From flight deals and encrypted messaging to translation services and personal health, these apps can help you make more informed and safe decisions before you leave and while you’re away.
Apps to Make your Life Easier While Abroad
Psst. Many of these apps are also available as websites if you don't have the inclination or the space available on your phone to download them.
Fly, Drive, Ride, or Walk
Rome2Rio is a multi-modal transportation search platform that helps you plan both local and long-distance travel abroad. Using a database of flight paths, bus routes, train lines, and ferry schedules, it shows you the most efficient and inexpensive way to get from point A to point B.
Using a prediction algorithm for future flight and hotel prices, Hopper can notify you when it’s the best time to book.
Skyscanner helps you find and book international flights quickly and easily. Its search engine often provides less expensive options than comparable services.
With Google Maps, you can quickly find the nearest bank, hotel, restaurant, and more. It provides you with the fastest route options for local and regional transportation by leveraging timetables from public transportation services. When you have a connection over Wi-Fi or the data network, you can download and save maps to view offline (and save on international data roaming charges).
Pro tip: Use the street view setting to scope out the area ahead of time to know which landmarks to look for or what your accommodation really looks like from the outside.
Stay Connected & Protected
Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service app. You can make and send free international calls and text messages over Wi-Fi or a data network. It links to your existing contacts, and you can also send files, photos, videos, and voice notes.
Cisco AnyConnect helps protect your information while using your Harvard laptop, phone, or tablet. Through the app, you connect to Harvard's Virtual Private Network (VPN) to create a secure connection. Using VPN is one of several best practices to keep you data safe abroad. Visit Harvard’s IT Help portal to learn how to install the Cisco AnyConnect App.
Need a VPN app for a personal device? Check out TunnelBear, which offers encryption and secure browsing in 40+ countries. Free and monthly plans available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
Be Safe & Healthy
International SOS Assistance App
With the International SOS Assistance App, help is just a tap away. Register your trips and manage your itineraries; browse the country guides to research your destination's culture and norms; sign up to receive medical and security push alerts for your area; start a chat or phone call with an International SOS operator to receive medical, mental health, or security advice and assistance; and tap to check-in and update your location for 48 hours.
"The International SOS app added a feeling of security to my work. I liked the check in option which I used when I changed locations."
– Harvard graduate student
When you first start the App, you’ll need to sign up with your Harvard email address and complete your profile (name, contact information). Also make sure you check your trip’s eligibility for Harvard's International SOS membership.
Designed by the U.S. State Department, Smart Traveler is a helpful tool for U.S. citizens traveling to an unstable region. Similar to the CIA's World Factbook, the app includes information about every country in the world, including the most recent travel warnings and alerts. Through the app, you can also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which registers your trip with the nearest embassy or consulate.
The Jet Lag App
Tired of feeling tired? Timeshifter’s Jet Lag App uses the latest research on sleep and circadian neuroscience to advise you making small adjustments—like when to nap and when to limit your light exposure—before, during, and after travel with advice tailored to your itinerary’s time zones. Dr. Steven Lockley, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine, is a co-founder and chief scientist at Timeshifter.
Ten Percent Happier
Travel can be stressful, and the Ten Percent Happier app is here to help with guided meditations, videos, talks, and sleep content. Even better—Harvard benefits-eligible employees get free access to the Ten Percent Happier mindfulness app. Simply download the app and subscribe using your Harvard email address.
Like we said, travel can be stressful. The Headspace app offers guided meditations to help you with everything from anxiety and loneliness to workouts and sleep. Even better—students are eligible for a deep discount. Simply download the app and subscribe using your Harvard email address.
Speak the Language
Using gamification, Duolingo can help you learn a language before your trip. Beat the clock, earn points, and track your progress across bite-sized lessons.
Google Translate may be one of the most convenient and helpful translation services. You can type, talk, and even take a picture of a foreign language with the app, and it will translate it instantly.
Manage Your Money
Harvard employees can easily manage travel expenses through the Concur mobile app. Take pictures of receipts, create and submit expense reports, and review and approve reports on the go. Learn more about Concur on the Harvard Travel Services website.
Oanda Currency Converter
Oanda Currency Converter helps you accurately plan your budget abroad, updating 190 currencies daily and making frequently-used currencies easy to access.
Harvard Global Support Services does not endorse any of the external organizations or services; they are provided only to serve as informational aides.