Tripit is my newest favorite app. I love this one so much. I wrote an article on why it’s so great. Tripit will instantly create a master itinerary for each of your trips that you can access anytime, anywhere. I know some will say they use Google Trips, but I have not used this yet – well not extensively. What I really about like about Tripit is you can forward any reservation from any source to the tool, and it plots it accordingly. If you’ve used both Google Trips and Tripit, I would love to hear what you think is best and why.
Like Kayak, Skyscanner will show you prices globally using “everywhere” in the “to” box. It lets you search vague dates and will even suggest the cheapest month to fly. I’ve found Skyscanner to be beyond reliable regarding price. They have a robust multi-city tool that enables you to search the best deal without sticking to one carrier. Additionally, Skyscanner allows you to create Price Alerts for a specific route. Typically, I use a combination of Kayak, Skyscanner, and Google Flights to nail down the best prices or the best routes. I often purchase through Skyscanner.
Slightly obvious, but some travelers don’t realize that Uber is available in more than 600 countries globally. If you have access to Wi-Fi, Uber is often cheaper than cabs. A handy app to have, and I use it everywhere.
A relatively new favorite of mine. We used Parking Panda in Washington DC this June. You all know how difficult it is to secure a parking spot in a vast city. Well, imagine getting one next to the White House for less than $30 for 6 hours – covered secure parking might I add. It took all the headache of where we will park and at what rate away. Most of the parking offered has exclusive discounts. I was beyond impressed with our experience. Plus, it’s paperless – book, pay, show barcode.
Some people think it’s dead now that the “name your price” feature is not the hot way to book. I love Priceline; it’s consistently the best global aggregator of rental cars. Not only is this my first stop when looking for a rental car, 95% of the time it’s who I use to book the rental car. I’ve used Priceline for years. I never had any issues with a reservation and always got the best deal.
I’m a longtime fan of Travelzoo. I not only book through them, but I subscribe to their Top 20 List. Travelzoo’s Top 20 is my favorite email each week. It’s a good pulse on prices across the globe, and you can score killer deals because they often bundle things. They do all the work tracking down the best deals, and often their deals waive all fees. For example, you can typically avoid that pesky “resort fee”if you book a deal through Travelzoo.
I’ve been using Kayak for years. I use it to compare prices and study price trends. You can set notifications on specific routes or use the Explore World feature to view flight prices from your home location. Very handy if you are looking for ideas or want to know what’s attainable. I don’t always book from a Kayak referral, but I still use it to study prices. One other unique thing is Kayak will give you advice on costs, see Our Advicein the top left corner. They predict if prices will remain the same, go up or go down, then tell you if they think you should buy now or wait. It’s worth it for this feature alone.
Consider this the granddaddy of second opinions. Use it to compare airfare of when you need round-trip, one-way, or multi-city flights. Like Kayak, Google Flights offers an Explore Map to view flight prices from your home location. The Travel Trends tool allows you to choose the dates when you will be traveling to see historical flight price trends and the latest hotel deals. Google Flights also picks up your location and makes recommendations based on where you are.
TripAdvisor is well-known and beloved by many. It’s a crowd-sourced guide to attractions, hotels, and food worldwide with real people reviews. It offers real user photos vs. the professional one’s companies use. I love TripAdvisor for an alternative view of what I am seeing and reading. Further, I like that it holds business accountable yet allows them to respond to criticism. All though, I will point out that I often find reviews to be a tad harsh. The hotel only gave me four towels = one dot. Or, I asked for (not paid for) a suite = one dot. Outside of the Negative Nelly crowd, I like this app to hear all sides of the experience.
We are all addicted to Wi-Fi, nothing new here. However, sometimes it can be a royal pain in the ass to find it. I wish I had this app on us in New Zealand as it took us an hour to find Wi-Fi to get in touch with a host that stood us up. Downloadable for offline use, this app offers a wealth of free Wi-Fi networks across the globe, allowing you to get connected quickly.
Assuming you have Wi-Fi, this is the greatest phone app out there. Send messages, photos, voice clips, and even full voice and video calls to friends and family members who use the app. I disconnected my house phone, which was through Vonage given the service of WhatsApp – that’s how great it is. I can now talk to all my peeps in the UK directly over WhatsApp. We use this religiously when traveling to check in with the family.
I’ve written an article about Airbnb. There seems to be a variety of pros and cons and various prospectives. I think it’s a fabulous tool if you use it for renting the entire place. You can’t beat scoring a whole house or apartment to yourself when on vacation.
Everyone needs a currency converter, and this one is the most popular. The app supports just about every national currency used worldwide. It even stores the rates of currencies you’ve looked up so that they’re always available offline.
This app brings predictive algorithms to the world of air travel. Like Kayak, it uses historical trends to predict when prices to a destination are likely to be lowest when they’re likely to change, and the best time to buy a ticket for a date and destination. I’ve only just started using this one, so I can’t say if it will make it a part of my standard research practice or not yet. But I am enjoying using it to see if it lives up to the claims.
Mobile Passport would be on my list, but it only supports the USA and Canadian passports, and I travel on a British passport!
I would love to hear from you. What are your favorite apps, and why?
Comment and let us know your tip and tricks you use when booking travel or when on the road.
Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job, how to travel without breaking the bank, hotels, cruising, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles per year and has visited 54 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com.