I am attached to my phone. I’m one of those people with my face buried in my phone when I’m on a bus, in an airport, or even when I’m waiting for the light to change. Since I can’t get away from my phone, I try to make it work for me as much as possible. Below are some of my favorite apps and websites to use when I’m on the road, or planning for my next getaway.
By far, Google Flights is my favorite travel app. It’s not technically an “app” since it’s available through your Google account, but it’s by far one of the most useful tools I have at my disposal. I like to look at flight prices months in advance, because I feel like I get a better idea of what the price fluctuations will be when I finally buy my ticket.
I love Expedia, mostly for the discounts I get on hotels. I discovered I also like the “Reserve Now, Pay Later” option on some of the hotels offer on their listings. It’s convenient, and it makes things easier for those times when you’re departure date is not set in stone. The points program is nice too, especially for those weekend getaways or for any impromptu trips.
I use Yelp mostly to find food. I’ve known others who use it to find yoga classes or gyms on vacation, but I find it more useful for finding nearby restaurants or cafes (Viator is more useful for me when it comes to sightseeing or activities). When I travel, I don’t like to drive, so I need everything to be either within walking distance, or easy to get to by bus.
I started using Viator to plan my vacation activities when I went to San Francisco a few years ago, and I’ve been a faithful customer ever since. Viator makes looking for tours and activities, from bar crawls to cooking classes, much easier than a simple Google search. The prices are reasonable compared to other tourism companies, and sometimes you can find a better deal with Viator than you can on your own.
I’m a big fan of all Google apps. They’re convenient, easy-to-use, and compatible across multiple devices. One of the newest Google apps I’ve discovered is Google Trips. Whether you’re going on a long trip, or you’re planning a last-minute vacation, the app can help you organize your travel plans in one place. Besides arranging your reservations and itinerary, Google Trips can also offer suggestions for activities and sight-seeing.
Hotel Tonight can be a life saver if you find yourself in need of a last-minute hotel. My friend and I had to utilize the service once in Los Angeles during a holiday weekend. We ended up in a Motel 6, but we got a better rate for using the app than we would have if we booked on our own. Whether it’s for an impromptu weekend getaway, or a family emergency, Hotel Tonight can be a lifesaver.
Again, I know it’s technically not an “app” but…you can’t go wrong with Google navigation. Whether you’re on foot, in a car, or taking a bus, Google Maps can tell you how to get to your destination, and estimated travel time. Even in my home town, it’s a life saver when I’m not sure where I’m going. I dislike driving within city limits, so it’s a huge help when I’m on a road trip and navigating an unfamiliar city. When I don’t have to drive, I still use it to guide me, saving myself a lot of time and a lot of headaches.