Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Five Travel Apps You Need

Apps that made traveling easier.

Most travelers these days are equipped with at least one app-enabled device, whether it be a smartphone or a tablet. Not only can you take pictures with these devices, but they can also make it a piece of cake to quickly figure out all the logistics of traveling such as flights, accommodation, sightseeing, and dining. Because there are so many apps out there, though, you may feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to choosing which to use—and no one likes to have too many apps to flip through! 

Rather than leaving you to try out each app and decide which works for you, we’ve gone ahead and done the grunt work so that you can be prepared for a fun, fantastic, and frustration-free vacation. Here are my picks: 

The Flights App

Although most airlines have their own app that lets you search for flights, unless you’re loyal to a single airline, you aren’t going to want to have to go between a bunch of different apps to find the cheapest, most comfortable flight. Instead, grab an app like Skyscanner, which will allow you to search most available flights (including flights offered by many budget airlines), as well as different aggregate websites. 

You can also use Google Flights from you browser app. Sometimes you’ll find cheaper fares than you can using Skyscanner, and travelers who are just looking to just go anywhere will love using the map feature to see fares across a whole region or the world.

The Accommodation App

Which accommodation app you choose is going to depend on the type of travel you plan to do. If you’ll be staying in hostels, Hostelworld is a great app to have, as they often show the highest number of results and have a very active review community that will let you know detailed information about what the hostel is really like. Or if you’re looking for a more personal place to stay the night, Couchsurfing and AirBnB both have apps as well so you can find a good host on the fly. 
If you’re looking to stay in a hotel, most chain hotels have their own booking app, but you might also want to check out the slick Hotel Tonight app, which will help you find last-minute discounts on hotels in your area based on the type of room you’re looking for. 

The Sightseeing App

You have tons of apps to choose from for sightseeing, but if you’re looking for a good app that covers a lot of different places, you’ll probably want to go with an app like Lonely Planet’s TouristEye or TripAdvisor’s City Guides. They’ve got guides for a bunch of cities all over the world, and you can save itineraries to access offline, which makes them very convenient to use. 
It’s also often possible to find city-specific apps if you do a Google search for them. These will often include detailed information like transportation maps, itineraries, and more. Or if you’re taking an unplanned stroll around the city, make sure to grab Google Goggles—point your phone’s camera at a famous or interesting place and the app will come up with the Wikipedia page about that sight! 

The Food App

Searching for a decent restaurant in an unfamiliar city can be a chore, but it’s made easier if you can check out reviews on an app and find places in your area. Try Yelp or LocalEats for a good selection of options in your area. 

Not quite sure what you want to eat? Check out the Foodspotting app, where you’ll be able to see a map with pictures of different meals that other travelers have had at certain restaurants. Nothing helps you decide on a restaurant easier than seeing what is actually on offer! 

The Internet App

A VPN, or virtual proxy network, is essential when you’re travelling abroad. There are a couple reasons for this: whenever you’re connecting to a public network abroad, you’ll want to make sure you have a safe connection, and you also will often find that certain websites like Netflix, Hulu, and more are blocked abroad. Using a good VPN will keep your personal information safe and will also allow you to fake your location, giving you access to any of the sites you use back home. For help locating free WiFi hotspots abroad, check out the WiFi Finder app. 

Figuring out the details of your travels can take time, but it’s all made much easier by the availability of so many travel-related apps these days. To minimize frustration abroad, get your apps all set up prior to your departure—and don’t forget to make a travel playlist. From transportation and accommodation to sightseeing and dining, you’re guaranteed to find an app for that—and this will help you figure out the best options and the best local places so you can make sure you have the vacation of your dreams. 

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