Must Have Travel Apps

Written by Taylor February 26, 2019

Google Translate was a MUST for Slovenia!

Units Plus helped us figure out how much our bus tickets would be for a quick day trip to Bled!

CityMaps2Go helped my friends and I find the castle in Ljubljana, Slovenia last weekend. Here's the view from the top.

Our tab for breakfast in Milan a few weeks ago was 99 euro (whoops). Venmo definitely came in handy for settling up!

During my first three weeks here at CIMBA, there are certain apps that I have relied on each day.  And a few others that are great for traveling!  They make communication and planning so much easier.  Here are my top 5 apps for going abroad, especially as a student.

Venmo  I honestly don’t know how people traveled abroad in groups before Venmo!  When I plan trips with my friends, one person makes the purchase for everyone, whether it be train and plane tickets, excursions, or lodging.  Then we all transfer the specific amount of money to that person via Venmo.  It’s also very handy for eating out.  In Europe, they don’t split checks at restaurants like we do in the United States.  We take turns picking up the tab then repay each other at the end of the day.  Just make sure you have Venmo set up before leaving the United States!

Units Plus My aunt travels abroad quite often and recommended this app – it’s been a life saver!  It converts units of measurement from one system to another.  The main functions I use are the currency and weight options.  Being able to convert euro to US dollars, or vice versa, is necessary for all purchases.  I’ve used the weight function multiple times to make sure that my carry-on bags won’t be too heavy for flights.  And the speed option is great for the gym so I actually know how fast I’m running! 

CityMaps2Go  This app is especially handy when exploring a new city.  It allows you to bookmark different landmarks, museums, restaurants, transportation stops, and more for a certain city.  You can view all of your saved locations on a map to get a better sense of where everything is at.  It also provides descriptions and website links for each destination.  CityMaps2Go ensures that you hit all of the popular attractions.  But it also gives great recommendations for places that might otherwise get overlooked!   

Google Translate  Many people who study abroad are already fluent in the country’s language or live with host families who quickly teach them.  That is definitely not the case with me!  I took four years of Spanish in high school, but I had no previous experience with Italian before coming to Paderno.  While there haven’t been too many language barriers yet, I have had to use Google Translate on a few occasions.  The first time was during week 1 when we stopped at a mall for toiletries and snacks.  Most recently, I used it at the local farmacia to buy motion sickness medicine before a long bus ride.  While the pharmacist was very friendly, her English was quite limited.  But as soon as I typed in a few words to Google Translate, she knew exactly what I needed!  The other great thing about this app is that you can download languages to use offline.  So if you’re in a city with no service, you at least have a way to translate! 

What’s App  There’s an abundance of communication apps available, but I use What’s App the most on a daily basis.  We have a big group chat with everyone in CIMBA that allows us to communicate about transportation, social events, classes, and everything in between!  I also have multiple group chats for different weekend trips that I have planned.  In addition, I can message and talk to individuals like a regular text or phone call.  Beyond What’s App, I use Facebook Messenger and FaceTime to communicate with family and friends back home.  Other students also use apps such as Skype and Viber to stay in touch while abroad! 

While I’ve already had lots of practice with a majority of these apps, I’m excited to use CityMaps2Go with bigger destinations.  It will definitely be put to use in Paris this weekend!

Ci vediamo!