I suck at planning trips. Really. You may be wondering how that is possible, given that I travel so frequently or the fact that I work in the travel industry. But believe me, it is very possible. I am the queen of booking last-minute accommodations, and I’m basically always running late to the airport. But somehow everything always falls into place, despite myself and due entirely to the apps/platforms I keep on-hand for helping me to stay on track.
Here are my must-have apps/resources for planning your next trip:
Skyscanner is my go-to for getting an overall feel of the best options for flights, but there are a handful of other reasons that you should be checking the app/website, especially when you start planning a trip. If you already know the destination you want to visit, use the “chart” tab to sift through different dates and find the time frame that has the best cost. If you aren’t sure where you want to go, use the “everywhere” feature when searching for a flight. Skyscanner will list out options in order of price, allowing you to choose a destination based on the best airfare.
Another must-have app for finding a flight is Hitlist, a tool that allows you to easily browse travel deals from your home airport, plus helps you find the best time to book flights to your bucketlist destinations. When exploring destinations, Hitlist showcases the best prices to go somewhere, taking the guesswork out of when you should plan a trip. You can search for destinations based on location or time, meaning that you can find the best time of the year to go to Paris, or you can search for a timeframe and pick a destination (like searching for weekend getaways). My favorite feature is that you can build out your own hitlist for dream destinations, and Hitlist will alert you when it’s a good time to visit that place.
Ready to find a place to stay? Start with AllTheRooms, a one-stop shop for accommodations. ATR includes listings from sites like Hotels.com and Expedia, lists them next to options like Airbnb or Couchsurfing, and then includes additional options from sites you wouldn’t necessarily think to look. This means that you’re able to do one search to find the perfect place to stay, whether it’s a homestay or a hotel. You can refine your search to include all of the extra details that are the most important to you, like wifi or complimentary breakfast, and then toggle the budget options from there. I’ve found the perfect place to stay in less than 10 minutes on AllTheRooms.
And for all of my fellow procrastinators, Overnight is your best friend. The app is basically Airbnb on demand, which means that you can book a place to stay tonight, with a local. Overnight also has a great feature that allows you to see if you have Facebook friends in common with your host, which makes it that much easier to stay with a friend of a friend. And yes, I have definitely used Overnight while on the plane and have secured a space to stay by the time I land. Done and done. For those looking to book a hotel last minute, Hotel Tonight is your best bet.
Last but not least, you’ll need an app to keep everything organized and in one place while you’re traveling, and TripIt is a must-have. You can add everything from your hotel and flights to your day-to-day itinerary without having to use multiple apps. To make life even easier, sync your TripIt with your email, and any confirmations that come into your inbox will automatically be imported into an itinerary. You can also sync your calendar to the app to ensure that your trip does not overlap with any upcoming commitments. You can also add fellow travelers, or share with your family at home so they have all of your itinerary information. Remember to build out your profile so that you can easily store all of your frequent flier information in one easy-to-access location.
Did I miss any apps you love?