I remember when it started to happen to me… I started getting tired before flying, airport security, planning, and everything else that has to happen before travel. I was getting exhausted speaking broken Mandarin and I was recognizing that so much of what I loved about travel was lost in all of the mess that came before and after. And then I found an app, one that helps non-native speakers as they travel Asia. Travel can be one of the most mind-expanding, rejuvenating, and (sometimes) frustrating events. But every year there are more and more tools for taking the hard part out of it. That’s what we’ve tried to round up below. These sites, apps, and gadgets are going to help you plan you trip, make back your money on last-minute cancellations, and even speak to people in other languages without a book. You can share you itinerary with family members, find the cheapest gas prices and even get cell service (kinda) in remote locations. These travel tools will bring the fun back into the planning process and even help you find a lounge to relax in while you’re stuck in a layover. Not only that but one of them helps you get through customs faster. What will they think of next? Turning your own home into a profitable Bed and Breakfast will you’re away? Nah. Well… we could only dream.
Unless you’ve been living inside of a cave, you know about AirBNB. But for those cave dwellers out there: Airbnb is a community marketplace that seeks to join individuals who rent their home or room to individuals looking for accommodations. This includes short-term rental, vacation rentals, hostels, and a room (or a couch) for a night. A “host” is someone whose home or part of home is used as a space for travellers. The Airbnb app is navigable and user-friendly. Communication notifications are an essential part of the user experience- keeping hosts and travelers informed. Writing a review adds tremendous value to a host and a guest. Guests’ star ratings are visible to hosts and vice versa. If you are looking for something out-of-the ordinary for your lodgings, give Airbnb a try.
In German Uber means “above” or “over” like the way we use “above and beyond.” When Uber launched it was actually called UberCab, but after a cease and desist the name was shortened to just Uber. Get it? Above and Beyond the cab experience. In general, this is what most of the users experience when deciding to “call and Uber-” something a lot more reliable than hailing a cab. To use this app, pinpoint your location, set a pick up point, and wait for Uber to connect you to nearby drivers. The app does a countdown and even shows you where you ride is in proximity so you know what to look for. Yes, you are getting in a car with a stranger, but the same can be said of a cab. Uber has pretty tight restrictions and has improved over time. If you’re hungry you could also call in your dinner with UberEats.
Have you ever just wanted to wave your magic wand and say “Abracadabra vacation you are now planned?” Well, you can. Although we are pretty sure that magic has a little something to do with Google’s massive database of information about… everything. This trip-planning app helps you navigate your way through a city, find the most popular destinations, and will even give you a mock itinerary of both half day and full day trips. You can make day plans, book reservations, find places to eat and drink, and save you trips. This app will also track your flight, car, and other reservations.
Have you ever gotten halfway there and found yourself in a sea of confusion? I’m talking of course about everyone’s favorite layover experience. All you want is to find the most decent bite you can find, grab a best seller, and a cold drink. LoungeBuddy is a great app to help you navigate your way to the lounge of over 500 airports worldwide. This app is the perfect bud for anyone who travels regularly and is willing to splash a little extra cash for some peace and quiet inside of an airport lounge. Who says your best friends have to be people?
When you’re out road tripping every cent you save on gas means a little extra you can do in your next destination. But we all know that gas price fluctuation has as much to do about the attendant as it does the supply of fuel. Find the cheapest gas prices with your GasBuddy. GasBuddy includes a “heat map” showing you where in the country you can expect to pay more for gas and also has a trip cost calculator-helping you determine the cost of gas for you trip before you step on the peddle. So pack up the car and stress about one less thing with this extremely handy companion.
