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8 essential free travel apps for student travellers


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Travelling is not always easy. New cities are unchartered territories and unfamiliar languages mean misunderstandings are likely, and many hand gestures may be required. Thankfully, the smartphone industry has made things much easier for the student traveller.

Now, there are many cheap and easy apps designed to make travelling that little bit extra stress-free.

In fact, there are so many travel apps, it is hard to know which ones to prioritise. Hostelworld, TripAdvisor and Yelp have become staples for student smartphones.

Image credit: Viktor Theo on Unsplash

However, travelling does not just entail eating and sleeping, and there are many other apps which are just as handy.

1. StudentUniverse Flights App

Available for iOS and Android.

Before you jet off, you need to find and book your dream holiday. While Skyscanner and Momondo always seem to have good deals, it is definitely worth it to check the StudentUniverse Flights App, which offers cheaper rates for students.

We all love a student discount, right?

The app's layout is simple and easy to follow. When searching for the best deals, it often scans more than 200 different providers.

2. PackPoint Travel Packing List App

Available for iOS and Android.

By asking some basic questions such as your gender, your destination, how long you are travelling and what sort of activities you are planning, the PackPoint app creates a tailored packing list for your trip. By simply tapping the item, they can then be ticked off one by one or deleted by swiping right.

The app also gives you an approximate weather forecast so you can plan ahead.

The app is free but it is possible to upgrade to create custom packing lists.

3. FlightAware Flight Tracker

Available for iOS and Android.

Not only can you set alerts for your own flights with this app, but you can also check for disruptions at airports all around the world.

For any aviation enthusiasts, it is possible to view a flight map with flights across the globe. There are different options on how to view these maps including a Google Maps lookalike layout and a satellite version.

The app itself is free but it does include an advertising bar at the bottom, which is small compared to similar apps.

4. Wi-Fi Space: Free Wi-Fi App

Available for iOS and Android.

Currently we still enjoy free roaming in European countries, but for anyone planning to travel beyond Europe – or, of course, should Brexit happen - this app is excellent to check out local Wi-Fi spots.

The app uses a colour-coded system for different Wi-Fi spots, showing hotspots without a password in green, hotspots with a known password in yellow and hotspots with an unknown password in red.

To view the maps even when you are offline, you need to have accessed it earlier when you had an internet connection. After this, you can view the map without being connected to the internet.

5. Google Translate

Available for iOS and Android.

Google Translate’s translations used to be a bit sketchy, but they have improved over the past few years. In comparison to other translation apps, it features more languages and it has additional features such as camera mode, meaning you can translate menus or signs by merely taking a photograph.

Another important feature to note is the speech-to-speech translation, which allows you to have a bilingual conversation.

Not all features are available in all languages, but there is a list of what features work with which language available on the app's official page.

6. MapsWithMe Navigation App

Available for iOS and Android.

In terms of accuracy, MapsWithMe used to be inferior to Google Maps, but it has improved over the years. It now has all the functions that Google Maps has, including walking times, cycle routes and public transport, and you can download maps for offline use.

Image credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

What makes it distinct is that it has a built-in editor which app users contribute to, giving it a personal feel and providing more insight into spots off the beaten track.

The app's layout takes some getting used to. You have the option to search for places directly or filter by categories such as WiFi spots, petrol and parking.

7. Interrail Rail Planner App

Available for iOS and Android.

The first travellers went on their Interrail adventure in 1972 and, more recently, the EU opened applications for free Interrail passes for teenagers turning 18 in some of its member countries. If you do decide to embark on an interrail adventure, you will join approximately 300,000 travellers that choose to explore Europe by rail every year.

While half the fun might in the spontaneity, you must adhere to the trains included on the Interrail pass, shown on the official Interrail Rail Planner App.

The app features offline timetables and opportunities for seat reservations.

8. XE CurrencyConverter

Available for iOS and Android.

The XE CurrencyConverter will calculate approximate exchange rates for all currencies.

The app lists either the most commonly searched for currencies, or, if you choose to edit the selection, you can select your preferred currencies and the current exchange rate for each of these. Currencies can be added and removed by a simple tap or swipe.

Other apps that are useful to help keep on top of finances abroad include Paypal, which offers the option to create money pools for group holidays.

Additionally, TransferWise allows you to transfer money between international accounts for a fraction of what your bank would charge. It is entirely transparent and you will see precisely how much you are paying before you agree to do so.

Now that you are in the know, it is time to pack your bags and prepare for the next big journey.

Lead image credit: Viktor Theo on Unsplash

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