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.
MORE TRAVEL TIPS:
I went to Rome with a few of my friends. Before we got there, our tour guide, Rhianne, sent us plenty of information regarding how to arrive at the hostel, and what our Itinerary would be like. She also made it a point to meet up with people the night before if their flight got in early so students would have something to do. Having a tour guide that lived in the city was amazing. It made me not have to stress about getting lost, and provided many opportunities to eat at the best restaurants, and, most importantly, the best Gelato places. By the end of the tour, I was good friends with each of the 14 members of the tour group, including our tour guide. I definitely recommend taking a tour through WSA because the guides make you feel like they actually care about each person on the trip. I knew that I could just relax, and enjoy my trip.Kyle Cook, Lebanon Valley College ~ Kingston University, London, Fall 2015
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