Cultural Experience | Resources

Must Have Phone Apps for Study Abroad

When you’re abroad, your phone is more than just a lifeline home. It’s a guide to the world.

By Courtney Guth, University of Maryland 

Taking a phone abroad can be a little pricey. With data charges and roaming, the minutes and messages will quickly add up. However, if you’re going abroad for an extended period of time, it may be worth investing in the ability to use it. Even if you don’t switch your plan over to an international one, a lot of app features are still available over Wi-Fi when operating in airplane mode.

Whatever your phone situation may be, I have some great apps for you to use. Looking to eat, see, explore, find, and socialize? Take my advice…download these apps and pack your device:

Eat

I think one of the most important parts of experiencing another culture is to explore their food. These apps offer great ways to find restaurants when you want to go out or cook food when you want to stay in:

AppUrbanspoon
CostFree
iPhone/AndroidYes/Yes

Official DescriptionCan’t decide where to eat? Urbanspoon can help. Shake your iPhone and the Urbanspoon slot machine will suggest a restaurant. Discover great new places to eat. See what’s nearby in your ‘hood, or browse a comprehensive list of restaurants. Make a reservation, and expand your dine line by checking in. See what your friends like. Urbanspoon covers the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Ireland.

Thoughts: I love Urbanspoon because it’s great for indecisive people like myself. Whereas Yelp helps you sort through great places to dine nearby based on reviews, Urbanspoon helps you decide where to dine. The decision process is as simple as narrowing down a price range and type of food. All you have to do is shake the app and it decides for you. Don’t like the suggestion? Just shake again.

Urbanspoon Interface

App: All Recipes Dinner Spinner
CostFree
iPhone/AndroidYes/Yes

Official Description: A fun and easy way to find awesome recipes! Search by ingredient or give your phone a shake to find inspiration. Then relax and feel the cooking stress melt away. Get dinner on the table with less fuss and more fun! The new and improved Allrecipes Dinner Spinner gives you instant access to Allrecipes’ amazing collection of member-shared recipes, photos, ratings and reviews from a community of more than 30 million home cooks.Find and save recipes in your Allrecipes Recipe Box for quick access. Recipes feature cook time, ingredients, step by step instructions, member reviews, photos, nutrition and more. Add recipes or ingredients to your shopping list, and cross them off at the store. Search by dietary need, cooking time, and even the ingredients you do and don’t want. Or, just use Dinner Spinner (iPhone only) to shake things up!

Thoughts: When you’re studying abroad, you may want to dine out every night, but that’s probably not in your budget. All Recipes Dinner Spinner helps you figure out what to make in your flat or hostel kitchen. You can enter whatever ingredients you have lying around and make something delicious out of them. As you prepare to go grocery shopping, you can search through recipes and make a list based on what you’re going prepare. Very helpful for those who want to cook but don’t know how or what to prepare.

All Recipes Dinner Spinner Interface

App: How to Cook Everything Essentials
CostFree
iPhone/AndroidYes/No

Official Description: This is the free sampler of the complete, bestselling, and top-rated How to Cook Everything® for iPhone app, which is based on Mark Bittman’s bestselling cookbook of the same name. This Essentials app, even on its own, is an incredibly useful tool when you’re cooking or food shopping. The app includes the 100+ basic recipes that Mark Bittman considers “Essential,” plus reference information and features from the complete app. The app features handy built-in timers, placed throughout the recipe steps. Going global? Automatically convert temperatures and quantities to metric if that’s your preference.

Thoughts: I actually splurged and purchased the $9.99 full version for my iPad two years ago. While that price is pretty hefty for an app, the resource is well worth it. I’ve used it for something as simple as learning how to properly chop onions. The step by step guide and illustrations are incredibly helpful and clear. It seems like the free app provides a great overview as well. Once you figure out what recipes you want to make on the All Recipe Dinner Spinner, you can use How to Cook Everything essentials in order to know just how to make it.

How to Cook Everything Interface

App: Yelp
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Looking for a burrito joint open now? An Irish pub nearby? A gas station you can drive to before your tank hits empty? Yelp is here to help. Use us to search for places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play then read reviews from an active community of locals in the know.Search for businesses near you  Tap quick links to find nearby bars, restaurants, cafes and more. Narrow your searches by ‘hood, distance, price, and what’s open now. Browse reviews to read what’s great (and not so great) in your city. Add tips, photos, and draft reviews for your favorite businesses

Thoughts: If you’re just looking for some great dining nearby, yelp allows you to find highly rated restaurants. What better way to live like a local than to see what the locals like? After dining, leave your own review for the next study abroad student in need. You may just discover your new favorite hangout or coffee shop with the simple touch of a button.

