When researching, planning and actually travelling to a new city, technology is a huge influencer in what deals we find, where we go and whether we get lost (yay for no sense of direction!). Since we're travelling without data, apps are our new travel must haves. See what made our list of favorites below:
Transportation & Navigation:
SkyScanner - We've used this app to find the best deals on flights all over Europe this semester. It's our first go-to when planning a trip because it shows you a variety of options across all airline companies. You can set your filters based on how much money you want to spend, how long you want to fly, etc. This is how we found cheap airlines like Wizz Air and Flybe. Check out SkyScanner for yourself here.
GoEuro - This is an awesome app for finding cheap bus & train options. Like Skyscanner, it does a cross search to offer you the best ways to get from place to place via plane, train and bus. This is a definite time saver because you can compare all transportation options in one place. Try GoEuro when planning your next trip.
Maps.Me - Navigating a city without data just got easier. While knowing how to read a paper map is a good skill, sometimes you just want an arrow to tell you where you are and a dotted line to show you where to go. With Maps.Me, download a new city map before leaving a wifi zone and then you're set to explore without worrying about data charges. We hadn't heard about this app until getting to Spain, but it's totally changed the way we travel.
TripAdvisor-This app is a great tool to find different attractions, especially if you're looking for something specific. Its "Things To Do" category is broken into subcategories: Top Things to do, Tickets and Tours, Special Offers, Historic Sites and more. It's also a trusted site when looking at reviews, plus a great platform to voice your own thoughts on the things you see and do.
Pinterest-One of our favorite ways to do some quick research before a trip is to check out city guides on Pinterest. Who better to trust than travelers who've been to the city themselves? You can find all sorts of guides like: 48 hour guides, free things to do, best city sites, etc. It's great because you can read pieces by locals and budget travelers and get a good sense of what's worth seeing before you go. We build our own "digital itineraries" by creating a board for each city and then saving our favorite guides there. This app has given us the space to research and plan our activities in one space.
Glide-It's like texting your friends, but in video form (so a cooler version of Skype). With 6 hour time differences, it can be tough to stay connected with friends when you're abroad. Glide is a more personal way to keep up friendships because you can watch their video messages when it works for you. Even if you don't have wifi to send your video, the app saves it and will send it once wifi is reconnected, so you can show your friends and family the cities and sites in real time.
WhatsApp-Everyone in Europe uses this app instead of SMS because it doesn't cost anything. This is how we text our host parents and friends that live in Europe. Plus, it's the cheapest way to text your friends back home if you don't want to pay a ridiculous international cellphone plan.
Other Cool Apps:
Currency Converter - We've been using the Xe app. You can easily add tons of different currencies, so we always have USD, GBP, the Euro, and the currency of any country we're traveling to that weekend. It's a great way to check prices without wifi. This way you won't have a massive panic attack when you hand over 1,500 Forint (Hungary's currency) since it only equals out to 5 euro.
Hostelworld-Searching for a place to stay is always a pain, but this app has been a game changer. It's super easy to use and the filters help you find the perfect place in seconds. You can sort hostels by their price, rating and distance from the city center.
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