Although getting your phone to be functional overseas is an ordeal in and of itself, maneuvering through a new city is a whole other animal. Our professors and administration keep saying that Dublin is such a small city and that it's quite easy to get around, but I'm still getting the hang of things. Rather, where I live in America, public transportation isn't really used (or efficient, for that matter), so using public transportation at all is new for me. But, there have been some major rockstar apps that have saved the day many times.
|A friend and I took the DART to Bray a few weekends ago!|
This app is best for figuring out the best way to get from Point A to Point B. It can give you bus, LUAS (trolley/over-ground subway type thing), and DART (trains/also over-ground subway) schedules and time estimates depending on which mode you're planning to take as well as estimated fares with the occasional live feed of certain bus lines. I'm not really sure how they pick and choose which bus lines to give live updates on, but if I'm not sure which stop I'm supposed to get off at, it's really helpful because I can track it alongside my second favorite...
I think this one goes without saying, but the navigation apps that come standardized on smartphones are not usually that accurate and they cannot give you different route options. Using Google Maps while walking around has been major key for figuring out places on foot but it's also wonderful to use in conjunction with the Journey Plan app to make sure you get where you need to go. For example, I was taking the bus back from the airport by myself a few weeks ago, and I was having trouble hearing the bus stops over the loudspeaker. Having the map out as the bus drove along helped me figure out if I was close enough to hop off or if I needed to stay on. (I still got off too early, but hey you live and your learn.)
|A view of Dublin traffic from the top of a double-decker bus|
Uber works just fine here when studying abroad in Dublin, but the administration here at CEA Dublin recommended that we use Hailo over Uber. It's the exact same principle: you download the app, enter a credit card, and press a button and a cab comes to you. But, as opposed to Uber, where pretty much anyone with a license and a car can be a driver, all Hailo drivers must be registered taxi drivers with the government. As such, they are certified and usually far better drivers since they had to take an exam and be certified.
If you know you're going to be taking the bus at any point during your time in Ireland, go ahead and get the Dublin Bus app. It gives you more details than the Journey Plan app can in regards to which routes will take you where and which stops you need to go to in order to take those routes. Essentially, it just provides more bus-specific detail than the Journey Plan app does.
As a bonus fifth app, if you're planning on traveling to any other countries while you study abroad, I'd strongly recommend downloading the corresponding airline app so you can keep your boarding pass, schedule, and more on hand just in case you too often misplace key documents such as those.
|One of Dublin's most famous bridges is a sideways harp that opens horizontally instead of vertically - if you're interested in the engineering behind that give it a Google!|
Victoria N. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior studying Commerce & Business at Rhodes College.
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.