Yelp Interface

App: Vivino Wine Scanner
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Join the #1 Wine App: take a photo and get to know any wine in seconds; remember wines and explore more of them; get personalized wine recommendations; share experiences and be inspired by friends; find the best rated wines in nearby shops. Vivino simplifies your path to enjoying great wines.The app helps you remember your favorites, learn more about wine, and which one to choose for next occasion. Snap a photo of any wine, and while you have a sip we automatically recognize it from our database of more than 2 million wines. If the app doesn’t match it immediately, our team will do it for you as quickly as we can.Discover all you want to know about wines, explore friend’s ratings and get personal recommendations based on your taste, simply browse wines in nearby stores or locate the ones on your Vivino Wish List.

Thoughts: Dining abroad is a delicious part of your experience, but drinking abroad is just as fun. Wine and culture go hand in hand, so explore more about your destination by discovering all its vineyards have to offer. Whether you’re enjoying a night in or night out, you can find what your country’s wine is all about. Best of all, you can save the wines you find for reference later. That way, if you enjoy yourself a little too much, recalling the delicious brand you found won’t be a problem.

Vivino Wine Scanner Interface

See

After experiencing all the fine dining and wining your destination has to offer, you need to get out and see the rest of it. These apps will take you through your destination as great trip planners and tour guides, and one will allow you to show all you see:

App: TripAdvisor Offline City Guides
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Are you a world traveler? Get this FREE City Guides Catalog, a personal advisor in your pocket which helps you plan and have the perfect trip. With the TripAdvisor City Guides Catalog, you can easily download any City Guide. The City Guides Catalog is also automatically updated when any new cities are added — be the first to know. All City Guides work offline, no need live data connection, as everything is stored on your phone, after you do an initial update. This means you won’t be charged for expensive data roaming, and the app is super fast to use. You can update user reviews periodically when you are on WiFi. All places that are listed on TripAdvisor.com in this city are included each City Guide including itineraries.

Thoughts: Sometimes taking your phone abroad can result in hefty charges or data roaming. With the TripAdvisor Offline City Guides, you don’t have to worry about overages on your bill. You have a handy resource in your pocket with no data required. The app is perfect for exploring your abroad destination or figuring out what other cities to visit while you’re away. City guides are available for just over 50 different locations, everything from Amsterdam to Istanbul to Shanghai.

TripAdvisor Offline City Guides Interface

App: AFAR Travel Guide
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Brought to you by the team at America’s Best Travel Magazine, AFAR is a customizable, shareable digital travel guide and trip planner. Get inspired by 45,000+ unique travel experiences around the world, created by the most knowledgeable experiential travelers and locals. Find local spots near you recommended by others and create your own guides to plan your trip. Upload your own insider tips while traveling, to inspire other travelers. AFAR is the travel guide, reinvented.The AFAR mobile app connects you with others who seek meaningful travel experiences, both within your social networks and beyond them.You can browse, discover, save and share trip Highlights ­– a photo with a short description, geo-tagged by location – whether you are on a trip, dreaming of one , or planning your next journey.

Thoughts: The best way to live like a local is to learn from the locals. The great tips and insider information will help you discover places you may not find in other guidebooks. Once you’ve traveled through the area and explored, you can pay it forward by offering your own tips! Get out there and discover then report back with this app. Share not only with people around the world but also your friends back home. Maybe you’ll even inspire them to realize that they too need to get out more.

Afar Media Interface

App: Travel Channel Cities
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/No

Official Description: Discover great places to eat, drink and have fun in exciting cities around the world – then create your personalized itinerary and sync it across your iOS devices. With Travel Channel Cities, depart from the expected, arrive someplace surprising.Explore 24 of the world’s great cities. Exclusive content includes photos, videos and tips from The Layover, Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, Bizarre Foods, Man v. Food, Samantha Brown’s Great Weekends, Trip Flip and other hit Travel Channel shows.Each city features information you won’t find anywhere else including inspiration videos, suggested books and movies, dos and don’ts, and music playlists. Filter points-of-interest – restaurants, bars, hotels, attractions and more – by show and/or by type as you build your city-by-city itinerary. You can also see what’s nearest to you now. A built-in map views help you plan your route and adjust on the fly. Full city list includes: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dublin, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New Orleans, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Singapore, Taipei, Toronto and Washington, DC. More to come in 2014!

