We know this is a given, but seriously, you need it. While you may still cling to iMessage, Facebook and WhatsApp to keep in touch with family and friends back at home, WeChat will be your primary source of contact with your new friends and colleagues here. From paying your phone bills and electricity to ordering cookies for next-day delivery, this app is will simply make your life easier.
You may have used it back home, and guess what – it’s here in Shanghai too. While you may have thought it was just a bit easier back at home than ordering cabs, this will make a huge difference in getting around Shanghai. The only catch is you need to have some basic knowledge of pinyin and Chinese characters. Worse comes to worse, memorize your home address in Chinese characters or have a friend input frequently used addresses into the app for you and save them for future use.
Speaking of language barriers, newbies may find learning the Chinese language to be a daunting task. For those times when you really need to tell the Avocado Lady you need limai (quinoa) but can’t for the life of you remember the word, open this handy app, type in the English word, and the Chinese word pops up in pinyin. It can’t translate full sentences, but it’s easier than using Google Translate since a VPN is not required.
Our sister publication That’s Shanghai has just recently launched its brand new app (shameless plug). But in all seriousness, it’s a one-stop shop for all things Shanghai, including articles, events and, most importantly, listings. Need to get to M on the Bund but have absolutely no idea how to get there? Type in the venue name into this app and metro map with your quickest route will pop up, or better yet, you can show the address in Chinese characters to your Uber or taxi driver. Smooth sailing!
5. Air Quality
Unfortunately one of the downfalls of living in China is that you’ve got to be aware of the outdoor air quality. This handy app will tell you the Air Quality Index (AQI) and whether or not it is suitable for outdoor activities. It even tells you when to stick that facemask on. Get used to it though, because along with the weather you’ll be checking the AQI every morning when you wake up.
6. Bon App!
If you are a foodie then you’ll surely love this app. It’s great for any new city that you find yourself in, especially Shanghai – a city where eating and drinking never stops. Find restaurants close to you or search by the cuisine you are craving. You can also check out user reviews to see what others think of the place before you spend your hard-earned cash there. There are also some good deals on the app too!
This app will help you make friends – and fast. Also a website, Meetup is an online community with an endless amount of groups to join. Whether you are pregnant, a new mom, or a ‘hot mom’ (as one group puts it) you can find a group for you to join. Subscribe to your favorites and make a calendar with lunches and weekend socials to hit up. You and your family will be making friends sooner rather than later.
Now that you are in China you can say goodbye to Pandora, YouTube and 8tracks. As an alternative to these popular apps, check out QQMusic. The only downfall is that the menus are in Chinese, but never fear, it is easy to catch on since all the English song titles are still in the same language. Have a Chinese friend help you out with getting acquainted with the app and you’ll be listening to Adele and Beyonce in no time.
We’ve all had those nights when the kids were groggy and homework was an excruciating task to get through. After the kids go to bed, all we can think about is having a glass of wine. For those of you who may not keep the house stocked at all times, BottlesXO will be your savior for those last minute drinking needs. They will deliver bottles of wine to your door within an hour of ordering. Can we get an Amen?