Best Apps for Expats (or Travelers)

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Moving overseas or experiencing long-term travel in many ways is a completely different experience than it was even five years ago. New apps and resources appear every day that makes life abroad a bit easier. Here are some we couldn’t live without, some of our favorites and one we want to try…

Text Grabber (ABBYY) Other apps claim translation in real time which, in my experience, is only good for a couple words at a time. Text Grabber simply and reliably snaps a photo of text, scans and translates.

This is incredibly helpful for mail. If you receive what appears to be an important letter and you’re not sure if you’re going to prison or you’re invited to the mayor’s Birthday party Text Grabber will translate and clear up any most confusion.

FluentU Everyone learns a language in a different way. I tend to be more auditory and visual. This app and website is a bit of a break from other programs and uses real-world videos in the language you’re hoping to learn. It keeps the language learning interesting and is easy to use.

Translate (Google) and iTranslate There are a number of translation apps and programs available. My default is Google Translate, but I’ve included iTranslate simply because you can speak a phrase into your Apple watch, it will translate and speak the phrase back to you. Google translate also has a helpful extension for your internet browser and can automatically translate web pages and emails.

Voxer, Whatsapp, Messanger…There are articles from “way back” in 2014 about there be too many messaging apps and they continue to be developed. Whatever you choose to use, they are incredibly helpful for connecting with friends and family in other time zones so long as you can find wireless internet or have a decent data plan.

Transferwise There is simply no better way to move money around the world! Even if you don’t see the need for it right now I recommend signing up so when the need arises you’re able to complete your banking without delay. Transferwise has developed some incredibly innovative and low-cost banking solutions. Whether you’re moving money between your personal accounts or to others, it is the way to go!

Skyscanner Travel apps are almost as abundant as messaging apps. Add that to websites dedicated to every type of travel you can imagine and you’ll need a vacation simply from trying to plan your vacation.

Having worked behind the scenes, and knowing a bit about how airfares are structured, Skyscanner seems to cut through some of the craziness. It’s straightforward, covers most discount carriers and is easy to use. Fare alerts, best deals by month, rental cars, and hotels nicely round out their features. Download the App here iOS or Android.

Twitter After reaching out to followers living around the world Twitter kept coming back as having been an incredibly useful tool for getting real-time information on breaking news or important events occurring within their countries.

And one I have yet to add… Maps.me – I’m reasonably sure the GPS on my phone is failing and often find myself needing to navigate around unfamiliar lands. Much of the feedback from traveling friends pointed to Maps.me as easy to use, full-featured offline maps. I’m looking forward to trying it out…and not being lost.

What are your favorites? We’d love to hear what we’ve missed!

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