Technology can get a bad rap when it comes to student travel. (Think: That kid who’s too busy looking down at their phone to notice all the amazingness around them.) But when its powers are channeled for good, a great app or other tech platform can help get a kid hyped for a trip, soothe a nervous parent, or make an on-the-ground experience umpteen times more interesting. Many travel planner apps for students exist that take an educational travel experience even further.
Here are a few of our favorite teacher-tested, EF-approved travel planner apps, sites, platforms, and more.
Getting your group excited
- Google Sites: Create a website to share trip information, post resources, and build excitement.
- Duolingo: Learn basic language structure and vocabulary using quick activities.
- Drops: Learn new vocabulary through fun, fast-paced games with simple mnemonic images.
Prep and travel planner apps:
- PackPoint: Determine what to bring based on weather, the length of the trip, and any activities that are planned.
- MyTSA: Better understand the TSA process with tips on what (and what not) to pack, plus explanations of the various TSA rules.
- Piper: Get advice on tipping for various countries and cultures.
- XE Currency: Understand currency conversions for different countries.
- BAND: Communicate with your group, set meeting invitations, share documents, and more.
- Remind: Communicate with travelers and families easily on a platform designed for educators.
While you’re traveling
- Timeshifter: Manage jet lag with suggestions on when to do things like nap or drink coffee.
- Triposo: Download city guides and walks that work offline.
- Google (Offline) Maps: Download maps that can be viewed without data or Wi-Fi.
- Flush: Locate public restrooms nearby, and check for fees and accessibility.
- Google Translate: Translate typed and spoken language, and use a phone camera to translate items in view, such as menus and street signs.
- WhatsApp: Message individuals and groups on an internet-based platform that can be configured to connect to your phone number.
Connect with folks back home
- Polarsteps: Upload photos and reflections that friends and family can follow in real time. The app also creates a digital map of the trip, plus a photo book that’s available for purchase.
- Rebtel: Make low-priced international calls using this app.
- Facebook Messenger: Use a phone number or Facebook account to communicate via this internet-based messaging platform.
- Momento: Collect content from social media platforms, add journal entries, and share posts with friends and family.
After you’re back
- Simpleprints: Create quick photo books, prints, or calendars from travel photos.
- Journi Blog: Create photo albums, blogs, and journal entries for reflection or to share.
Read more about how tech-savvy teachers post, download, and hashtag their way through the tour planning process in our latest edition of “We asked, you answered.”
Editor’s note (2021): This piece has been updated for clarity, accuracy, and relevance.