These Apps Make Travel Planning Way Easier
Few things are more frustrating than realizing you could have saved major $$$ on your flight by waiting a few days to book (besides hitting traffic on the way to the airport). Enter: Hopper, an app that tells you exactly when you should buy flights for the best possible price. (Not sure where you want to go? These affordable wellness retreats won't break the bank.)
Booking a last-minute trip? You'll want to use HotelTonight to find accommodations. It'll give you the best deals on short-notice hotel stays in destinations all around the world. Even if you're booking farther in advance, the most popular destinations on the app can be booked up to 100 days ahead of time—still with some pretty sweet discounts. There are also location-based "geo rates" for certain hotels and cities, which means you might score extra savings simply based on where you're booking from. Boom.
There are quite a few ways Google's virtual assistant can help you plan a trip. First, you can ask it to help you track flight prices, which is pretty cool. Simply download the app and say, "Okay Google, how much are flights to Miami?" It will respond with the current price and give you the option to keep track of prices until you're ready to book. You can also ask it about the best time to visit a certain destination and whether or not you need a visa to visit a specific country. Plus, it can convert currency for you immediately, so you don't need to fumble around with your phone calculator trying to figure out if that souvenir is a good deal or not.
An extension for Google's Chrome browser, this helps track hotel prices—even after you've booked one—to ensure you're getting the best possible deal. According to Pruvo, hotel prices tend to drop 40 percent in the time after reservations are made. By using their app, your hotel reservation is automatically tracked. The app combs the web for better deals on your same hotel for the same dates you booked, and will notify you if it finds a lower price right up until your trip date. If it finds something better, cancel your reservation and rebook! The app doesn't take a cut of the savings, which means you really have nothing to lose by using the app. Of course, this only works with flexible hotel reservations. (No gym in your hotel? Try the ultimate hotel room workout.)
If you're going the home rental route instead of staying in a hotel, check out Holidu, an app that aggregates rental information from other sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway to help you find the best price and availability for your trip. Using their proprietary image technology, the app is able to find duplicate listings across rental sites to help you find the best deal. The founders realized how frustrating it can be to find the same rental on various sites for different prices and with different available dates, so they created this app to allow people get the most for their money.
Ready to get your hike on? This app helps you find running, walking, and hiking trails in pretty much every part of the globe. You can see reviews from others who have done a route already, plus filter by difficulty and distance. You can also download maps of hikes you want to complete ahead of time in case you don't have reception when you arrive. (Check out the 10 national parks you must visit before you die.)
This app has been around for a while, but it's the best digital travel organizer on the market. It takes all your bookings (flight, hotel, car rental, and more) and puts them in one place, so you don't have to keep searching your inbox to go over your itinerary. Plus, they keep acquiring new technology to enhance the app, like recent additions that allow you to find out how long the security wait is at a specific airport terminal and real-time weather updates that could potentially affect your travel schedule. There's a free version of the app, plus a paid version ($49/year) that allows you to get special perks, like seeing if there's a better seat available on your flight.
You probably already know about Airbnb Experiences, but you maybe haven't heard of EatWith, an app that lets you connect with a local host wherever you're traveling for an immersive food experience. Eating in a restaurant is great, but sometimes you want to experience local cuisine in a more hands-on way. Choose from cooking classes, food tours, or authentic dinners hosted in local homes in over 110 countries at a variety of price points.
If you *always* forget something important when you travel or you're not sure exactly what you'll need on your next trip, try PackPoint. Simply enter your destination, dates of travel, and the types of activities you'll be doing on your trip, and the app will generate a smart packing list for you. It costs $2.99, but it's totally worth it to be prepared for whatever comes your way. (Something else to add to your packing list? These lightweight workout tools that won't add bulk to your suitcase.)