Best Apps for International Travel

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Having the right apps to complement your experience abroad should be high on your list. Whether you are studying abroad or simply traveling, you do not want to be caught in a situation without the right tool. Luckily, in this digital era, as long as you have some type of technology, you will be okay. There are an abundance of apps that have been made to help travelers out, whether to overcome language barriers, to not get lost, or to talk to family back home.

All of the apps that I have compiled below have been personally used by me, so I stand by my recommendations. If you have any that aren’t listed here, please share them because it’s the little known ones that can be the biggest help!


Communication


  • WhatsApp: This app allows you to communicate (for free) with anyone all over the world. You can send messages (text and voice), video-chat, and call people. Another feature to this app is “stories,” which resemble those of Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. The benefit of this app is that you do not need to have cellular service; you can use Wi-Fi as well. The app is really popular in countries outside of the U.S., with a majority of people only using WhatsApp to communicate. So, if you find yourself making international friends, download this app to stay in touch! 
  • Facebook Messenger: This app is becoming more comprehensive as Facebook updates it. You can now make video-calls, send messages (text and voice), send money, play games, make plans with a calendar, and connect to extensions such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pinterest. Seeing how this is an extension to Facebook, you must have an account already, but you can import your contacts, allowing you to find people on or off of your Facebook to chat with. 
  • Snapchat: When you want to capture the best moments of your adventure, Snapchat will be there. Not only can you geo-tag it, you can save the photo or video in your ‘Memories’ to reference later. Snapchat also gives you the ability to export your content so that you can have it in your separate camera roll. On this app, you can send your pictures or videos to specific people, a group, or to stories (your own, groups, or geographical ones). You can also have individual or group chats, where you can send text-based messages.

Photography

  • Darkroom: I’ve recently started using this app, and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. You import any pictures from your camera roll and have the option to edit them individually or as a batch. The app also saves your edited pictures, whether it’s finished or simply in progress, so that you can return and make more changes. Your photos can be separated similarly to the iPhone camera roll, such as ‘All Photos’ or ‘Favorites.’
  • Snapseed: My photography professor turned me in onto this nifty little app. It’s great when you want to have more control over your pictures when editing them, but don’t want to break out the big boys (Lightroom and Photoshop). My favorite part of this app is the Selective tool, which allows you to edit only the parts you want. Whenever you save your photo, it gives you the option to modify the original photo, save as a copy, or export a brand new image. I love this diversity! Lastly, under “Looks,” you will be able to select filters, but the best part of this is that you can continue to edit pictures just like you did in your last one with the “Last edits” filter. 
  • Color Story: When I first began reading blogs, I found A Beautiful Mess blog and fell in love. When they launched their first app (Color Story), I was all in! I use this app to brighten my photos naturally and to see how my instagram feed will look using the ‘Grid’ feature. You can plan out one instagram for free, but if you want to add more, you pay for each additional account. I currently manage two instagram feeds using this feature, and it saves me so much stress of wondering what my feed will look like! You can also plan your caption, schedule your photos, and even publish directly from the app. This app will also let you import previously taken photos or take pictures directly in the app (in either a square or rectangular format) while utilizing their ‘focus’ and ‘iso’ features. 


Travel

  • Google Maps: Of course this was going to be the first bullet on this list. Google Maps is universal! No matter where you go, you can rely on this wonderful digital map. The great thing about this app is that you can download an offline map prior to your trip, which is a great idea to safeguard from not having data and being lost. When in certain areas, you will also have to option to order an Uber directly from the app if that’s a convenient mode of transportation. 
  • GoEuro: When in Europe, do as the Europeans do. This app is great when you need to catch a train because you can easily find tickets and purchase them directly in the app. There’s no need to rely on computers or printers either, because you can use your mobile ticket on the trains. GoEuro allows you to purchase your tickets in whatever currency you would like. 
  • App in the Air: I used this app for the first time when I flew to Italy. It allows you to input your flight information (such as booking code) and it keeps track of all the important stuff for you. You will be notified when it’s time to check-in for your flight, when boarding happens, when the plane is taking off, and when it’s landing. You will able to see whether any delays occur, which terminal and gate your flight is in, the duration of your flight, what the weather is for your intended destination, what airline you will be flying with and what aircraft you will be flying on. Aside from that, you can upload your boarding pass for ease-of-access, or manually input the information. More great features of the app include the ‘Checklist and Notes’, which gives you a default of things to pack (with the option to modify or add) and check off the list once you do pack. the ‘Expense Tracking’ (with the option to change currencies and label what each expense was for), ‘Wallet’ (which allows you to track your loyalty points), and ‘Baggage’ (which will tell you the size and weight of luggage your airline will allow you).

Language

  • TripLingo: With this app, you will be able to choose your intended country and download a mini-dictionary to use. It’s not a confusing one either! The dictionary comes under ‘Phrases’ and is broken down, such as “Just the Basics,” “Safety Phrases,” and “About You.” This is great when you do not know your host country’s language, but need to communicate. TripLingo also allows provides a voice translator, image translator, a ‘Culture, ‘Tools,’ and ‘Safety’ tab. 
  • Google Translate: This app allows you to translate to and from whatever language you want. You can also download the languages for offline translation, which I highly recommend! 

Money

  • AI Currency: I downloaded this app when it was in the AppStore for free, but I still recommend you get it even for a little price. It allows you to take a picture of a price and convert it to your own currency. It takes into account the current exchange rate so that you can get an accurate idea of what the item costs at the moment. 
  • Venmo or CashApp: Having a money exchange app is important, especially when you are traveling with others. In Europe, it is common for one person to pay for the bill and handle splitting the price later within the attendees. In order to easily pay one another, apps like Venmo and CashApp are used because they’re easy and free to use. 

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