Travel-obsessed but broke? Travel apps you need to Make Your Travel Dreams into Real Life
In the words of everyone ever, “There’s an app for that.” And in a world that’s more globalized than it’s ever been, the same applies to apps related to traveling. We all can relate, taking a trip is freaking exciting… and one of the few things that gets you out of bed in the morning to squeeze your peach into a suffocating pencil skirt and show up at a job that has you drooling at your desk by 3pm. But then you remember, you’re there for that PAYCHECK to treat yo’self to a lil trip over to Cabo. Or Iceland. Or Bali. Or whatever other Insta-gasm trendy af place will suck your bank account dry.
But let’s also be honest by mentioning that the ~transportation~ parts of battling the planes/trains/automobiles madness that we kind of don’t need or want ever. I’m not one to vent, so I won’t, except to briefly mention that being trapped on a flying metal tube alongside someone else’s ghastly brand of B.O. for several hours is more than anybody bargained for… that and the fact that simple faux pas like losing your passport, phone, or wallet not only ruins your trip but an indefinite number of hours and days...yeah...a lot can go wrong when you’re en route to a highly-desired, albeit far away, destination.
Without further ado, here are 8 applications for your (hopefully) smartphone to subtract the headache out of what should be/could be/MUST be a more enjoyable experience - the means by which you reach that exciting and fabulous destination.
Hello, flight steals. I’ve used this app a few times now for booking international flights and it is absolutely my jam, people. I just booked a round-trip flight to Paris for $450. Visually-oriented as I am, I’m loving their user-friendly, color-coded platform. The flight calendar is flagged in red, yellow, and green to reflect price range by the date, with red to ward off visitors from booking on pricier dates, and green for cost-friendly ones.
User tip: Cheap flights are great, but some come with a price. Beware of fine print warning of extra baggage fees, or no-refund cancellation policies.
You can search yourself into a dizzying frenzy looking at all the fantastic housing options listed on Air BnB. I’ve stayed in three now and they really do run the gamut, so rest assured that there is genuinely something for everyone on this app. Be it your thirty bucks a night trailer park (user tip: read the fine print, people), or your marbled bathtub and California king bed with a view, explore your options, book ahead of time, and research for dates that tend to be less expensive.
They’re most renowned for their accommodation feature, but did you know that Airbnb offers experiences, too? From cooking classes to photo shoots to private tours, this feature is one that you must not sleep on. Hosts have thorough bios and reviews, so you can make a completely educated decision before you commit. Book a photoshoot in the city you’ll be visiting for quality photos to take home - the best hassle-free souvenir anywhere you go - or a locals-only foodie tour for a steal.
The less-talked about, lowe-key hot cousin of Airbnb. Same user-friendly format, with pictures, rating, and description in plain view as your scroll. Several homes are listed on multiple platforms, so expect to find repeats. But Hopping among multiple options heightens your chances of finding a good deal.
Think Airbnb for cars. I’ve used this twice now and will absolutely continue with it. Far easier and more cost-efficient than going through a rental company, which will reliably nickel and dime you with fee after aggravating fee. Owners can rent out their cars, show availability, vehicular features, flat rates and cost per mile, and ratings from past users. This summer when I visited Colorado, of course I had to find a prime spot to go hiking. So for extra fun, I rented a bright yellow mustang for two days and it was a b-l-a-s-t to drive. I had a ride to my mountain of choice and a bit of added independence for getting around the city while my friends were working.
Excellent for quick look-ups if you’re blanking on a word, or don’t know a lick of the language at all.
Quick, easy, and color-coded units converter. No time to bitch about the fact that the US is now the only industrialized country that does not use the metric system (who’s bitter? I’m not bitter…). You need to know how much is in your coffee, like right now! Units Plus tidily separates everything that can possibly be measured into neat little categories - perhaps most useful of all, their currency converter.
Never underestimate the trusty compass. For those whose phone plans may limit their cellular data use, compass requires no pesky WiFi or data.
Traveler tip: to avoid unwanted attention as a tourist, avoid scrutinizing a map when in public. Instead, duck into a shop for privacy, examine your route there, and then pop back out when you’re ready.
User tip: Be sure to determine how far away you’ll have to factor the car’s drop-off point or drop-off vicinity before you book.The travel expenses to get there and back can be a pain.
The trick to successfully Groupon-ing is to plan ahead. If you can find great deals for activities available on the app, you’ll find that booking them in advance is rewarding for two reasons: you’re guaranteed a spot before they sell out, you’ve scored a steal, and everyone benefits from not being a s***head and procrastinating everything they’ve ever done.
Finally, do some research on the best apps to use for your destination. There may be some that are available only in certain areas, so take the time to plan ahead. With the convenience, time and money saved, and peace of mind, it’s an easy investment to enjoy yourself on vacation!
Any apps you’d swear by? Leave a comment below and share the best ones you’ve used!
Cover image via Vagrants of the World