If I understood the stock market I might say that the app Hopper is like your most savvy stock market buddy who is telling you when to buy and sell, but since I know nothing about the stock market, I won’t make that analogy. I will say that through a series of some pretty incredibly powerful algorithms, Hopper lets you know when to go ahead and click purchase and when to wait. This little rabbit is so smart and fast he/she will even notify you in advance when it’s time to buy. You can score a steep discount thanks to Hopper. There’s even a handy color-coded calendar if you’re like me and enjoy visual touches. Lately, Hopper has been trying to help you book your hotel in New York. That’s one busy little bunny.
Hipmunk is a comprehensive travel search engine companion. Hipmunk helps travel cheaply whether searching for commercial flights, charter flights, trains or more. You will also get some assistance booking hotels and vacation rentals through Airbnb. How does is work? AI-powered bots! Woo hoo! Thank you AI-bots, we would be paying about 40% more for travel it it weren’t for you. Visually, Hipmunk is clear and fun to navigate.
You’re about to land and you can feel it- you’re nearly home. That international flight was brutal and that baby really didn’t stop screaming for the entire 18 hour flight. Poor baby! You’re a big adult, though but can you brave customs? Yeah, we thought you might start crying too. It’s okay, Mobile Passport makes getting through customs a breeze. This app does not replace an actual passport, but it is approved by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and currently usable in 24 airports. Simply set up your profile, answer a few brief questions, submit to CBP, wait for your barcode and head to the short line for “Mobile Passport Control” and voila. You’re back to grilling hotdogs and baking chocolate chip cookies. I mean eating steak and drinking Malbec. Afterall, you’re no baby!
CityMapper is a very green app. And we don’t mean ecologically friendly, we mean the color green. There are even some cool characters that look like a cross between the dumb ways to die characters and the Little Miss Characters. Your little green penguin mutants will help you find your way around cool cities like Barcelona, Chicago, and Berlin. We like the color green and cartoons, but we’re not sure we like them as much as we like looking at maps. Which is what we LOVE about CityMapper. CityMapper turns you into a public transportation whiz kid. You can take the Tube, bus, and rent a bike all in one trip thanks to CityMapper. Your friend will be amazed upon landing in Milan that regardless of the Metro strike you’ll find your way to a sweet gelato joint anyway. After using the app a few times you can even save your destinations and give them fun names.
Put it on the company card! Your friends love it when you’re visiting on business because they think that means brunch is always on your company card. You haven’t had the heat to tell them that this is unethical so you just pay for it out of your pocket. Have you ever wanted to passive aggressively put this to a stop? Now you can, with Expensify. Expensify tallies up every necessary expenditure so that a.) you can show your friends that free brunch isn’t cool and b.) whatever you do ethically spend during your business trip gets reimbursed. If you’re like me and lose receipts almost the instant they’re handed to you, get this app.
If you are planning on heading somewhere where you could potentially be stranded without service, you may want to purchase a goTenna. You will need someone who is not also stranded with you to have a goTenna as well. The goTenna is really for the remote traveller who could be in danger. You can send a text message with your location. Be sure to have your bluetooth activated and ask the person with the other goTenna to do the same. Who knows this device could save a life. So, if you’re travelling to remote locations take a gander at goTenna.
PixelBuds are Google’s answer to Airpods. These wireless earbuds will help you speak in French when your in France and Mandarin when you’re in China. You can also listen to music and everything else just like regular earbuds. There’s even a little wire around them you can slide around your ear so the earbuds don’t fall out- what a relief, right? No, this is not a seamless conversation from one language to another and it’s not like having C3 P0 walking around with you- sadly. But this is a step in the direction of world communication,and for just $159. That’s not bad considering the time and cost of Rosetta Stone.
There are so downsides to getting a discount that sometimes you wonder if the discount was actually worth it. What do I mean by downsides? I mean hidden fees, paying for checked baggage, and zero cancellation policies. Roomer wants to help with that last one. Roomer is a service that allows you to buy and sell unwanted and non-refundable hotel reservations. According to the managing director, the average discount is about 45%. The app does all of the rest of the work for you making sure that the booking name and credit card names are switched. So, if you ever have a change of plans and can’t do without the cash try Roomer.
