AIFS Study Abroad Blog

5 Helpful Travel Apps for Study Abroad

iPhone App

When thinking about useful tools for future study abroad students, I immediately thought of phones and navigation, which is why I am going to share some of my favorite apps and tools for any international travel!

1. CityMaps2Go

Download: iOS App Store | Google Play

The number one app that I recommend for anyone traveling to a new city is “CityMaps2Go Pro Offline Maps.” Although the pro version is usually $11.99, I was able to get it for free on Black Friday. So, if this app interests you, keep an eye out to save some money! I highly recommend the pro version because you can download an unlimited number of maps. Plus, I found that the pro version worked a lot better offline (which is important when studying abroad without internet!). 

Of all the apps out there, “CityMaps2Go” was a lifesaver for me during my study abroad experience. I was able to download a map for Grenoble, as well as any maps of cities I planned to travel to over the course of my semester abroad. When walking around the city, I was able to access the app flawlessly without internet, and it even showed my location which was helpful when trying to find a specific place. 

One thing that stood out to me about this app was how specific it was as you zoom in on a location. It shows restaurants, banks, street names, ATM locations, tram stops, churches, and the list goes on! The amount of detail makes this app like no other. You can also pin/favorite locations to make travel easier. I like to use this feature when I am planning a trip because it helps me plan out the order to go to each place. This helps make the most of my trip by fitting more activities into each day. 

2. FlixBus

Download: iOS App Store | Google Play

Another app that made a difference in my travels was the FlixBus app. FlixBus is a German company that operates throughout Europe and the United States. This means that if your study abroad location is outside of Europe or the US, this app unfortunately will not be helpful. However, if you are in Europe or the US, traveling by bus is a very common way to get places, especially for weekend travels. 

While I was abroad, I traveled with FlixBus and used this app a lot! Most of the time I used it because I had to travel by bus to the nearest airport, which was either in Lyon, France or Geneva, Switzerland. It was super convenient to use – for booking bus tickets and scanning my ticket before getting on the bus. The only downside was that I needed Wi-Fi in order for the app to pull up my ticket, but thankfully I was able to get access to the buses Wi-Fi or the bus/train station’s Wi-Fi before boarding. 

3. EasyJet

Download: iOS App Store | Google Play

A third app that I recommend is the EasyJet app, or any airline app. While I was in France, I used EasyJet all of the time! It is a cheap airline that allowed me to save money on travel while getting me to the destination of my choice. Similar to FlixBus, the EasyJet app allows you to book flights, scan boarding passes, and check the status of your flight. It even lets you track your flight, which is super helpful if there are any delays. 

Another popular inexpensive European airline is Ryanair. Although I never flew with Ryanair, I have heard that it is pretty comparable to EasyJet. Whichever way you fly, apps always make things easier, especially when it comes to boarding! 

4. Hostelworld

Download: iOS App Store | Google Play

Next up in my list of my favorite apps is the Hostelworld app — a popular one among study abroad participants. One of the best and cheapest ways to travel is by staying in hostels. Hostels are filled with young travelers exploring the world, which makes it super easy to meet new people! Sometimes hostels can be really creative too. For example, when a few friends and I stayed in Copenhagen, Denmark, our hostel was a tent hostel, so we literally slept in tents, but they were indoors! It was such a neat experience, and I recommend it to anyone traveling on a budget. 

Airbnb is another great option for travel accommodation. Despite this being the more expensive route, Airbnb is a good option in you are traveling with a group of people. That way you can stay in a house with a couple bedrooms and split the cost. In some cases, it might be cheaper than a hostel. 

5. Google Flights

The last tool that I recommend for traveling is Google Flights. Although it does not have an app, Google Flights was a great resource to use when booking flights. After you put in your travel dates, it brings up all of the different flight options, from all different airlines. This is a great way to compare the prices to make sure you get the best price! 

Once you choose your departing and returning flights, it’ll bring you to the summary page. On this page it shows you your flights, total price, and if you get any bags free (checked and carry-on). My favorite feature on this page is the price spectrum – it shows how your price compares to the average price in green, yellow, and red zones. This is a helpful tool when deciding which location to go to on your weekend travels. As a rule of thumb, do not book flights if they are in the red zone. When they are in the red, you are better off choosing a new location for that weekend and trying that location a different weekend. It’ll save you money in the long run! 

Another great feature is that you can track the price. This allows you to watch the ticket price day-by-day and see if it gets cheaper before your trip. This is another great way to save some money! 

Overall, these five apps/tools helped me tremendously during my study abroad experience. I can definitely say that I relied on them a lot! While these are my recommendations, everyone’s study abroad journey is different. If you decide to try out these apps while abroad, I hope they bring you ease and comfort during your travels. 

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