to be more reliable and trustworthy. Backpacker College connects with and approves all the accommodation services. They know that student travel = budget travel and want to make it simpler for students to travel during their study abroad experiences.
Bungee Girl is a safe and secure female travel for female travelers to connect. Especially as someone that has traveled solo during my study abroad, I can definitely see the advantage of using this app.
After creating a unique profile on the app, you’ll be able to connect easily with other female travelers in the area and explore the city together. Honestly, if you’re traveling at all during exchange this app is a must.
One of the best things about studying abroad is the people you’ll meet- I’m still connected with people I met travelling. But I’ve found through traveling that it can be hard to meet people in even the most social hostels. Sometimes you might just not click with the group of people staying at the hostel at that time. Solo travel, especially if you’ve never done it before, can get very boring. I definitely think this app is helpful, and as a bonus there are extra discounts available for the app’s users.
Locals can connect with you and share their experiences, other travelers can chat with you about what they enjoyed, and you can meet other awesome and inspiring travelers. Download Bungee Girl for iPhone here.
I tried to include some unique and undiscovered apps in this post but there are others I used that are more common. In my little “travel” folder on my phone I’ve got the WestJet App (flight info,tracking,and on board wifi and movies for westjet flights), HostelWorld, Skyscanner, Hopper, Ryan Air, AirBnb and Booking.com. I use Google Photos for my pictures and it is so helpful for sorting photos and freeing up space on my phone.
With Google Maps, you can download maps of full areas and cities offline before going on any study abroad travels. It won’t give you detailed information about places but you can still use the downloaded map if you ever get stuck or lost without wifi.
After all, on study abroad, you’re bound to have moments where you’re thinking “what transit stop did I get off at” or “what was I thinking when I booked this accomodation” – getting lost and having a few mess ups is all part of the study abroad experience. These apps can help to lessen the amount of mess ups and get you more out of your travel dollars and time.
Do you have any other apps that helped you on study abroad?
I’ll be posting more study abroad tips soon, to get updates on my blog – follow me on instagram