Thoughts: As college tourists, I’m sure we’ve all watched a travel channel documentary or two. This app offers content from some of the channel’s top shows and integrates into an interface that allows you to get out an explore. Hear from the original an expert and then become an expert on your own as you visit different points of interest. The app features cities both abroad and in the United States, so you can continue to explore when you come home.

Travel Channel Cities Interface

App: TourPal Travel Guide
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Traveling with TourPal is easy, its like having a personal tour guide in your pocket. Download TourPal’s worldwide travel app to enjoy GPS based audio tours that will guide you through all the must see tourist attractions, sights, restaurants, and shops in over 70 cities. No Internet connection (3G/Wifi) needed on the tour itself as you pre-download the tours, maps and places data to your device, so you avoid costly roaming charges.

Thoughts: Looking to sightsee but don’t have the money for an expensive tour? This free app will guide you around popular destinations. You will still get the history and facts you want to learn at a much more affordable price. No need to schedule a tour or fit one in to your itinerary. With an app, the tour occurs on your own time. The free offline map with GPS also comes in handy as you’re looking to plan your day.

TourPal Travel Guide Interface

App: Postagram Postcards
Cost: Free to download/$0.99 per postcard
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Postagram makes it easy to send a printed photo in the mail to yourself, friends or family anywhere in the world. Take a shot with the app or use photos from your photo library or Facebook. Photos are printed on thick, glossy photo postcards at 300dpi resolution and delivered anywhere in the US for 99c & $1.99 for addresses in other countries (price includes postage) US, European & Canadian delivery takes only 5-10 business days. Other international destinations can take up to 2 or 3 weeks. ostagrams are personalized with the profile photo of the sender and include an optional 140 character message.

Thoughts: After seeing all the great locations through the other apps in this category, show everyone back home what you’ve been up to. When you sign up for Postagram, your first 3 postcards are free. That means you can tell Mom & Dad, Grandma & Grandpa, and your best friend all about your trip at no cost to you. When I was in Ireland, I used to this app, and my family loved the postcards I sent. A postcard featuring a photo of you on your adventures is far more personal than any store bought one with stock photography.

Postagram Postcard Interface

Explore

Don’t limit yourself to your study abroad destination. Get out an explore other cities or countries nearby! These apps will help you plan your trip’s travel details and get around town:

App: Kayak
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: The #1 Mobile Travel App compares hundreds of travel sites to find you the best deal. Includes hotel, flight and car search and booking, flight tracker and itinerary management. And, of course, KAYAK is free. Compare hotel, flight and car rental deals. Book your hotel, flight or car rental, right in the app. Track your flight status. View and manage your itinerary with My Trip. Look up baggage fees, airline numbers and airport information

Thoughts: Save yourself the hassle of trying to compare multiple travel sites for the best deal. This app does it for you. Kayak is my go-to any time I’m trying to get away. If you need a weekend trip or holiday vacation while you’re abroad, Kayak will help you find the cheapest flight and hotel deal. I love that you can even book right from your device.

Kayak Interface

App: TripIt Travel Organizer
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Organize your travel plans in one place with TripIt® from Concur. Simply forward your travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com and TripIt automagically creates a detailed daily itinerary for every trip. Access itineraries anytime, on any device (even offline). Get directions, maps and weather for each destination. You can even sync trip plans with your Google Calendar or Outlook. Add or edit plans manually—from the app or on tripit.com. Share some (or all) of your trip plans via email or social media.

Thoughts: As a very detailed oriented traveler, I appreciate having all my information in one place. This app saves me the trouble of having to write down all the times and confirmation information for each part of my trip. You can save multiple trip itineraries at once, which helps you stay even more organized if you’re traveling a lot while you’re abroad.

TripIt Travel Organizer Interface

App: WeHostels
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: The easiest way to find and book safe, fun and affordable hostels and hotels anywhere in the world.Whether you are backpacking across Europe, exploring the outback in Australia, lounging on the beaches of Southeast Asia or trekking though South America, WeHostels is the quickest way to book a hostel or hotel on the go. Choose from over 40,000 amazing hostels and hotels in cities like London, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Prague, Buenos Aires, and a whole lot more.

