Hello friends! If you haven’t been following my social media, I have been back in the states for 1 week now! As I get ready for graduation, I still want to publish a few posts about study abroad that I wanted to write while I was in Europe. Trying to student teach, take classes, and travel every weekend is no joke. I honestly have a lot of respect for those who can maintain a blog while studying abroad – I couldn’t do it. Today, I want to share the apps that I used non-stop while living abroad and trying to travel cheaply. I will also include a few websites that I used a lot as well!
When you download the google translate app, you can download languages offline, which is a lifesaver when you don’t have a phone plan while abroad. It also has a super cool feature where you point your camera at words in a language you’ve saved, and it translates them! I used this all the time in restaurants where they didn’t have English menus. Here is a screenshot of what the image translate feature looks like.
This was my favorite communication app while abroad, and is the most commonly used among Europeans. I would recommend downloading it before you go for your study abroad and asking your friends and family to download it too! I had limited calling/texting while in Germany, so whatsapp allowed me to make calls and texts over wifi whenever I was in my apartment. Facebook messenger has the same features, but I found the calling to be a lot less dependable and the interface not as nice. Most Europeans have the app too, so it makes things a lot easier when trying to get in contact with those in your host country!
If you are traveling as a group, staying in an Airbnb is often cheaper than paying for a hostel, since you can book a whole apartment and stay there, rather than paying individually per bed. Airbnbs are often more private as well, so if you don’t feel comfortable staying in a dorm with strangers, airbnb is the better option. You can use their website as well, but I loved using the app to find the perfect place to stay! Below is an image that my friends took of me in the garden of our airbnb in Athens.
If you are traveling alone or in a small group, a hostel might be the best choice. They are often located centrally in cities, close to train stations, which is super convenient. Hostelworld is a super helpful app/site that allows you to read reviews and check out the amenities at various hostels in a city. Although I still prefer airbnb, we found some great deals and ended up staying in hostels more often than not.
Having this app was so helpful, because I never had to print boarding passes. It also allowed quick and easy check in for my flights. Cheap airlines, like Ryan Air, charge you money if you need them to print a copy of your boarding pass. It is much easier to download the app so you can have your mobile boarding passes all ready to go! This goes for other airlines as well, I know some apps also allow you to collect points on your flights!
These are all apps/websites that can help you score the cheapest travel deals, whether that is trains, buses, or flights. Trainline and eurorail are both for trains, flixbus is for buses, and skyscanner and momondo are great for finding cheap flights. I booked all my flights for Greece through momondo, because it compares several flights and websites to get you the absolute best deal. Make sure you check out buses. We didn’t discover them until the end of our trip and they were often cheaper and more comfortable than trains! If you are in Germany or the area, I recommend the DB Navigator app, which allows you to purchase tickets and store them on your phone. It was an absolute lifesaver!
Other Travel Abroad Ideas.
- Google Maps. Did you know you can download offline maps of an area? It is limited, but it can definitely help get you from point A to point B in a foreign city! I did this before every city I traveled to and I ended up needing it every single time! I included a screenshot of what my offline maps page looks like below.
- Duolingo. If you are wanting to be a little more prepared and pick up on some of the language while you are in the country you’re visiting, try using duolingo! I tried to learn a little German before leaving and although I admittedly did not practice as much as I wanted to, the app definitely helped! As you can tell in the screenshot below, I didn’t make it very far in my German!
- Amazon Kindle. I read 18 books during my study abroad because I spent so many hours on trains! I brought my kindle to Europe, but mostly read books on my phone using the amazon kindle app. Even if you don’t have a kindle, you can still use the app to download e-books! It was so nice to have because I stayed entertained on long trains/flights without having to carry around paper books!
- Venmo/paypal. I often ended up paying for flights/train tickets for everyone in my group. Then, each person would pay me back on paypal, as it was easier than buying tickets individually. This also helped when paying for meals, as European restaurants rarely split the check for you.
- Uber. In some countries, like Germany, uber is not legal. However, in countries where it is legal, it is often cheaper than taking a taxi! You can also schedule pick ups, which is a nice bonus.
Where are you heading to next?
Now that I am back in the states, I want to know, where are you heading to next? And what apps do you use along the way when you are traveling? Let me know in the comments below!