Roadtrippers is a travel-lovers dream come true. Have you ever been on the road only to pass several signs that say something vague about exploring a cave or an historic waterway and thought to yourself… wish I knew about that an hour ago? Essentially Roadtripper solves that problem and so much more- as you know roadtripping still requires a level of refined savvy. Taking an extraordinarily long trip in a car is the American way. You need only to shout “Roadtrip!” and everyone immediately stops what they’re doing to join you. Well, at least that was what we did in the 90s. Still, as a family you will love this app and you will rapidly become the most in-the-know person about America- know where all of the niche hiking trails are, waterfalls, and finally explore that cave! Roadtripper helps you avoid tourist traps which leads to less monotony and much more adventure. You can even save destinations you love and share them with your coolest friends.
Flytalker Forums are old school. Well, in the sense that it’s a forum and done virtually by word-of-mouth. This mouthpiece app is for travel enthusiasts who will have insights into last-minute deals- deals that not everybody can know about. It’s like being part of a secret travel society, and it’s kind of addicting too. Before you know if you’ll be the travel aficionado sharing all of your flight insights. If you pine for community forums over chatbots, Flytalker Forums is a cool option.
Momondo is a trip planner app that searches billions of sources and compares prices rapidly. These are some powerful algorithms and will help you secure steep discounts. The look of this app got an upgrade and now it is color gradient to the max. You seamlessly swipe between cheap flight comparison, hotel comparison and your profile. There are more filter available as well to help you hone in on your search if you need to be specific. This is great for flight attendants who may be required to fly with a specific airline to get their discount. For those who are a bit more flexible you can use Momondo’s Price Calendar and Timetable. If you just love this app, Momondo also offers city-specific apps.
We are so excited about Skiplagged, and could hardly wait to tell you about it. With Skiplagged you can pretend that you’re a spy. Or you can just be yourself and use the app. Either way is cool by us. Here’s how it works… you exit at the middle. I know, it sounds like a riddle from The Hobbit, but it’s true. Book a flight to say Orlando and get off in New Orleans instead. The flight will carry on to Orlando but you won’t be on it. In this case, New Orleans is considered “the hidden city” in the flight. Great right? Often times the inbetweener city is a smaller airport and more expensive to get direct flights to. That’s how you save. That and a giant algorithm of course. We love the idea of hidden city’s so much we can’t wait for other hidden destination apps to evolve. Like hidden hot air balloon destination apps. Just bring your parachute if you want to get off before the trip is over!
3.) Secret Flying
Have you ever just wanted to move the decimal point over one digit to get a flight to Paris, France instead of Paris, Ohio! Thrifty Nomads helps you by doing pretty much exactly that. You will find that human error regardless of all of these handy tech devices still happens. The instance in this article is that of a $15,000 flight turning into a $1,500 flight. It can happen. And when you find that human error just know that it was meant to be. Secret Flying is a great sight to help you sniff out human errors and snatch up great discounts. See, aren’t you glad you got all the way to number three?
You have heard about Kayak but did you know about the “Hacker-Fare” option? Kayak wants to help you access more options when it comes to affordable airfare and does so through their Hacker-Fare feature. This feature offers up two one-way flight that get you to and from your destination anyway. What this means on some occasions is that you will have to change carriers and recheck your bag. Be sure to check for hidden costs of each carrier before clicking “purchase.”
If whimsy and spontaneity are in your heart, then you will love skyscanner. Though skyscanner is not as much about where you go and when you go but what amazing deals you can find. Skyscanner acts like a fare-reduction deity of sorts-scanning the globe for the cheapest flights. You can keep everything open or hone your search to list specific times and destinations. So it works just fine for individuals who are simply trying to find the best airfare. When you’re not travelling and just dreaming of travelling it can get a little addicting. Finding that perfect fare for an incredible destination does feel a little like hitting the jackpot.