How in the world would we survive these days without the convenience of technology? Things that seemed virtually impossible 20 years ago are now a finger swipe away.
I’ll admit, sometimes I think about the fact that our family has moved to the other side of the globe and wonder if we’re crazy! Language barriers, cultural differences, currency conversions, metric system, city navigating. It’s all overwhelming if you stop and think about it long and hard.
But then I’m reminded of how modern the world has become. How very easy it is today, thanks to the internet and tons of useful apps, to become an expat and make a foreign country your home. I’ve really come to rely on my favorite apps for tourists and expats to get me through the daily challenges of living abroad.
My Favorite Apps for Tourists and Expats in Barcelona
Apps for Expats
When we first moved to Barcelona, our Spanish was elementary at best. Sure I did well in school Spanish classes, but it’s amazing what 20 years of not utilizing a language skill will do. And with Catalan being the native dialect here in Catalunya, we were doubly confused!
Almost three years here has done wonders for our Spanish. But still, I refer to the Google Translate app on a daily basis. There’s always a word or phrase that totally stumps me. Not to mention with our youngest child attending Catalan school, I’m a deer in headlights without the help of this baby!
I don’t know about you but I’ve been thinking so much about “waste” lately. How much of it we consume as a family each day and what gets tossed by businesses at the end of the week? It’s a hot topic right now, guys!
That’s why I was so thrilled to hear about Too Good To Go app, where restaurants and bakeries list leftover items from that day at rock bottom prices. Just order your “surprise” takeaway bag and select a pick-up time (usually the end of the day). This is a great way to support your favorite businesses, minimize waste and save money all at once!
I tend to be pretty direction savvy when it comes to finding my way around. But in a foreign city with street names in a different language and no car to get me around? This was totally frightening! Would I get on the wrong bus? What happens if I take the wrong train?
Once I downloaded City Mapper, it gave me such confidence to navigate the city like a local. Just enter your starting point, your destination and the app will produce different options for walking, taking the bus/train or driving as well as tell you how often the public transportation options run making it easy to plan ahead. What a lifesaver this app has been!
Anything at all you need picked up and delivered, count on Glovo! You’ll notice them all over Barcelona riding messenger bikes and carrying bright yellow backpacks (usually filled with food!)
Two years ago, we had a family emergency the day before Thanksgiving. Glovo came to the rescue like knights in shining armor, picking up my turkey from La Boqueria market downtown and delivering right to my door!
You’ve probably heard me mention this before, but math is definitely NOT my strong suit. So when moving from the U.S. numeric system to Europe on the metric system, I was frazzled to say the least.
Celsius, meters, kilos, euros are enough to make anyone’s head spin that isn’t already familiar with such measurements. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to find iConverter, the app that does all the work for me.
Now when I talk with someone about the weather, I don’t have to hem and haw over the equivalent to 70 degrees Fahrenheit! When baking a cake – I no longer have to go search for how many tablespoons are in a milliliter.
One of my favorite things to do in the states was shop for second hand decor items for our home. So naturally when moving to Barcelona, I had to find the equivalent to the popular app Let It Go. And Wallapop came to the rescue!
Furniture, appliances, clothing, pet supplies – you name it! Just specify your location and the distance you wish to search to find whatever you’re looking for. Keep in mind, it helps to speak Spanish as I’ve found many of the sellers do not speak English.
Apps for Tourists/Visitors
A major concern for many travelers when visiting Barcelona is the pick pocketing scene. And given the fact that this city is considered number one in all of Europe for such petty crime, it’s worth taking extra precautions.
City Angel is an app where users can pinpoint in real-time when a theft situation has occurred. Similar to the WAZE app that notifies other drivers of police activity or accidents, City Angel notifies others in the area that a potential looter is on the prowl.
As savvy as we’ve become with the public transportation system here, sometimes it’s just easier to jump in a taxi. And tourists sometimes would rather not be bothered trying to figure their way around a city.
Taxi Ecologic is the convenient way to get around without the guilt of polluting the planet. Every vehicle in their fleet is guaranteed to be eco-friendly – electric or hybrid. And similar to UBER you’ll have access to a live map showing the distance your driver is from your location.
The beauty of living in and traveling to Europe is that you can catch a quick flight to another country in under one hour! We’ve been blessed to do loads of traveling to fantastic cities such as Vienna, London, Prague and Ghent. But as a family of five, flight costs can quickly add up!
So that’s why we rely heavily on Hopper, which offers the lowest of the LOW in flight costs (even beating out SkyScanner tons of times!). Not happy with the flight cost after your first search? Set up an alert in the app to notify you when the price drops. This app has been a real cost saver and allowed us to take more trips to exciting destinations.
A trip to Barcelona isn’t complete without learning the history of famous designer Antoni Gaudi. After all, his footprint is literally ALL over this city! Gaudi BCN is an official audio guide by the Tourism of Barcelona Office and allows users to visit his main buildings and up to a total of eleven: La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, La Pedrera and Park Guell for example.
Each chapter explains the building, the inspiration behind it and includes gorgeous photos of each.
Spotted by Locals
In any major city, you have your fair share of tourist traps. You know, the ones with overpriced mediocre food and drinks? Don’t get caught spending your money in one of these establishments!
With Spotted by Locals, you’ll receive insider info and recommendations from the locals themselves for the best bars, restaurants, nightlife, events. You’ll discover the city from an entirely different point of view – like a local!
All of these apps are available for download on the Apple Store and Play Store.