Traveling can be stressful and with the holidays coming up I bet a lot of you will be traveling to spend time with loved ones. Between booking the trip and then the actual traveling, it can sometimes feel overwhelming, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorite travel apps that I could never live without. From the first stages of planning my trip to getting to my final destination, I use all of these and would be totally lost without them.
TripIt: TripIt gets first on the list because I would probably miss half of my flights if I didn’t have it. You can read my more in-depth thoughts on it here. Whenever you book something, whether it’s a flight, a hotel, a train or even a theater ticket, all you have to do is forward it to TripIt and it will add it to your account under a specific trip. It can add all of the details from the email and can combine multiple aspects for one trip into one easy section. No more fumbling around for your record locator and no more panic attacks over not remembering the time your fight departs and not being able to find the email. The service is free, but you can also pay for TripIt Pro, which will send you updates about your flight, gate, delays, cancellations and more and it can also offer you alternate flights if a flight is canceled or delayed. You can read more about TripIt Pro here, and it’s only $49 a year.
Kayak: When it comes to booking flights there are so many different booking sites out there it’s hard to know where to even begin. Kayak is my personal favorite for a few reasons. Unlike specific booking sites, Kayak will pull up the prices across dozens of airline and booking sites and puts them all into one easy-to-access place. When you search for flights on Kayak, you can also tick some boxes to search Priceline, Expedia and CheapOair as well, so if you’re looking for more options this automatically cuts your time spent on various sites in half. There is also an option on Kayak to include nearby airports to what you’ve put in, so for example if you’re searching for flights out of JFK, it will also bring up LaGuardia and Newark flights as well to easily compare prices. If you don’t have set dates for your trip yet you can select the flexible date option and it will show you the dates surrounding the one you picked to help you find the cheapest option. Finally, I find Kayak is the most reliable in actual prices airlines and booking sites charge, it sometimes includes budget airlines (where a lot of booking sites don’t), and it’s even begun to allow you to book through it’s own site.
Orbitz: Like Kayak, Orbitz will search for the cheapest flight, but I like it because when you book through it, they will give you Orbucks, which you can then redeem for future bookings. It isn’t much, but if you’re going to book through them anyway, at least you can get something back to use later.
Hotel Tonight: I’ve been following Hotel Tonight since it came out and it’s improved a lot since the beginning. The purpose of Hotel Tonight is to get great deals when booking hotels last minute. Its flaw when it started was that it only let you search and book hotels within 24 hours, and I found very few circumstances where this would actually be super useful. Now you can look at dates up to seven days out, which is far more useful for the vast majority of people. They do tend to have better last-minute deals than other booking sites so if you ever find yourself in a pinch, checking this app is a must.
TripAdvisor: Obviously TripAdvisor is a website as well, but if you’re on the go this app is beyond useful. If I’m looking for reviews for anything from a hotel or restaurant to an attraction, TripAdvisor is my first stop. There have been countless times I’ve been sitting somewhere with free WiFi in a foreign country trying to look up reviews for something on the TripAdvisor app; it’s one of the most widely used reviewing sites so no matter what you’re looking for I almost guarantee it’ll be on there.
Google Maps: This might sound like a dumb suggestion, but something a lot of people don’t know is that you can actually save maps of cities offline for use when you have no data or WiFi. All you have to do is go to the city you want and scroll about a bit to load it, then go to the menu and select “save offline.” I can’t even tell you how many times this has saved me from wandering aimlessly through a city wondering where the heck I am.
These are my personal favorite travel apps, but other notable ones are Airbnb, Dropbox (you can save these documents offline as well), Uber and Google Translate. These apps keep my life in order and whether you’re traveling 20 times a year or just one, these apps offer something for everyone. What are some travel apps you guys can’t live without?