Do you remember the days of printed itineraries and lugging bulky guidebooks in your bag?
I sure do. When I travelled to Europe in 2008, I had the Rick Steves’ “Europe Through The Backdoor” guidebook in my bag. My sister lugged the Lonely Planet Guidebook in hers.
All I can say is thank god for the internet!
While travelling recently, I decided to ‘test drive’ some new apps as well as some ‘oldies but goodies’. There were some I (still) loved, some new ones I’ll be using every time I travel and others which didn’t fare well at all and consequently didn’t make my list.
Here are my recommendations of the travel apps you need to download today!
This is THE app that keeps my travel itinerary organised. Without it, I would be lost. Literally and figuratively, lost.
There is a free version and a Pro version. If you travel a lot, I recommend investing the $49 a year for the Pro version. Yes, seriously. Otherwise, buy the $0.99 version with no ads.
Why do I love this app?
- First, you can forward all of your confirmation emails to TripIt. The app creates an Itinerary for you. It keeps all relevant information in one place. You can also:
- Sync your itinerary to your calendar.
- Share your plans via email or on social media (if you wish).
- Access the info OFFLINE. That’s right, you don’t need WiFi to access the info. (You do need WiFi for updates for the Pro version)
- Receive directions, costs and transit information with the integrated iPhone App Rome2Rio.
- And move plans from one trip to another. (Great when you are travelling full time!)
With the Pro version, you receive:
- Real-time flight alerts including gate information and changes.
- There’s a seat tracker which is handy if you are on the fence about asking for an upgrade.
- It provides a flight finder feature for when your flight gets canceled or delayed as well as refund notifications.
- And one feature I love: A point tracker to keep track of how many points you have with each airline, hotel etc. (Seriously the excel document just doesn’t cut it compared to this!)
So, check it out for yourself. A free trial of the Pro version is available if you want to try it.
Who doesn’t love TripAdvisor?!
3. Trail Wallet
Before Trail Wallet, I kept all travel receipts as we went. You can imagine my bag when we got home. Or rather, my travel journal. Now, I photograph the receipts and track the expenses with Trail Wallet.
It was super easy. I can’t tell you HOW easy it was. It even allows you to do multiple currencies. So, say you are going to England, France, Spain and have a stopover in the Middle East, you enter those currencies, when setting up the trip. When you enter, you tell it what currency you want.
If you travel and want to keep track of how your spending is going, or trying to stay on budget then this is the app for you.
When I’m not housesitting, I’m usually using AirBnb. This app is an awesome way to stay in touch with our hosts, get reminders and later, to provide reviews.
Airbnb has provided some really magnificent accommodations. Out of all of the stays we’ve had (52 at publication), there has been only one that wasn’t to the website’s expectations and what we dealt with wasn’t a big deal in the scheme of things. It was really down to an inadequate kitchen and not what was advertised.
Booking.com is where I book all of my hotel stays. I have looked elsewhere, tried a number of apps, but this is the app that works best. It’s clean, straight forward and it provides easy booking.
And, when I don’t have my phone available, I book online.
6. Gas Buddy
When on a road trip and trying to stay under budget, you want to know where the cheapest petrol is. Thankfully, Gas Buddy is available in a number of countries, the United States and Australia included.
I’ve used this app for years and, like some of the other apps mentioned, tried others. This is my go-to.