You’re getting ready to to study abroad in Peru with EdOdyssey and will most likely be brining along one of your most important items: your smart phone. Great idea! In addition to always having a camera in your hand to capture all the amazing moments, with your smartphone you have access to unbelievable resources at your fingertips. However, with more than a million apps on the Apple and Android app stores, trying to find the best ones can be a challenge.
Here are our picks for the top 13 apps that deserve a space on your Android or iPhone before you arrive to Peru:
Started in 2009, Duolingo is a language-learning app that gamifies the process. While it is no substitution for real immersion learning, Duolingo is a great addition to reinforce all the the learning that is taking place constantly as you are out and about in Lima. The app claims that 34 hours of Duolingo-learning is the equivalent to a one semester course - so start today, it fun! If you already have some foundation in the language don't forget to take the placement test so you begin at an appropriate level.
A great tool, WordReference is so much more than a dictionary. It gives great sample sentences and context for words and full verb conjugation charts. While sometimes Google Translate can be helpful, a full dictionary like WordRefrence is a must for any serious language learner and will become your best friend as you search for synonyms writing your mid-term paper for your university classes in Lima.
The streets of Lima are packed with micros, coasters, combis and buses. Riding public transportation is part of the fun (and frustration?) of living in Lima and with an average cost of S./1 (about $0.30) per ride public transportation is affordable in this awesome city...but is it the white combi with a blue stripe or the big red bus that goes to Barranco? The routes can be confusing, even for local limeñans and TuRuta is our favorite app to find the best routes traveling on public transportation.
An app that probably already has a space on your phone, Google Maps is another one of our favorite map and navigation apps. Although you've probably used it before did you know you can download maps too so you can navigate and use the apps without data?! Before you go or while you're on wifi, download Lima so you can easily find your way around and save on cellphone data! Never get lost again!
If you're studying abroad with us, you'll be living with an amazing homestay family in their home, but as you travel around the country and explore, Airbnb is a must-have app to find great local accommodations. Hotels and hostels are always options, but Airbnb is often even more affordable and comes with the added bonus of staying like a local. Whether your traveling solo and just need a couch to crash on in Cajamarca or you and your 15 friends need an entire house to stay in before your huge hike in Huaraz Airbnb is a great platform.
StudentUniverse is an airfare booking platform with special negotiated pricing just for students. While anyone can use the site, if you have a student email addresses have access to the best pricing. Google Flights is also a great tool that allows you to compare flights and dates on virtually every site, don't forget to search StudentUniverse before booking your next flight!
A fun app that tracks your travel and note your experiences all in one place. It's a free app, but offers an option to create a Travel Book, which is automatically creating using your photos and the data tracked by the app (countries, cities, places, experiences, etc.), for about $35-$85 depending on the number of pages. We've never creates a Travel Book ourselves - but they look pretty cool! Whether your print the book or not, this app is no doubt a great way to track your travels and perhaps let friends and loved-ones back home follow along!
How are you going to communicate with your new Peruvian friends and homestay family? iMessage or SMS? Nope. WhatsApp. A communication app used by virtually everyone, WhatsApp is very popular in Peru (and most of the world). In addition to sending texts, voice notes are also easy (and a great way to practice your listening and speaking in Spanish). It's also a great way to communicate with your friends who are also studying abroad around the globe and your family so encourage them to download it too before you take off.
Better safe than sorry, right? This app by the American Red Cross offers first aid tip and is a great reference...just in case. We hope you never need to use it, but in an emergency situation, this app may just help save the day - from first aid for cuts and burns to how to handle an asthma attack or broken bone and everything in between this app offers instructions and recommendations.
Managed by the US Department of State, this app provides quick access to the Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (S.T.E.P), which can be a great resource in emergency situations such as natural disasters, political unrest lost/stolen passport, protests, etc. With the Smart Traveler app, you can create trip itineraries, add notes, and organize your travels; it also provides quick access to the Department's Consular Affairs Facebook and Twitter pages.
While the app itself could be much better, it still made our list because enrollment in S.T.E.Pis a must for an American citizen abroad and is the fastest way to receive the latest updates from the Embassy in Lima (and be sure to update your location as you travel around Peru too).
For the moments when you need to get somewhere a little faster and don't have time for public transportation, taxis are still a very affordable option in Lima. When taking a taxi in Lima we always recommend using a "taxi seguro" or safe taxi. Easy Taxi, Taxi Satelital, Uber, Taxi Beat all work in Lima and are good options, but our local team's favorite taxi app is Cabify.
Another app you may already have on your phone, TripAdvisor is an amazing online community of travelers and locals that offer tips, reviews and disucssions on so many topics around the world. In Peru, TripAdvisor offers tons of great tips and recommendations so this is a great place to start as you consider where to go eat with your friends or look for recommendations on the best time of year to visit Cañon Colca (in Arequipa).
Like Yelp + TripAdvisor this app by PromPeru offers tips, recommendations, experiences, photos, information and more about locations all around the country. It is also a great quick-reference guide with information on important locations and landmarks and you travel.
Already use some of these apps? Do you know of another great app that we should add to our list? Comment below and tell us!
Note: None of the aforementioned suggested apps are paid or sponsored, this post is just our honest opinion based on our experiences.