It’s crazy how much travel has changed. I remember when I was a child my parents would go to a travel agent to help them plan our next family vacation. Whether it was a road trip with a thick map and guide book or a plane ride they wouldn’t dream of planning it on their own. Now with the internet and smart phones it is so much easier to just do it yourself.
My parents have grown so much as travelers, they went on a book as they go trip to Italy last April and in November did the same in London and Brussels. I downloaded my favorite apps for them before they left and they were able to look up walking/metro routes, find their hotel bookings and compare train schedules. ( I booked most of their hotels and then it popped up in their app but hey, baby steps) My point is, if they can do it, you can do it! Below are a few pictures they sent me from their trip to Italy last year via Whatsapp.
Here are some of the apps that I’ve found helpful while traveling.
Skyscanner– I love this app because you can quickly search for the cheapest airfares in a certain month, which is very helpful if you’re flexible in your planning! You can also set up automatic price alerts for your dates so you’ll never miss a deal
Hopper– Searches for the cheapest flight there is. If you see a flight that you like, just click ‘watch this trip’ and the bunny will let you know when it is the perfect time to book your flight! It also lets you book your flights in-app instead of sending you through a third-party booking website.
Your airline app– I fly most frequently with Delta, so I have the Delta app downloaded on my phone. It’s great for checking in, seeing a map of an unfamiliar airport and getting an alert if your gate has changed. The gate change alert is my favorite perk of this app, I’ve definitely done the Home Alone run through the terminal trying to get to my new gate before the doors closed.
Omio– I’ve mentioned this one before. It’s great. for looking up schedules for trains, buses and flights. It lets you compare prices and time traveled.
Rome2Rio– A flight attendant recommended this one. The app lists many options for travel, from the most convenient/shortest time to the longest routes. The best part is that it doesn’t just give you car or public transportation options, it gives every possible option including flights, buses and even ferries!
Moovit– Navigating public transportation while you’re traveling in a new city can be overwhelming. Moovit uses the local train, bus, and metro(subway) system to help you find the best route. Enter your destination and search by arrival or departure time. The suggested routes include the time it takes to walk to the first leg of your journey as well as any transfers you’ll need to make. There’s even a feature where it will alert you when to get off, or that your stop is coming up.
Maps.me – This is one of the most helpful apps you can have on your phone when traveling. There is nothing that Andrew hates more than looking like a tourist. So that means no paper maps or travel brochures being pulled out on the sidewalk, they stay nice and hidden back in our room. Maps.me allows you to have access to a map of wherever they are, including while offline (no wifi necessary, woohoo!). And since everyone is on their phones anyway, we don’t look so ‘touristy’. Once you download your area, you have the entire map at your disposal. You can zoom in to see detailed overview of streets and all the nearby points of interest, including stores, restaurants and attractions. You can also search for addresses and bookmark them for later use.
Places to Stay
Airbnb– We’ve been using this app/site since 2014 and it’s often so much cheaper than a hotel and you are staying in a unique place, not a cookie cutter hotel. We love that ‘living like a local’ feel and the neighborhoods that the rentals tend to be in. This is also a great choice if you are staying in a city for a few days because you can rent a place that has a kitchen and that means you can make some meals at home and save some money buy visiting the local market.
Booking.com– As much as we love Airbnb, booking.com has saved us on the occasion when our original rental didn’t work out. If you book through them often can you get genius perks and can offer discounts to friends/family. I also love the little city guides that come with your booking. If you want my discount code let me know!
Other Apps Worth Having
Whatsapp– Great for communicating when you’re far from home and don’t have cell service. It helps you stay connected with your family and friends, you can make them envious of your cool travels by sending pics of the Eiffel Tower or your Belgian Waffle and they also know that you’re safe. It uses phone contacts and you are able to do voice calls, video calls, text, image and video sharing to other people.
Netflix– Some places that we’ve stayed don’t have TVs and Andrew has to fall asleep to the TV, we all have our things, right? So we always bring his laptop with us and utilize Netflix. Sometimes the selection is different as well if you’re overseas which is kind of neat.
Spotify – Hands down our favorite music app. You can make and download any playlist ahead of time so that you can listen to them without cell service/wifi which is really great, especially for long train rides or road trips in the car.
Instagram– Did you even go on vacation if you didn’t post about it? I love instagram because I LOVE looking at pictures. It’s not only a wonderful way to share your adventure but I will use it to look up a restaurant/bar/cafe/shop to see if it looks like a place we should check out. I’m very visual in that way, I like to see things not just read about them.
That’s my list! I hope you find it useful. We’ll be back out traveling again soon 🙂 If you have any apps that I should check out let me know, I love anything that will make my life easier!