If you’ve recently moved abroad permanently for work or temporarily for a short project, you will need more support than usual to ease the life-changing transition. Fortunately, smartphones have made our lives much easier and offer various tools and resources through mobile apps.
You can find an app for everything, whether it is learning and translating languages, getting around the city, meeting new people, or managing your finances. Here we share a list of the 15 best apps that global nomads and expats living abroad must have on their phones.
We haven’t covered any messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, or Zoom in this list, as there are so many to choose from. More importantly, most people already use more than one messaging app to stay in touch with their families, friends, bosses, and colleagues. So, we will only list other kinds of apps that expats need when living in a foreign land.
When living abroad, you need to keep track of your finances regularly. This will ensure that you stay on a budget and avoid debt and other financial problems. Here are two essential apps for expats to download to stay on top of their finances:
If you frequently transfer funds to your homeland or other countries, download Wise (previously called TransferWise). This innovative app will help you easily manage money from abroad and send and receive money quickly and cheaply.
It also has low transfer and forex fees as it makes two different transfers between countries. For instance, if you’re sending cash from Germany to the United Kingdom, the app will first send your euros to a European Wise account. It will then transfer the equivalent amount in British pounds to a British Wise account.
So, the cash does not really cross international borders, helping you save a lot on fees.
- Allows money transfers in 50 currencies to more than 170 countries
- Sends money at live exchange rates
- Has a secure two-factor authentication
- Allows you to deposit money
- Provides an international debit card for payments and ATM withdrawals without markups or hidden transaction fees
- Helps track spending in different currencies
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/wise-ex-transferwise/id612261027
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.transferwise.android&hl=en
Price: Free, but Wise levies a small fee on transactions.
If you need a bank that caters to expats, check out Revolut. This digital bank runs on a mobile app, making it easy to manage payments with the tap of a screen.
- Provides an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) for fast and secure payments
- Allows you to send, receive, and store different currencies in your account
- Provides a bank card for domestic and international payments and ATM withdrawals
- Offers interest and rewards
- Allows stock trading
- Offers travel insurance and zero debit card fees on paid membership plans
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/revolut-spend-save-trade/id932493382
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.revolut.revolut&hl=en
- Standard account: Free, but Revolut charges fees on exceeding ATM withdrawal limits.
- Plus account: £2.99 per month and additional fees on exceeding ATM withdrawal limits.
- Premium account: £6.99 per month and extra fees on crossing ATM withdrawal limits.
- Metal account: £12.99 monthly and additional fees on crossing ATM withdrawal limits.
Even if you know English, the most commonly spoken language globally, you should have a basic grasp of your host country’s language. It will help you overcome the language barrier and better converse with the locals.
Here are our top three app recommendations for learning and translating languages:
3. DeepL Translate
Another fantastic app for instant translations is DeepL Translate. This popular translation tool quickly gives you high-quality, accurate translations, allowing you to hold simple conversations in foreign languages easily.
- Translates up to 28 languages from your phone
- Helps you learn the correct pronunciations in different languages through text-to-speech technology
- Lets you converse in foreign languages through your phone using speech-to-text technology
- Allows you to translate text from documents and images fast and correctly
- Allows you to scan and translate text using your camera
- Can save translations to create a vocabulary list
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/deepl-translate/id1552407475
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.deepl.mobiletranslator&hl=en
The internet has changed how we work, play, and live. In a new country, internet access becomes all the more important as it helps you do a host of things online. These include virtually finding housing, booking amenities, connecting with loved ones, emailing business peers, searching for local hangouts, and more.
If you need an app to help you get online for free, check out this one:
When you are in a strange and faraway land, connecting with new, like-minded people who share your tastes and interests is important. It will help keep things exciting and fun and beat boredom and stress. Here is the best app to help you socialize with people when you’re in a new country:
Meetup is an excellent app for connecting with people who share similar interests. You can use it to find people who enjoy your favourite activities and hobbies easily and to open up to new experiences.
More than 179 countries have this app available. So, wherever you are in the world, you can be sure to find communities and events near you.
