Essental Travel Apps
Your smartphone isn't just a camera for your trip abroad. It's so easy to carry a smartphone during your travels that you might not even think of it for its apps. Make sure to have accessible apps to enhance your touring experience.
With the rise in mobile technologies, "backpacking" has given way to "flashpacking", and those adventuring through Europe can stay better connected than ever (for better or worse). Below are some of my favorite tried and true apps that I use on my iPhone and iTouch while I travel in Europe.
TripIt is a free software that lets you organize your flight travel. Ever show up at the airport, and they ask for some obscure booking or confirmation or reference number or code? This takes care of that. As soon as you get the confirmation email from whatever airline you book on, forward that email to them, and it automatically populates all the crucial information from terminal and airline to departure/arrival times. It even keeps track of your various rewards accounts and numbers.
Skyscanner is a global search engine that enables people to find comparisons for flights, but does not sell flights directly; instead, the site can be used to find the cheapest deal for a desired route after which users are automatically transferred to the airline or travel supplier’s website to make their booking directly.
Currency lets you keep track of fluctuating conversion rates throughout your semester so you know exactly how much that fancy dinner equated to in US dollars.
Text+ allows you to utilize wifi networks to send texts to your friends back at home. Free for you and free for them.
Mint.com is a great way to budget while abroad, and it also lets you keep track of your balances while on the fly.
Kayak is an impressively useful cheap flight search engine that fits in your palm. While I don't purchase flights this way, it lets me do a quick comparison of the flights that are available. I'll then bust out my computer if I see a price worth jumping on.
iRail lets you search the Eurail database for train timetables. Much like a flight search engine, it lets you prioritize by number of stops and it also routes you on a visual map so you can compare your most direct options.
HostelWorld.com hasn't reached it's full potential yet, but I use it much like the Kayak app above: to do preliminary searches for sweet hostels while it's on my mind. The team at HostelWorld.com always seems to have their act together, and I anticipate much improvement over time.
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I definitely have WSA to thank for my exceptional experience in Amsterdam. One would think 4 days isn't enough to tour a city but WSA facilitated an optimum weekend full of sightseeing and fun. Amsterdam may have a notorious reputation for its lax drug and sex culture but there’s so much more to the city. Luckily, our tour guide, Arthur, native to the Netherlands, steered us away from the tourist traps and showed us around his beloved city, highlighting all of its gems. I'd definitely like to try other WSA trips in the future. It's hassle free traveling with an awesome itinerary - nice that the tour guides are flexible with the schedule and willing to cater the itinerary to the group's interest! Highly recommend WSA to any student with only a weekend to see a city.Lauren Wallender, Elon University ~ Fall 2014
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