I’m one of those people who get almost as much joy planning trips as I do taking them. I love researching and learning about possible destinations. Here are a few of the apps that make that process so enjoyable.
1. Tripadvisor – This is my go-to app. I use the forums and the destinations guides to get a sense of upcoming destinations. Tripadvisor has everything – travel guides, forums, places where you can search hotels and flights, detailed reviews, and more. I can usually find the answers to my questions in the forums. Before I book a hotel, I always check reviews on tripadvisor, and I often find my cheapest flights through this app. You can see why it is my go-to – I use it for everything.
2. Skyscanner – This has been a recent discovery, but I have found some great deals on flights. The app compares flight and hotel prices, often giving you the cheapest options. I used this app for my most recent flight purchase to South America. My multi-destination flight from Chicago to Bogota, and Lima back to Chicago was $510.00, much less than I was finding through other searches.
3. Flickr – Because I am a visual person, I love this app when I’m planning trips. If you’re not familiar with Flickr, it’s a website and app where photographer post their work. I love being able to see what makes a city unique. I’ve learned about neighborhoods I want to explore, towns I want to visit from this app. It’s often the first app I use, and I continue to bounce between it and travel guides as I make decisions about where to go next.
4.Airbnb – Airbnb, the app that lets you book rooms or apartments from locals, has changed the way I travel. It’s made expensive destinations affordable and allowed me to have a more local approach to my travels. I’ve used this app to rent rooms in Barcelona and Vienna, rent an apartment in Mumbai (from a Bollywood star, I later discovered), and rent a thatched-roof bungalow in Tulum. The best part about booking through Airbnb is that I’ve become friends with all of my hosts.
5. Duolingo – As often as I travel, I’m always embarrassed that I don’t fluently speak another language. The Duolingo app has been instrumental in my trip preparations. The app is like having a free language tutor on your phone. You work through the levels and are rewarded by ‘lingots.’ The best part is that you can connect with friends and motivate each other as you learn another language.
Here’s a bonus app – one that I haven’t actually tried, but one that I’m curious about. Entrain is an app that helps reduce jetlag before your trip by recommending a schedule for light and darkness exposure. I’ve read mixed reviews on the app, so I’m excited to try it out for myself. If you’ve used it, let me know what you think.
I hope you find these apps as helpful as I do.