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Best Apps to Download in Preparation for Studying Abroad & Traveling Europe 

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

I am not sure why society has created the idea that traveling and preparing for traveling should be stressful or anxiety fueled. I know I am not the only person who grew up with a father who was automatically on edge by simply hearing the term “airport”. Despite this idea and what others may have to say, I am here to put both to rest.

When I was preparing to study abroad, of course there were nerves for the unknown and some anticipation anxiety but ultimately, I was so excited for all that was to come, and you should be too! With that being said, there are a few apps that I think everyone should download before studying abroad and traveling Europe.  

1.National Express 

When you first arrive in your study abroad location, you may not feel comfortable hopping straight onto a flight to a new country. I recommend exploring your new “home away from home” city first and soaking it up for all that it has to offer. Mine, for example, was Canterbury, England. Once you have explored your new city, you may want to venture out to other places nearby–and that’s what this app is perfect for. National Express is an app that allows you to view and purchase coach tickets. These tickets are not only cheap, but they are easy to navigate. No need to worry about changing trains or buses, just one bus the entire ride. I bought coach tickets straight to London (which was about 2 hours from Canterbury) all the time and had no trouble. This app may also come in handy when looking for transportation to airports.  


Once you have explored your host city and country, you may be eager and ready to fly to further destinations. This is where Skyscanner steps in! Skyscanner is an app that compares flights from a variety of airlines and online booking sites to find you the cheapest and best tickets for your trip. Not sure where you want to go to first? No worries! The app gives the option to “Explore Everywhere” and gives you the cheapest destinations to fly to from the airports and dates of your choice. Having this app saved me hundreds of dollars and helped to give me hundreds of new memories in new countries.  


Maybe you are wanting to travel to neighboring countries, but not quite ready to jump on a plane, that is okay too! Flixbus is an app that allows you to buy bus tickets that can take you to new countries for a fraction of the cost (although, I am happy to tell you that airplane tickets in Europe are nothing compared to the United States). Your travel time will obviously be longer, but you will still ultimately end up in the same destination making loads of memories.


You have planned your trip to your new travel location! So exciting! But you can’t go there without having a place to stay after your long days of exploring. Hostelworld is an app, and website, that allows you to put in any city and presents you with all available hostel options. All you have to do is enter where you want to stay, the dates for your stay, and how many guests there will be. This app is nice because it gives you all the information you need in one place. It allows you to look at reviews, adjust filters for pricing, view photos of the hostel, and choose what type of room you may want (private, mixed dorm, female dorm). Hostels may be scary at first, but ultimately, they lead you to meeting some amazing people and share great stories. Embrace it! 

5.Get Your Guide 

Again, I understand that traveling may be stressful for some, but once you have planned out all the logistics, do not forget to plan out some fun activities once you’re there too. Get Your Guide is an app that allows you to find activities in your chosen location, and can vary from museum tours to bar crawls. If tours or organized activities are out of your price range, then this app can also offer you smaller purchases such as entrance tickets (some may even be free), which will ensure you get tickets and a timeslot before they sell out. Even if you are not sure what the city you are visiting has to offer, looking through this app may give you ideas of what you would like to do. Even though this is a useful tool, don’t forget that there is nothing wrong with having no plan at all and simply seeing where the day takes you! 

Whether you only download one of these, all of them, or none of them, I hope you still use this time to take a breath, relax, and get excited for your travels to come. This experience is one you will remember forever, do not be afraid to take control of it and do all that you can. Explore the world, make new friends, do new things, and enjoy your time abroad! Safe travels! 

PS~ when in doubt, use google maps ;)

Samantha Garcia

Illinois State '25

Hi! My name is Samantha and I am currently a junior at Illinois State University majoring in English Education. I have always enjoyed English due to there never being just one "correct" answer. I love how what you takeaway from a reading or how you approach writing is unique to each individual. As I move forward towards becoming an English teacher, I continue to look for opportunities to build my own ELA skills, and writing for Her Campus is a fun and unique opportunity to do that!