If you’re ever going to serve in California and reading this blog with hundred questions in your mind, close your eyes, take a deep breath and repeat after me; “We all have been there”.


First of all, Welcome to the Silicon Valley! ?

This is the land of cliff-lined beaches, redwood forest, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Central Valley farmland and the Mojave Desert. In this state, you will have all you’ve ever wanted. Be it Hollywood entertainment in LA or Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and cable cars in Hilly San Francisco.

If that’s not all and you’re a geek like me, hold your breath for a possible visit to all the leading tech companies in the world. You can get a chance to step into Facebook HQ, Google Campus, Apple’s infinite loop and what not.











While all of these things can be discussed later, what I am going to tell in this blog is all about some apps that made my life so easy the moment I landed here. I do not operate without technology, I have 100+ apps on my phone and I use them religiously. Let’s discuss a few of them to help you out.

Commute and Transport

I hate to burst this bubble for people, but if you’re coming to Silicon Valley and expecting metro stations right across your place, you’re wrong. Public transport is a major turn-off here because almost all people who live here drive a car. There is a public transport system in SF (BART), there are Caltrains, VTA buses but they’re still not as efficient as the subways and metros in other states of the U.S. Some apps that will help you ease this pain are:

Uber | Download Android | Download iOS

Lyft | Download Android | Download iOS

CalTrain | Download Android | Download iOS

EasyBART | Download iOS


Housing and Neighbourhood


Most of the people who plan to come here from other parts of the states get the shock the first they search for the place to live. Housing in all big cities of California including San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and Campbell is going to give a major dent in your pocket. You will be spending at least 60-70% of your stipend on just a private room. The process is cumbersome but these are some apps that made it easier for me.

CPlus for Craiglist  | Download Android | Download iOS

Craiglist website is a better option – www.craiglist.com

Zillow | Download Android | Download iOS

Trulia | Download Android | Download iOS

Next Door | Download Android | Download iOS


Social life and Meetups


If you ask me what is the best part about living here, I’d repeatedly say the social life and thoughtful meetups. Just in 1 month, my event score is through the roof. I’ve attended Toastmasters meetings, Saturday socials, Tuesday Drinks, Couchsurfing meetups, Hiking groups and many other tech conferences. All these new people I got connected with was only through apps, here are those.

Meetup | Download Android | Download iOS

Couchsurfing | Download Android | Download iOS

Facebook Local | Download Android | Download iOS

Yelp | Download Android | Download iOS

Outdoor and Adventures

Nature is my weakness. This is coming from a girl who was born in a metropolitan city with almost no trees and no mountains. For me, it was a dream place to live in and Atlas Corps made it possible. You will get a little of everything here. Mountains? Oh, they’re just so available and you can see them even while walking on the roads. Beaches? They’re beautiful. Hikes? There are so many that you will be confused as to where do I begin. Plan smartly and use these apps to find the best spots.

All Trails | Download Android | Download iOS

Geocaching | Download Android | Download iOS

That’s all. This small piece of writing will definitely help you plan your journey in a much better way. If you need to reach out for any advice, write to me at hira.saeed@atlascorps.org