- Covers an extensive range of topics and interests
- Helps you start a group or join an existing one
- Helps you find local events that match your interests
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/meetup-social-events-groups/id375990038
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.meetup&hl=en_US
Price: Free with in-app purchases
As an expat, it is important to be able to get around a new city safely and easily so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the new sights and sounds.
Here are the top three apps that you must have on your smartphone to help you easily travel in a foreign city:
1. CityMaps2Go – Offline Maps
CityMaps2Go is one of the best apps on the market to help you safely get around the city. It provides you with offline maps of top cities worldwide so that you can access them whenever and wherever you want.
- Offers photos, tips, and other important details of places
- Allows you to colour-code your saved locations
- Allows you to create lists of your favourite haunts
- Helps you discover fun activities happening near you
- Curates stories from leading travel magazines
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/citymaps2go-save-places-plan/id408866084
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ulmon.android.citymaps2go
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Waze is one of the best map apps to use, as it offers superior directions and road alerts. This lets you enjoy a fast, smooth, and comfortable trip, which is especially crucial when you’re driving in a new city.
- Uses crowdsourcing technology
- Collects real-time data on road conditions, traffic accidents, police checkpoints, and more
- Can predict directions of one-way streets
- Has celebrity voices like those of Morgan Freeman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Kevin Hart
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/waze-navigation-live-traffic/id323229106
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.waze&hl=en
Can’t wait to explore the new city’s hotspots and lesser-known travel gems? These three apps will help you stumble upon fun places when you’re an expat living abroad:
Expats with mobility issues will find Wheelmap highly useful. It helps you find wheelchair-friendly places, including cafés, restaurants, cinemas, shops, parking lots, bus stops, toilets, and entrances.
It uses a unique traffic light system to rate places based on their wheelchair accessibility. Green means fully wheelchair-accessible, orange means partially wheelchair-friendly, and red means not wheelchair-friendly. It also has a grey sign, which means that the accessibility of a place is unknown.
Wheelmap also shares updates on functional and out-of-service elevators and escalators in a particular area. This makes it all the more helpful for people with mobility issues.
- Helps you discover and rate wheelchair-accessible locations
- Uses crowdsourced ratings for places
- Offers millions of ratings
- Color-codes places depending on wheelchair accessibility
- Lets you see and upload images of public places for a better understanding of wheelchair accessibility
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/wheelmap/id399239476
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.wheelmap.android.online
As an expat or global nomad living in a new country, you should protect your online privacy from hackers and spies.
This app below will help you safeguard your digital privacy:
NordVPN is our best recommendation for digital privacy protection for expats and travellers. Its robust security features and vast server network make it highly recommended for new expats living abroad. The app also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unhappy with its service.
- Fast speeds
- Has more than 5,000 servers in over 60 countries
- Encrypts your connection two times for improved security with the Double VPN feature
- Provides you with excellent customer support
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/nordvpn-vpn-fast-secure/id905953485
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nordvpn.android
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Living away from home for a long time can be exciting yet stressful. You need to manage a lot of things on your own and get accustomed to your new routine and a new city. In such a situation, it is only natural to feel stressed or anxious.
If you need some psychological support when living abroad, make sure that you check out this app:
BetterHelp is a popular online therapy app that helps people deal with mental health issues and find the support they need. This makes it great for expats who may feel overwhelmed, anxious, confused, or even fearful of the new city and lifestyle in which they find themselves.
- Matches you with therapists who may identify with your values, background, and circumstances
- Allows you to schedule telephonic, video, or live sessions with therapists
Apple iOS App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/betterhelp-therapy/id995252384
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.betterhelp
Moving abroad is fraught with countless new experiences and challenges. So, a little help from mobile apps can help you deal with this massive change more effectively and easily. They can guide and support you like a constant companion as you navigate and familiarize yourself with new terrain.
You can discover new and vital information, form new relationships, level up your expat game, and live your best life ever. We hope you find the above apps useful and use them to ease your transition to your new host country.
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