Smartphone Survival: The Top 5 Apps To Get You Through Study Abroad

Written by Sydney April 5, 2017

The collective efforts of a few brains and a few apps led us to the famous Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Just a couple of some of the amazing adventures I have been on thanks to the Sygic Travel app

Honorable mention goes to Snapchat for allowing me to do this to the real Mona Lisa in Paris

Thanks to Rome2Rio, we were able to make it from Barcelona's City Park to the airport in just over a half hour, and for only $2 nonetheless.

This little ole tower definitely wasn't hard to find...

1.) CityMaps

CityMaps allows you to download maps while on wifi and then use them offline through your location services. Aside from helping you find a train station or your hostel, CityMaps will also help you find and filter everything from a restaurant with a rooftop terrace to the best places to go sightseeing in the area. After finding your top destinations and saving them to your personal map, CityMaps allows you to sync your profile with your travel buddies who also have the mobile app so you can access each other’s “must sees” simultaneously. Unlike many other mobile apps that only allow you to download one map at a time or force you to pay to ‘unlock’ certain locations, CityMaps allows you to download dozens of maps at a time (which definitely comes in handy during travel week) and delete them when you’re finished with them to make room for more.

2.) Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is the must-have mobile app for staying in contact with family and friends while abroad. While many apps and social media platforms allow you to message your family with ease, or audio or video call with others who have the app, Google Hangouts allows you to call any U.S. or Canadian number from any country for free. The app has much more clarity and a lot less feedback than its competitors, such as WhatsApp and Viber, and simply lists the device you are calling from as a private number on caller ID. Calling your iPhone-less grandma has never been so easy!

3.) Sygic Travel

Sygic Travel is by far my favorite mobile app on this list, yet by far the least popular on this list as well. Sygic Travel is the ultimate trip planning tool and creates a daily, personal itinerary based on how many days you have in a particular city. The app allows you to build your own travel plans based on a list of popular places and then maps out the best route to take based on walking directions between each sight. Not sure what sights you must see while on your travel weekend? No problem! Sygic Travel also has templates that pick the top places to visit based on your own personal time frame. So whether it’s 5 days in Paris or 4 hours in Florence, Sygic Travel will guarantee that your time is maximized, and your experiences are plentiful.

4.) Venmo

As many may know, Venmo is a mobile app that allows your friends (who may be added through Facebook or by username) to deposit money in a way that is directly and securely linked with your bank account. While Venmo is an app that adds convenience for every college student, it is an absolute necessity for students abroad. Since Europe is primarily an all cash society that more often than not does not split bills, Venmo makes it simple for your friends to pay you back for that dinner out or the hostel for a travel weekend. While paying your friends back in cash is always an option, Venmo allows you to skip the step of making a trip to the ATM, finding exact change, and (my personal favorite) avoiding those terribly high international fees.

5.) Rome2Rio

Rome2Rio is an absolute lifesaver when it comes to figuring out how to get from A to B while traveling. Simply type in your starting point (or there is a current location option) and the address of your next adventure, and Rome2Rio will give you a variety of transportation options available from flights, trains, buses, taxis, or walking directions. In addition to supplying you with a plethora of routes, Rome2Rio also details how long each route is both in miles and minutes and displays the average cost for each option. So while mom may be impressed with your navigation skills and knowledge of the metro system when she comes to visit you during travel week, Rome2Rio is the real MVP.