Let’s face it: Taking trips is awesome – fantastic – fun! Planning trips, usually, is not awesome – fantastic – fun (maybe because you haven’t tried the right – if any – travel apps). When you picture digging your toes into Costa Rican beaches, do you also imagine all of the scrolling, clicking, asking, searching, web surfing, reserving, and paying it to you to get there?
Of course not.
And the truth is, you don’t need to. You can avoid the hassle of managing the minutiae (easily!) in two ways.
One: Book something all-inclusive. It’s typical of all-inclusive trips to cover everything but flights. “Everything,” meaning: Transportation to/from airports, lodging, guides, tours, sightseeing, meals, and more. That’s how we do it here at Discover Corps.
Two: Fire up your mobile device and download some of these life-changing travel apps! Okay, that may be a little dramatic-sounding, but it’s pretty accurate. Need to find directions? Want to find the actual best airfares (and get a push notification as soon as it comes up)? Need to have a translator in your pocket? Special dietary needs or wants? Last minute changes leave you needing a hotel room, same-day? Wanna see a map of a city that shows in pictures where neighborhoods and landmarks are? There’s an app for that. There are apps for all of that.
Just after the break, take a look at 10 travel apps that will make your life shockingly easy!
[bctt tweet=”Fire up your mobile device and download some of these life-changing travel apps!” username=”DiscoverCorps”]
TRAVEL APPS FOR PLANNING
Available on both Android and iOS, Hopper is one of a handful of travel apps that just “gets” it. Download this app to tap into a massive database of flights and prices, made easy. For as simple as this app looks, make no mistake – it’s robust. Not only can you watch flights and fares for specific dates and destinations, but you’ll also get advice on whether it’s worth it to book that trip right now (or if you should wait). When you have to wait (or should, at least), Hopper also tells you when it’s like going to be cheaper to buy and to fly. All of these updates come directly to your phone (and when you get exactly what you’re looking for, you can book right within the app).
Sometimes, crap happens. And whether crap happens to someone else or to you, Roomer can help. The travel apps arsenal gets interesting (and cheaper) with this room-finding app. When people have to cancel their rooms, they may end up on Roomer – saving you 30% – 80% in the process when you book them. On the other hand, if you’re the one with crummy luck, it doesn’t have to be a total loss. If you have to cancel a nonrefundable room, you can sell the reservation here! (iOS, Android)
Go browse through some travel apps. Did you happen upon – or go looking for – one that will actually help you pack? No? PackPoint will blow your mind. Download it, and let it do the work! From checking the weather forecast in your destination and the exact location(s) of your trip, PackPoint tries to consider all variables when making you a packing checklist. Bonus: Enter your upcoming activities (including business meetings, beach excursions, lounging at the pool, fancy dinners, etc) for additional items you should add to your packing list. (iOS, Android)
Perhaps you enjoy the convenience of travel apps but don’t want a bunch of them on your phone or tablet. Hipmunk can help with that. This all-in-one app covers both planning and booking. With a built in flight and hotel search engine that tracks normal info (prices especially), Hipmunk has incorporated an “agony index” for flights. Sounds funny, but this is a giant perk. You’ll know in advance how long your flights will be, how many stops, and if there are any other factors impacting your flight that you’re unaware of. Bonus: Heat maps! Yep – these will show you how far your hotel is from venues, shopping, dining, and entertainment. (iOS, Android)
No matter which travel apps you use to book your trip, TripCase is a one-stop organizer that couldn’t be easier to use. Once everything is booked (and you’ve signed up for a free TripCase account), simply forward your confirmation emails to TripCase. It’s really that easy. From there, it will organize everything for you – departure and arrival times, confirmation numbers, weathers, activities, flight delays and changes, you name it. Bonus: You can merge trips, use push notifications so you don’t miss anything, and it will automatically remind you to check in for your flight when the time comes. (iOS, Android)
TRAVEL APPS TO USE ONCE YOU TAKE OFF
We’re all too familiar with the takeoff time crunch. Yes, there are travel apps that can help with even that. Grab Grab (ha) and take a peek at airport restaurants, menus, locations (within the terminals), and – depending on restaurant – order ahead. Having this handy tool at the tap of a finger saves tons of time – a valuable asset when you only have a few minutes before boarding. (iOS, Android)
Flight delayed? Rental car broke down? Airbnb fell through? Don’t get stuck, get (a) Hotel Tonight. While there are many hotel booking options on the travel apps market, Hotel Tonight is slightly different in that it deals with last minute bookings. According to the company, they’re able to offer discounts through their hotel partners on empty rooms. Score for you when you have a last minute need! Bonus: 24/7 customer service, just in case. (iOS, Android)
[bctt tweet=”Flight delay? Rental car broke down? Airbnb fell through? Don’t get stuck, get (a) @HotelTonight” username=”DiscoverCorps”]
Okay, this may seem like a given. Let us explain. While Google Maps is largely known as one of the best navigation apps available, not all users are aware it works internationally. Not only does it work in myriad countries, the most simple (but intuitive) of travel apps is pretty reliable when it comes to finding local public transportation options, nearby landmarks and restaurants, and how busy each place may be. Bonus: If you look in advance, you can download your maps in advance so you can still use them when you have no internet connection. (iOS, Android)
Another potentially obvious choice? Google Translate. Honestly, it’s simple and it’s effective. If you’re planning to travel anywhere that you don’t speak the native language, this powerful little helper is at the ready. Translate words, phrases, and short sentences at the tap of a finger. Bonus: Translate text and signs you don’t understand with the visual translation features. (iOS, Android)
First thing’s first: Check to see if you’ll have wifi access in your destination. If so, and you’d like to be able to keep in touch with people, WhatsApp has you covered. It’s not *quite* like talking on your phone as normal, but it offers enough tools to be more than worthwhile. While this may not fall directly in the “travel apps” category, it does give you a way to skirt costly roaming rates. Send messages (instead of texts), pictures, and voice clips with ease. Or, better yet, hop right into a voice or video call with anyone else using the app! Bonus: Access the app from your computer, too! (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Mac or PC)
With the plethora of review, food, and travel apps, it’s not always so easy to find things that serve niche needs. Welcome to HappyCow. Download, open, tap, and find yourself immersed in vegan and vegetarian restaurants nearby. While this app doesn’t cover every location, it does boast almost 10,500 worldwide cities (major and obscure alike). Take a look at menu descriptions and user generated reviews here. (iOS, Android)
This, of course, is not an exhaustive list. There are many great travel apps out there – and more released every day! – to choose from. If these don’t fit your needs, simply log into your app store on your phone, or fire up Google, and search “travel apps” to start. You’ll be off to the races in no time, happy traveler!
What travel apps do you use most? Leave your favorites and recommendations in the comments below!