You already use your smartphone constantly in your day-to-day life back in the US, and just because you’re studying abroad doesn’t mean it will be any different. Here are my picks for must-have apps when you’re abroad that will help you travel better, manage your money, keep in contact with your family and friends, and more.
Having Skype on your phone means you can video chat while you’re traveling without having to bring your heavy laptop with you. You can also buy Skype credit, which you can use to call landlines and cell phones. This is helpful to have if you need emergency money from Dad while you’re skydiving in New Zealand or to call your credit card company after your card gets stolen while touring the Louvre.
2. Convert Units
This one is self explanatory. Part of the study abroad experience may be learning how cultures around the world do things differently than our own, but trying to figure out kilometers and grams can be extremely frustrating when you just want a few slices of meat at the market. Have this handy app that works without wifi and you won’t have to guess what temperature in Celsius you should be baking your homemade biscotti at.
This is a great app for those of you who don’t want to stick to gross hostel food every time you travel. You can see what the top rated restaurants are around you and can use the many filters to find just the right match for what you’re looking to dine on that day. TripAdvisor also has ratings for tours and tourist attractions, so you can save time by knowing which sites to check out and which are overrated.
4. Oanda Currency Converter
If you’re like most study abroad students, you’ll be visiting a few different countries during your experience, which means that you’ll probably be doing some currency exchanging. This converter has up-to-date rates when connected to wifi but still works when not. Forget about trying to convert 58,900 Hungarian Forint in your head and just plug it into the converter. It can also calculate the rate with any fees you might get from your bank.
5. Workout Trainer
I know it’s hard to swallow, but understand this– you WILL get out of shape when you study abroad. So we present you with your cheapest bet for staying in shape as best as you can. Choose from hundreds of workouts that you can do in your apartment living room, no equipment needed. It tells you what to do for how long, and even includes some motivational phrases.
Read next: How to Keep Off the “Study Abroad 15”
This is a great “just-in-case” app. If you ever miss a flight and need to book a new one in a pinch, use this app to find your cheapest last-minute option. Skyscanner wins over Kayak and Expedia because it includes budget airlines in its search results, such as Ryan Air and Wizz Air. You’ll be happy you have it when your train to the airport gets cancelled and you miss your flight back to Rome.
Even if you’re not taking language classes while you study abroad, it’s a great idea to still try to learn some of the language basics for the country you’re studying in. DuoLingo is a free app that will help you do just that. You’ll be able to communicate with the locals and also have a language to add to your resume.
Rome2rio is a website-turned-app that shows you all of the travel options available for getting between two places anywhere in the world. You might THINK that flying is the best option but Rome2rio might show you that you’ll actually save a lot of money by taking the train. It’s super handy when you’re planning your weekend and spring break trips.
Not your basic notes app, you can write notes from class, add drawings, or save important travel information which will automatically sync to the Desktop and iPad versions of Evernote too. You can organize everything into specific notebooks and ultimately just keep your life REALLY organized.
10. Google Maps
Not your ordinary directions app, Google has data for public transportation systems in many places around the world, so you can see all of your options for getting from one end of a city to another. In my opinion, it also has the best walking directions.
You’re going to splitting LOTS of costs with your roommates and study abroad friends, and Splitwise will help you keep track of what you’re owed and who has paid you.
You’ll probably find that many of your international friends won’t have iPhones, so iMessaging them is not an option. Whatsapp is usually the texting app of choice outside of the US.
A guidebook for your pocket. See what you should do wherever you are, personalise your results, and save anything that you want to remember to do. It also works offline!
Download these apps before you go on your study abroad semester and you’ll be set!