Thoughts: Sometimes you need to just get out and get away. WeHostels makes finding a place to stay easy. Apps like Kayak will explore great deals on hotels, but sometimes those deals can’t compete with the great rates offered by hostels. With WeHostels, you can read reviews to make sure you’re comfortable with where you’re staying. The ability to book on the fly makes for some great opportunity for spontaneity. All you need to do is set out for your destination, and let the WeHostels app help you from there.

WeHostels Interface

App: HopStop
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/No

Official Description: HopStop is the only transit app you’ll ever need! Get detailed subway, bus, train, taxi, walking and biking directions, real-time transit information via HopStop Live!, as well as official transit maps, nearby station search, and station-to-station schedules in over 600 cities throughout the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Russia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherland, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.

Thoughts: No matter where you’re trying to go, chances are HopStop will get you there. Mastering public transportation abroad is no easy task. Several travelers that I’ve spoken to have mentioned that HopStop is the way to go. No need to download a different app for each city. All you need is included in one easy to use interface. If you’re studying abroad in Ireland, but want to visit London, you’ll have no problem adjusting to the different metro schedules and maps.

HopStop Interface

App: Student Universe
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: The leading mobile app for student travel deals. By negotiating directly with airlines and travel providers, StudentUniverse has deals you can’t find anywhere else. Study abroad, weekend trips, backpacking adventure – whatever your reason for travel, book your flight and hotel to anywhere in the world cheap and easy, straight from your phone.The free StudentUniverse app allows you to: directly book cheap student flights; find budget hotels and youth hostels; view your itinerary and trip information; contact StudentUniverse for 24/7 help; learn essential phrases and cultural information with TripLingo

Thoughts: While Kayak will compare deals across major travel sites like Expedia and Tavelocity, chances are they cannot compete with the exclusive deals offered by Student Universe. I wish I had known about this app when I traveled to Ireland. I definitely could have used it in order to make the most of my travel opportunities. You’re only a “college tourist” for a small amount of time, so use those student discounts when you can!

Student Universe Interface

Find

When you’re sightseeing and exploring, you’ll need a map to around. These handy apps will get you there, back again, and to some other places along the way:

App:Google Maps
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: The newly designed Google Maps app for Android phones and tablets makes navigating your world faster and easier. Find the best spots in town and the information you need to get there. App features: comprehensive, accurate maps in 200 countries, voice-guided GPS navigation for driving, biking, and walking, transit directions and maps for over 800 cities, live traffic, incident reports, and dynamic re-routing, detailed information on more than 100 million places, Street View and indoor imagery for restaurants, museums, and more.

Thoughts: I use Google Maps as my go to online map resource. Their phone app is just as good. Apparently Android users can also make the map available offline. Thus, travelers can plan ahead and save any information they need to save before you depart. You can make a map area available offline by tapping the search box and selecting “Make this map area available offline.” Overall, Google is a great resource and their map app lives up to their high quality standards. The live traffic updates make transportation a breeze.

Google Maps App Interface

App: City Maps 2Go
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Interactive offline map PLUS Wikipedia travel guides for the whole world. 100% offline. No data roaming or WiFi required. The most downloaded app of its kind. Ideal for trips abroad and at home. Features over 6,700 interactive maps for all parts of the world available, millions of POI (restaurants, shops, bars, etc), 500,000 Wikipedia abstracts of sites and attractions. Use GPS to find your own location and perform nearby searches. Search the map for addresses and places while offline.

Thoughts: If you’re worried about data or roaming charges, this app is the way to go. Your download of the free version of CityMaps 2Go includes access to five maps and one Wikipedia travel guide. Five maps is more than enough if you’re staying in one part of the country while you’re abroad. However, if you’re looking to do a lot of traveling abroad, the unlimited map access is available for a small upgrade fee.

City Maps 2go Interface

App:Waze
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Waze is a fun, community based mapping, traffic & navigation app, 70 million strong. Join forces with other drivers nearby to outsmart traffic, save time & gas money, and improve everyone’s daily commute.By simply driving around with Waze open, you’re already contributing tons of real-time traffic & road info to your local driving community. You can also actively report accidents, hazards, police and other events you see on the road, and get road alerts on your route too. Find the cheapest gas station along your route with community-shared fuel prices. Waze also makes it fun and simple to meet up and coordinate with friends on the road.It’s all about contributing to and benefiting from the ‘common good’ on the road, so hop on board and get involved in your local driving community today!

