Traveling has always been a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of experience. You can plan, visualize and proceed cautiously, but nothing ever proceeds exactly the way you imagine.
While travel is still inherently filled with guessing and uncertainty, the age of apps has made the experience much more manageable. What used to be done in the moment can now be handled ahead of time, and what used to require footwork now just requires a few taps on a touch screen.
So how can you embrace the digital age of traveling simplicity? Read on for some of my favorite travel apps.
1. CityMapper – This app will tell you the best way to get to your final destination without having to rely on expensive cabs. This is perfect for people who want to save money, but are confused by public transportation. It will also let you book an Uber directly from the app, if that ends up being your best option.
2. HotelTonight – Having trouble with your Airbnb? Maybe your hostel ended up getting bedbugs? If you’re in a squeeze and need a place to stay, HotelTonight may be your savior. This app finds the best hotel deals right now and lets you book the hotel stay directly from the app. Need a room for tomorrow night too? Don’t worry, you can now book a hotel up to seven days out.
3. Hipmunk – Developed by one of the founders of Reddit, Hipmunk aggregates flights based on price and length. It allows you to set custom alerts so you can find the best time to book your particular flight and you can also set a departure city to find the best deals coming out of your particular area.
4. Airbnb – Once you have your destination, look for a place to stay using the Airbnb app. You can search based on your vacation time, amenities and reviews. Booking an apartment or house can be much cheaper than using a hotel, especially if you find one with a kitchen.
5. Hopper – Finding the best deal on a flight can seem like pure luck, but that’s where Hopper comes in. It tracks flight prices and alerts you when the lowest price is available. Unfortunately, this app is not available for Android yet, so only iPhone users can find the best deals.
6. WhatsApp – Staying in touch while you’re abroad has gotten much easier. WhatsApp allows you to communicate with friends and family back home without paying roaming charges or needing access to a data connection.
7. Uber – If you’ve been abroad lately, you know the Uber craze is not limited to just the states. Getting an Uber abroad can be much cheaper than hailing a cab and easier than navigating your way around a foreign subway system.
8. GasBuddy – If you’re taking a road trip, GasBuddy is your friend. Use the app to locate the cheapest gas station and estimate how much each trip will cost (the app asks you to input your car’s make and model, your starting location and your destination).
9. HostelWorld – Looking to get a really good deal on your accommodations? Try staying in a hostel. You can find your perfect choice using this app, where you can search for a bed in a private room or one with a dozen of your soon-to-be best friends.
10. Kayak – This site is famous for helping people score great deals on flights and hotels, but did you know they have an app? They can help figure out the best ways to save money, such as purchasing two one-way flights instead of one round trip flight.
Ultimately there are a plethora of options available to streamline your travel planning. Just make sure to download and use these apps in advance of leaving on any trips, so you know how they work before you’re stranded in Vienna one night. The more you can familiarize yourself with these apps, leverage them to save money, and to plan ahead, the better your trip will be.