Appy Days: Essential Student Apps

Arriving in a new city can be confusing. Luckily technology is on your side with everything you need to find your way, make friends and stay safe. We asked our team what apps they swear by for general life and navigating new cities

Feature | 15 Sep 2016


Find your nearest bus or tram stop and check arrivals with live updating apps from Lothian Buses or First Bus. You can also buy digital tickets for the bus or tram using M-tickets and save having to scrabble about for correct change like some kind of luddite.

Contentious freelance taxi service Uber is horrifyingly simple to use (some might say addictively so) and can be very cheap if you catch it at the right time. Sharing a ride? You can split the fare at the touch of a button. Beware the price surge though: they jack up their prices at busy times (like the whole of August in Edinburgh, or a Saturday night everywhere else) and 3.9 times the standard fare can work out to be a whole lot of money.

Navigate your new home using Citymaps. It allows you to download a map of your city so you can find your way offline without using up any of that precious, precious data. It covers cities worldwide, so it’s also an essential tool for travelling.

Speaking of foreign travel, how do you expect to get around if you can’t speak the language? Learn with Duolingo, which turns language learning into a game. That’s right, learning is fun. You heard it here first. If you can’t be bothered even learning with a super fun game, you can always fall back on Google Translate. Decontextualised translation may be ridden with pitfalls, but it’s all you’ve got.


Your bank almost certainly has an app. You should use it to track your spending a stay safely under your overdraft limit at all times. You probably won’t though.


We all love a discount, right? UniDays is the best place for student discounts, and you can use the app in lieu of a student card. Find local deals with the usual suspects of Groupon, Wowcher et al., and Scotland-specific Itison.


Don’t knock Tinder – as long as you've got the stomach for it. Lots of people use it for finding pals, just make sure you specify that in your bio and keep aubergine emojis WAYYY out of the convo.

A slightly more feminist alternative is Bumble, where women have to make the first move. Head to Grindr for the world’s number one gay social network app (™).

Health & Safety

Companion allows friends to virtually walk you home. It lets them know when you reach your destination, and also alerts them if you haven’t arrived in the time it thinks it should have taken you using GPS. You can also let them know if you’re feeling unsafe with just a tap of a button.

Drunk Mode offers a variety of services, seeing itself as both a party facilitator and preventor. You can log the phone numbers you should not in any circumstances be dialling and it’ll stop you from contacting them for 12 hours. It also offers a Find My Drunk service to help locate your inebriated pal, a breadcrumbs function to help you work out what the hell you did last night, and a heatmap to show you where the nearest party’s happening.

Need to get up early and it’s already 3am? Sleep Cycle tracks your movements to work out when you're in the lightest stage of sleep, waking you up at the time you'll feel least groggy. It also has nice waterfall sound effects to play when you're worried you've drunk away your first year and are gonna fail your exams.