Whether it’s for shopping, navigating my way around traffic or making yourself understood, these following apps are great for expats and anyone else abroad.
Here are some of the best apps to use when living abroad…
The best apps to use when living abroad
- For finding my way around: GoogleMaps, Maps.Me and Waze. I use Google Maps generally for finding my way around town. I download the offline version for my area, so when I’m using the app it isn’t eating into my mobile data fees. However, sometimes Google Maps send me off piste and I’ve ended in a horrible muddle in rural, or lesser known locations. This is when Maps.Me comes in rather handy. Maps.Me was recommended to me by a fellow Expater for non Western countries which Google hasn’t got around to mapping. Finally I use Waze when driving, and it’s especially great for finding alternatives to traffic jams and road blocks. Waze was my go to for getting the kids to and from school via Santiago’s congested roads.
- For work: Slack and Asana. These apps are both great for allowing me to communicate with teams. Slack provides me with a handy way of keeping in touch with different teams in an organised way. I use Slack to chat with, share resources with and get feedback from fellow life coaches. For example, I log into my coach network, then click on our ‘resources’ conversations and here I can find all sorts of comments, links to books and discussions. Meanwhile Asana is great for managing project based work. I usually work independently but it’s useful when working with teams, on projects, to deadlines.
- For socialising: Meetup. Meetup is basically a digital notice board of group meet ups. Needless to say there’s a lot more going on in the bigger cities, but there is a decent selection of online meet ups too. Book clubs, religious study groups, cookery workshops and cultural gatherings… there’s everything from the everyday to the downright wacky. Like any digital platform through which you can meet people in real life – use it with caution. Don’t share your private details, go to public spaces only, and if you notice anything suspicious about the posting, report it.
- For money: XE Currency Converter and Wise. I use Xe all the time for real time currency conversions. Whether I’m shopping online, or figuring out rental charges, Xe is a handy app to keep on the go. Meanwhile I use Wise for simple, fast and cost effective international transfers. Most of my coaching clients live abroad, and it would be both expensive and complicated for them to pay me by standard bank transfer. Equally when I’m paying someone overseas, I find Wise the easiest option. It’s simple and fast to set up an account, and for a small fee you can get a debit card too.
- For health insurance: Bupa Member’s World. This one is only for those insured with Bupa global health insurance. Before I discovered this app it was a nightmare to get claims processed. I’d lose my receipts, the image sizes would be too large to send by email or I’d just forget. The app provides a simple and fast way to get claims processed. In seconds I can take a photo of my medical receipt, upload it on the app, input a few details and then within days the money’s in my account.
- For translation: Google Translate and Deepl. I speak four languages, but I’m rusty. These language apps are a life saver when I’m lost for words. I find Google Translate handy for languages I’m familiar with, and I just need a little reminder. With Google Translate you need to correct the gender and avoid clumsy literal translations, but it’s pretty good. Deepl was recommended to me by fellow Expaters and its translations are more nuanced, with options for different genders, for example.
- For limiting spam and scams: Truecaller. How I got so many spam calls on a brand new mobile number I’ll never know. I found Truecaller very useful for avoiding random spam calls. With Truecaller the name of the caller shows up, or it will flag a suspected spam call. It’s not fool proof, but I still find it very useful.
One more app for expats and other women abroad… if you’ve just moved to a new country, or are considering a move overseas, apply to join The Pool, a new digital community of women abroad. The Pool is available on the desktop or via an app (download Mighty Networks and select ‘The Pool’)
Any more to add to the list? Leave me a comment below.