Thoughts: Before Google Maps integrated live traffic into their interface, I used Waze to travel all the time. It’s a free GPS that alerts you to traffic problems in real time. If you’re driving while you’re abroad, this certainly serves as a handy tool to get you where you need to go. Just make sure you’re driving on the correct side of the road! You don’t want to become a Waze accident alert that someone else will have to avoid.

Waze Interface

App: Meridian
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Meridian is your personal guide to all the places you visit.At the Portland International Airport, you can use Meridian to find flight times, gates, restaurants, bars, retailers, transportation and other amenities. At the Lan Su Chinese Garden, you can use Meridian to tour the garden, learn about plants and stay on top of events.At NYC, you can learn about the wide variety of permanent artwork installed throughout the historic subway and rail system. At San Diego’s Balboa Park, you can access current events and get navigated to points of interest throughout the entire 1200-acre landscape. At the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, you can use Meridian to learn and receive turn-by-turn directions to exhibits about dinosaurs, explore the development of life on Earth through the landscapes of present-day Georgia, connect with cultures from around the world and more. We’re working hard to add more locations every day. Visit meridianapps.com to learn more.

Thoughts: Most maps function as guides to get you from one play to another. Meridian works to help you explore the places you visit. This interior GPS allows you to view famous locations in all new ways. The app is very new, so locations are limited. However, I think it is worth noting and downloading now to stay on the cutting edge of technology as it expands! Interior navigation sounds like a cool concept, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Meridian Interface

App: Geocaching
Cost: $9.99
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Unlock the exclusive coordinates and detailed information for 2 million hidden geocache containers across the globe. Join the search for geocaches and the growing Geocaching.com community of families, urban explorers, and spontaneous outdoor adventurers.Use the Official Geocaching.com App to guide you to cleverly hidden containers just around the corner and in more than 180 countries. Tap into your treasure-hunting skills, the in-app descriptions, and available hints to make the final find! Start your location-based GPS-powered adventure now, or combine it with other activities like biking, hiking, or camping. Find even more information on Geocaching.com

Thoughts: This navigation app won’t take you to the restaurant you’re looking to visit, but it will take you on a treasure hunting adventure. For those not ready to spend $10 on the app, you can download the free intro version that allows you to explore three different geocaches. I haven’t purchased the app myself, but it sounds like a great way to pretend you’re on a secret mission and see your city in a whole new way! Who knows what treasures lie abroad?

Geocahcing Interface

Socialize 

Part of the fun of being abroad is sharing your trip with friends back home. You probably already have the standard social apps on your phone already (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc). Here are some social apps you may not know about that will come in handy abroad:

App:Kik
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description:90 million users love Kik! It’s the fast, simple, and personal smartphone messenger that connects you to everyone you love to talk to.Here’s why you’ll love Kik…FAST: Kik is hands-down the fastest, most reliable smartphone messenger available. And with sent, delivered, read and typing notifications, your conversations will come to life. SIMPLE: We believe that simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication. We’ve spent thousands of hours making sure Kik is the easiest, most beautiful smartphone messenger around.PERSONAL: Your Kik username – not your phone number – is your Kik identity, so you can keep complete control of your privacy. No wonder Kik is the number one way people connect in other social apps like Instagram.And now you can do even more on Kik, with new features that let you instantly find and share fun videos, sketches and pictures.

Thoughts: Spare yourself the trouble of dealing with pricey data and messaging charges while trying to contact friends back home. Because Kik is available on both iPhone and Android, you can message almost any of your friends back home when you have Wi-Fi. The messaging interface is highly interactive, which makes it great for getting a little creative.

Kik Interface

App: GroupMe
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description:GroupMe is the best way to chat with everyone you know. It’s free, whether you’re talking to a group of friends, or texting with one person. Best of all, it works on nearly every phone, with a smartphone app or via SMS. With GroupMe, it’s easy to reach anyone, anytime, anywhere. On GroupMe, you can catch up with your family, get a group together for a night out, coordinate with co-workers, or just gossip with a few of your closest friends. Think about it like your own private Twitter, just for the people you really know. Or like a faster, better reply-all email.

Thoughts: GroupMe functions a lot like Kik, but as you may have guessed, it supports group threads! It’s a quick way to stay in touch with a whole bunch of people at once. Not only can you use it to talk to friends back home, you can also use it with friends abroad. Put all your flatmates in one group and stay up to date on what needs to get done. Have a group of friends you like to go out with? Make planning the evening simple by starting a chat thread with everyone.

