You need THESE mobile apps if you’re an expat in the UK

Having a smartphone with these relevant UK apps makes life as an expat so much easier. Here’s the apps I would recommend to have ready on your phone while living in the UK.

Still need to get a phone in the UK? Check out this first: How To Get A UK Phone


This is a third-party train ticket app which means they do charge a few pence transaction fee but honestly, I love the app so much that I don’t mind. I use this app every time I travel by the train, which is pretty option.

I have post that goes into the specifics of train travel, but the basic idea is:

  1. Buy your ticket (and make sure to use a UK railcard)
  2. Go to the station to collect it
  3. You’ll need your payment card and the special code that Trainline gives you and you plug that into the kiosk at the station
  4. It’ll print your tickets and you’re done!

I find Trainline to be extremely simple and convenient so it’s been my go-to train ticket app for years.

Local bus or train company

Once you know what bus or train services your part of the country, they should also have an app which can help with buying tickets, finding times and schedules.

For me, that’s Arriva for the buses and SouthEastern for the train (however I prefer to use Trainline).

For a long time, most of the buses outside of London were cash only which was an absolutely nightmare, but now a lot is done contactless or through their app with a tap/go system on the bus

London has been cashless for a LONG time which makes travel really simple.

Essential mobile apps for UK Living


For my part of the country, most parking lots are serviced by RingGo and you need to pay for parking through the app. It’s super simple and honestly so nice to not worry about having correct change all the time. You can also top-up your parking (or check how much time is remaining) through the app.

Definitely helpful if you’re driving and need to pay for parking!

If you’re not driving but you’re always getting rides from a friend or partner, also nice to have so you can pay for parking every once in awhile.

London-based transport apps

A few London-based apps I’d recommend for travel are:

I don’t live in London so I don’t need these personally but if you are going to be living there, these are some great resources for getting around the city.

Patient Access

My GP is registered through this service so I can see all my medical results but also my prescriptions and I can request a refill through this service. I don’t need it all the time, but definitely helpful.

If you still need to register with a UK doctor, make sure to check out this post: How To Get a Doctor in the UK. Thankfully it’s pretty straightforward but definitely important to do!


The weather in the UK changes a lot – a basic weather app is super helpful.

Mobile company (Three for me)

Whoever you end up getting your cellphone plan with, it’s helpful to also have their app. I use Three if you’re looking for one and haven’t had any issues. If you’re using a Prepaid Sim or a Pay As You Go system, you’ll need their app to top-up your phone when it runs out.

Credit Card App

It took forever to get approved for a credit card but when I did, I downloaded their app. Everything is done through the app – I can see my statements and I can pay it off through the app. I can also add my credit card to my iPhone wallet and pay for things through that.

Banking company (Lloyds for me)

Whoever you use for banking, you’ll want to get their app as well.

If you’re still trying to get a bank account, make sure to check out this post on how to get your first UK bank account

I only use online banking, either through the app or on my laptop, so I’ve never needed to go into the branch and can do everything online.

Meditation apps

Guess what? Moving to a foreign country is stressful! I would definitely recommend checking out various guided meditation apps like Headspace or Balance. Doesn’t really matter which app you choose in the end, just whatever works best for you.

Facetime (or Skype, Zoom for calling home)

Having the ability to call home and speak to friends and friends is pretty important. I personally use FaceTime since it’s so easy and free, but whatever program you like to use is good. I know some expats who prefer Zoom to have chats with family, but it’s totally up to you.


I’ve found that most communication or group chats tend to be on WhatsApp in the UK. Thankfully, it’s free and super easy to use.

I had never heard of it before until I moved here, but rather than texting someone directly I’ve found that most people use WhatsApp instead.

Friender & BumbleBFF

Making friends is hard as a foreigner abroad so don’t be afraid of trying out friend apps. Both of these options are similar in that you make a profile and can swipe yes or no on potential friends. You can also communicate through the app and hopefully make some lasting friendships!

Grocery store card

A lot of the grocery stores offer loyalty cards which are typically free and you can use them to accumulate points or earn rewards. If you’re going to use the same shop a lot, I would definitely sign up if you can.

For me, I have a Tesco ClubCard on my phone’s wallet, but I also have an app downloaded so I can see if there’s any deals or coupons I’ve accrued. I’ve saved so much money in the last few years for doing nothing other than scanning my Clubcard when I checkout!