Planning a trip can be either an enjoyable experience or a big pain in the butt. To those special few that love all the research, deal hunting, rewards gathering and number crunching involved in planning a vacation that won’t break the bank, take a bow. You’ve given a whole new meaning to the word “master planner”.
But to those of you who don’t have the luxury of time, the research skills to find the best deals or are just plain busy (or lazy!) to handle everything, there are apps that can help you plan your next vacay. But since this is a budgeting blog, all the apps listed here will help you plan your next trip on a budget and even help you some when you get to your destination. Ready to do some planning? Let’s go!
- Skyscanner – If you want to book the cheapest flights, Skyscanner can help you. This app is essential for the budget traveler because it lets you “scan” for and compare flight times and prices for every airline, across all destinations. It covers thousands of airlines from around the world, and now it even comes with a hotel and rent-a-car feature, where the app lets you find the cheapest rooms and rides. There are better apps for the last two features though, so stick with what the app is good for: scanning the skies for cheap flights. Available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
- Hipmunk – Speaking of other apps, here’s another nifty little app that can help you locate flights, but adds more info on the so called “deals” by rating flights by comfort, time and ease. This gives users the nitty gritty about layovers, travel time and the hidden costs that airlines try to keep secret. But the app’s winning feature is the ability to compare hotel prices with alternative lodging options such as Airbnb and HomeAway. This will take the guesswork out of which is really the cheaper option. Available for iOS and Android.
- TripAdvisor, Instagram – TripAdvisor is a crowdsourced app that has millions of users from across the globe. You can search for listings of where to go, where to stay, where to dine and what to do in almost every location around the world based on user feedback. Being crowdsourced has it’s advantages and disadvantages however, so always cross check the information you get from other travel websites. You can also use Instagram, where many members post their travels and give advice on the super cool things you can do once you’re there. Both apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
When you Arrive
- Uber, GrabCar, GrabTaxi – The most annoying part of any vacation is transportation from the airport to where you’re staying. Thank God for Uber! Uber lets you find a ride in minutes, in any major city you’re in (unless they have an issue with the local transport groups that is). From a luxury SUV to a taxi, Uber has you covered. When you’re in Asia, you can try GrabCar or GrabTaxi. They’re like the Asian version of Uber. Same deal here. Choose from a private vehicle or a cab to take you where you need to go. Uber is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Add Blackberry plus the other two platforms for GrabCab.
- Google Translate – Don’t leave your house without downloading this app! Google Translate can help you read menus, road signs and even ask locals how to get to the best attractions. The app has a vast database of 90 languages and it can smoothly translate for you using your voice, the camera or through typing. The best part? You don’t even need an internet connection to translate! Just download whatever language packs you need for your trip and you can translate offline. With Word Lens incorporated, just point your smartphone to whatever text you want translated and viola! Instant translation. Try it on www.textualis.com. Choose the French language option and use your camera to translate. Available for iOS and Android.
- Google Maps, Here Maps or Mapquest so you won’t get lost.
- Localeur is like TripAdvisor, but with more of a local flair. Written by true-blue locals.
- Tripit lets you consolidate all your travel plans into one itinerary.
- Toshl Finance lets you keep track of your expenses for free.
- XE Currency gives you real time exchange rates.
- PackPoint is a travel packing wizard that calculates the number of clothes and other important stuff you need to bring.
- Airbnb for a more detailed view of the place you want to book.
There you have it folks! Apps that can make planning a vacation on a budget a somewhat easier and more enjoyable affair. If you have any suggestions on more budget saving travel apps, let us know!
Posted by Sabado Domingo