GroupMe Interface

App:Skype
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Say “hello” to friends and family with an instant message, voice or video call on Skype for free. There’s so much you can do, right from the palm of your hand. Find all your friends and family in an instant – With over 250 million people using Skype, you’re bound to bump into someone you know. Talk with your fingers – No matter where you are, your friends are always at your fingertips with free instant messaging.Call your world from Skype – Talk to your heart’s content with free voice and video calls to all your friends and family on Skype.Low cost calls to mobiles and landlines too – Keep in touch, even if they’re not on Skype, with low cost calls and SMS to mobiles and landlines on the other side of town or the world. Share your favorite snaps – Got a favorite photo to share? Send it over Skype to friends and family and you won’t have to worry about email size limits or expensive MMS charges.Chat with anyone, anywhere – Skype’s available on smartphones, tablets, PCs, Macs, and even TVs. Whatever device your friends or family use, Skype just works. Simple. Video messaging – Record life’s everyday moments and share them with the people who matter most, with free and unlimited video messaging over Skype.

Thoughts: Chances are you have used Skype at least once during your time in college. Skype is one of the most used video conferencing apps. I’m used to using on my computer, but you can still use it abroad on your phone or tablet. Skype feels more personal than a phone call since you actually get to see the person you’re talking to. It may lag a little if your wi-fi is spotty, but it’s enough to just check in. I frequently chatted with my family using Skype while I was abroad. FaceTime is great too, but it only works if both of you have Apple devices. I recommend Skype since it’s widely available on multiple platforms.

Skype Interface

App: HiTalk
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Make FREE phone calls and send FREE texts via HiTalk, for both international and local calls and texts.HiTalk is equipped with unique technology that supports HD quality sound you never experienced in traditional calls with any carrier. Crystal clear phone calls, even in noisy environments. No need to shout any more. This is the new-generation instant communication app that saves both your money and your throat.Stop paying hefty phone bills. Use HiTalk and enjoy all the services free of charge!

Thoughts: Not everyone has Skype or FaceTime to call and video-chat with. HiTalk allows you to keep in touch and call home without running up your wireless bill. When you have some time and a good wifi signal you can call any number. While it may not be the most ideal option in an emergency, it does what it needs to do in terms of keeping in touch.

HiTalk Interface

App: Find My Friends
Cost: Free
iPhone/Android: Yes/Yes

Official Description: Find My Friends allows you to easily locate friends and family using your device. Adding a friend is easy — just choose from your contacts or provide an email address to send an invitation. When your friend accepts your invitation using the Find My Friends app on their device, you can start following their location. Your friends can request to follow your location the same way.If you prefer, you can use temporary sharing to share locations with a group of friends for a specific period of time, such as an evening or a long weekend. If at any time you don’t want to be followed, you can hide your location with a single switch.Find My Friends also lets you set up location-based alerts that can notify you automatically when a friend arrives at the airport, a child leaves school, or a family member arrives home safely. You can notify friends about your current location or changes to your location at any time.Find My Friends works even when the app is in the background (a passcode lock on your device is required) and has been optimized to avoid draining your battery.

Thoughts: Get your friends and family to download this app, and you can easily show them what you’re up to without having to over share. Everyone can easily follow along on your adventures just by tracking on the app. Granted you can always just check in on Facebook, but this seems like a lot of fun too. People are always looking for the best new innovation in social sharing. Perhaps this is it.

Find My Friends Interface

Courtney Guth

University of Maryland | 31 stories

Courtney Guth is a senior English major at the University of Maryland College Park actively seeking an answer to the age-old question, “so what are you going to do with that?” Her answer currently involves working in communications and development for a small non-profit in Washington, D.C. If she’s not exploring the nation’s capital, she’s probably watching an old movie, attempting to cook, or losing her voice at a Maryland Terrapins’ game. She believes the adage that “the world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page” but why just read when you can write?


3 responses to “Must Have Phone Apps for Study Abroad”

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  3. Katie says:

    I really enjoyed this post! With technology today there are so many great apps and other things to utilize abroad. When I studied abroad in Turkey this past Spring my only concern regarding this was cost. I ended up getting a new plan before leaving the US. I used G3 Wireless and their service worked amazingly for me! The plan was pay as you go, not prepaid, so I didn’t have to worry about running out of minutes or going over my minutes and spending a fortune. I definitely recommend it to anyone else looking for an easy way to stay within budget!

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