Best Apps for Expats and Global Nomads
It’s no secret that phones make life much easier. Phones allow you to communicate with friends, choose a top restaurant in a new neighborhood, find the local entertainment, and much, much more. The utility of your phone is amplified when living abroad: researching exchange rates and saying “thank you” in a foreign language are two of the many ways that your phone has your back in a foreign country. The rapidly growing number of mobile applications – specifically, apps for life abroad – increases the potential usefulness of your phone while living abroad. However, with such a large number of applications available for your phone, it can become difficult to find those golden nuggets that will enhance your time abroad.
Best iPhone and Google / Android Apps for Expatriates
With years of experience living abroad between us, our team got together to brainstorm the best applications that most influenced our time living abroad. We read countless articles, compared our favorite apps to their competitors, and narrowed down our list to select only the top rated apps out there. Without further ado, we bring you the 21 must-have apps for living abroad. To make this easier to digest, we’ve divided our list into 7 primary categories:
Finding your way around in a new city is never easy, especially with limited Internet access. These apps are intended to help you navigate around your host country as you start to familiarize yourself with the area.
It’s only suiting that our highest recommendation would come first. CityMaps2Go puts a map of most major cities in your pocket for offline access. While the memory requirements are large, this app is a must for any world traveler.
2. Transit Directions by Moovit
With real-time bus and train updates for over 800 cities, Transit Directions by Moovit is ideal for expats who are heavily reliant on public transportation.
3. SitORSquat: Restroom Finder
Created by Charmin, SitORSquat virtually serves as a social network focused on helping you to find the closest sanitary restroom. Users have the option to rate restrooms as “sit” (you enjoyed the restroom), or “squat” (you wouldn’t suggest this restroom).
While English is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, having a basic grasp of the language of your host country can prove invaluable. Here are our top two suggestions for apps that will help you overcome the language barrier.
Want to learn the native language of your host country? This free app is a fun way to do so! Duolingo breaks down learning a foreign language into easily digestible, 5-10 minute lessons, with a large emphasis on reinforcing vocabulary and grammar over time.
2. Google Translate
Google Translate is the perfect tool for those looking to translate a specific word or sentence into their native tongue. With the ability to translate 103 languages when connected to the Internet, or 52 while offline, this tool can be your best friend.
It’s no secret that living abroad opens the doors to many new adventures, which often times require us to open our wallets more than we’re used to. To ensure that your finances are kept in order while living abroad, be sure to explore these two essential finance apps.
Mint is the ultimate personal finance tool. From monitoring spending habits in specific spending categories to tracking goal savings progress, we highly recommend this tool.
2. XE Currency
For those who plan on living in countries where currency fluctuations can be extreme, as well as those who plan on making frequent trips outside of their host country, the XE Currency app can be a great way to keep track of the conversion rate between your host country and native land. That being said, for less frequent travelers, a quick Google search for specific currency rates may provide a simpler solution.
Planning on traveling outside of your host country? Come explore our top travel app recommendations for saving time and money.
The ideal travel app for those hoping to travel on a budget. Skyscanner allows you to enter your starting point and destination and pulls the most affordable flights offered by most major airlines based on your travel dates.
If you dream of an all-inclusive travel itinerary, TripIt may be perfect for you. TripIt serves as a centralized location for all travel plans and documents, including a schedule of your flight itinerary, boarding pass, hotel, and restaurant confirmations.
The number of places to explore in a new city can be overwhelming. Fortunately, this list of entertainment apps will ensure that you find the best that any city has to offer.
Yelp for specific dishes – Foodspotting is an app focused on helping you to find the best-rated dish for any type of food. Whether you’re searching for steak tartare or a Caesar salad, Foodspotting will help you find the best restaurant near you.
Phone Availability: Android and iOS
Memory Usage: Varies by the device (Android) | 17.2 MB (iOS)
2. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
UNESCO is the perfect app for those interested in learning about the history of their host country. With a massive list of over 1,000 sites, this app provides detailed information on all UNESCO world heritage sites.
One of the biggest deterrents from living abroad is the increased difficulty of communication, both in your personal and professional life. Fortunately, these two travel apps will make it easy to stay in touch while living abroad.
Having a smaller application size than Viber, with a much larger user base, Facebook’s Messenger app is our suggestion for calling and texting friends while living abroad.
Best known for its video chatting functionality, Skype is perfect for expats in search of more personal communications than phone calls. For those hoping to video chat on the go, come explore Skype’s mobile apps.
Great app for video conferencing with a large group. It allows for multiple screens to be shown at once in a gallery/grid display. Easy to use and easy to set up a meeting.
Getting ready to move abroad? Come explore our moving abroad checklist.
For those hoping to stay productive while living abroad, this list of productivity apps will help you to stay organized and productive during your time abroad.
1. WiFi Finder
Wi-Fi Finder will simplify your life by identifying the closest free Wi-Fi to your current location. The app works by connecting to your cellular network and “calling” any nearby Wi-Fi networks. Travelers without cell service may have to settle for dropping by the nearest coffee shop to find Wi-Fi.
Evernote is best described as the ultimate notebook for managing your life. While transferring all of your notes and files into it can take time, Evernote allows you to organize your life into folders and sub-folders such as “business”, “personal development”, and “fun”. In addition, a search function and tagging system help you to easily find old notes. Evernote is also available as a desktop app for simplified note-taking.
3. Quire- Anytime. Anywhere.
Quire lets you map out your thoughts, and tackle them with small steps. Quire lets you streamline your to-dos visually, so you can arrange, prioritize, and focus on what matters the most with the Kanban board.
For those hoping to expedite the approval process for transactions and contractual agreements, DocuSign may be perfect for you. DocuSign allows you to expedite the approval process by providing online signatures that are verified by email address.
With this list of apps at your disposal, you’ll be ready for (almost) any challenge that living abroad brings your way. As for the challenges that you weren’t ready for, come share them with our community. Tweet at us, or share your story using #expatstories (just save the SitORSquat stories for Charmin).