The 18 Best Apps for Year Abroaders
There's no denying that your smartphone can be an incredibly useful tool on a Year Abroad, but are we really using our phones to their full capacity? With this list of the most useful apps for year abroaders, your only concern willl be running out of battery.
1. Forward Planning
WeatherPro is an intuitive app offering weather reports for over two million locations worldwide (so your year abroad destination is pretty certain to be covered). You can get a detailed report of everything from cloud formations to wind speed and humidity (if you want to get really geeky) and, according to Time Out, it's 'accurate to the point of clairvoyance'. Good enough for us.
2. XE Currency
Year Abroaders are busy people and we are partial to a trip or two. That's why this app is useful; it allows you to calculate currency conversions on the go, and it uses live currency rates so is completely accurate, guaranteeing that there'll be no nasty surprises when you land in an exotic location.
An app that’s really useful for recording all of your notes and stray thoughts on the go. You can save important emails, make and share notes and itineraries, and catalogue your travels with images, voice notes, text and video. You can even snap and save screenshots from the web so you’ll never forget that particular article you wanted to read or shop you intended to visit.
Now your favourite currency card has an app, making it even easier for you to get up to 16% more on money exchange. Woop woop! Once you're a Caxton FX cardholder, the app makes it super easy to top up your card, check your balance and monitor your spending. And don't worry about security - it's password protected. And free!
Good ol' Skyscanner. I'm sure you're familiar with the price comparison website; the app does exactly the same thing, aggregating airline fares to help you find the best deal. You can also save particularly searches to your app homescreen and watch as the prices go up and down.
Citymapper is a super handy mine of public transport information, covering individual cities around the world. With maps, transport schedules (including tube/subway, bus, cycle hire, rail, ferry, bike/car sharing and Uber), real-time departures, line status, real-time disruption alerts and directions, getting lost will be a choice reserved for a lazy day's exploring. Developers are adding new destinations all the time, the latest being Stockholm and Copenhagen, so continue to watch this space!
7. Gas Buddy
Currently only available in America and Canada, this app is still an essential if you're planning a road trip, as it allows you to locate the nearest gas station and compare the prices - all from the comfort of your vehicle. It also uses a reward system to keep you engaged; you can earn points by reporting gas prices and enter prize giveaways. Useful and fun!
Hopper helps by telling you when to fly and buy in order to get the lowest possible fares. Airlines are cunning - you've heard that they drop their prices on a random Tuesday or have a last-minute Super Sale which only their favourite people find out about in time. Hopper can help! If you have, for example, three possible weekends for your next return flight home or want to go on an exotic adventure next summer, pop in the date options and you will be alerted to "wait....wait... BUY NOW for the lowest fare we've seen!" Genius.
9. Rome2RioYou know when you're based in a village in France and want to go and visit a friend in Spain/Russia/ANYWHERE but, being car-less, the organisation and planning makes you want to go back to bed? Rome2rio searches any city, town, landmark, attraction or address across the globe with thousands of multi-modal routes to easily get you from A to B via plane, train, bus, ferry and car. It makes adventures SO much easier, and we LOVE it!
Every year abroader knows that the best way to spend a long weekend is exploring a new city. Unfortunately, the average year abroader won't be staying at The Ritz. Luckily for us, the two biggest hostel websites also have apps, functioning as a directory of thousands of budget hotels worldwide. Scroll through the listings and check out the user reviews to minimise the chance of you checking into a skanky hell hole. Spontaneous travel has never seemed like such a safe bet.
Sometimes you're in the mood to wander around the streets of a strange city, eavesdropping on the local chitchat, gazing into shop windows and dropping into any sidewalk cafe that takes your fancy. Other times, however, it's pissing it down and freezing, you're knackered from travelling all day and your stomach is rumbling so loudly that passersby keep looking around for signs of lightning. This is the moment when TripAdvisor is a godsend. With this app, you're only ever a few swipes away from hundreds of recommendations from your fellow travellers. You can select a destination in 30 seconds and head off with a renewed spring in your step, confident in your choice.
4. Fitting in with the locals
This is the kind of app you didn't realise you needed. No longer will you have to ruin that delicious sated feeling post-meal with long division and pointed glares at 'friends' who clearly haven't paid their full share. Tipulator will split the bill and tip for you AND help you to avoid social embarrassment by informing you what tip percentage is customary in your current location.
Available on iOS (free)
13. Wi-Fi Finder
Finally, an app to help you avoid sidling into a cafe, ordering the cheapest item on the menu and then sitting in the corner like a lemon when you realise there's no free wi-fi. Wi-Fi finder does what it says on the tin - directs you to your nearest source of wireless internet. No 3G? It has an offline mode so that you can download maps before you leave the house. Excellent.
Available on Android (free)
14. Google Translate
I know, I know, but it's undeniably useful in an emergency, translating into more than 60 languages. For 17 of those, you can even speak your phrase and hear the corresponding translation spoken back to you. You might decide you don't need it, but you'll miss it once it's gone.
With a tagline that invites you to become a 'Global Swearing Master', this app was never going to be PG 13. However, this is no mere novelty app. With 45 £languages in their catalogue and high quality audio recordings of each curse, plus detailed information about the pronunciation, history, meaning, usage and English equivalent, you'll be a foul-mouthed expert in no time.
Available on Android (£1.00)
A must-have for the foodies amongst you, Foodspotting is not only great for showing you all the popular restaurants in your area, but actually allows you to focus on particular dishes in order to cater to your every culinary whim. Works a treat if you're craving a particular food in a strange city and have no idea where to start looking.
This one resolves the age old problem of guidebooks - the more time you spend reading up on the thing you've come to look at, the less time you spend actually looking at it. With this app, you can get those fun facts read directly into your ears, like your own personal audio guide.
6. Recording your year abroad
Does what it says on the tin. This app allows you to record a second of your life everyday and then edits it into a video for you. An innovative way to record your year abroad journey that looks like you put loads of effort in.