I have a full 6 swipes of iPhone apps in my Travel folder (for all of you Android users out there – this means 9 apps per swipe, meaning a total of 54 travel related apps). Airline apps, hotel apps, booking apps, ride-share apps, travel lifestyle apps, metro map apps – if there’s a travel app chances are I have it!
But, do all of those apps actually offer anything of value?
Ehh, sometimes… if you pick the right apps!
Since phone memory is not infinite… we just need to determine which apps are worth the MB storage!?
For my purposes, airline and hotel apps provide obvious value, as they link directly to my rewards account and provide access to mobile boarding passes and early hotel check-ins! If you travel frequently with a specific airline or hotel chain then downloading the associated apps is a no-brainer.
Outside of my airline and hotel apps – 15 in total – many of my other travel apps lay dormant for months on end… So, with the summer travel season upon us, I tasked myself with sifting through my travel app folder to identify the “hidden gems” of travel related apps which I think can benefit you too!
Unholster your mobile devices and follow me!
First… Ride-share Apps
An alternative to taxi cabs! One of the first things I do when travelling to a new city is check to see if ride-share companies operate there. Ride-sharing is simple, and that is why I like it! Complete your ride-share profile (including the input of your credit card), set your location and your destination, request and take your ride – payment is made automatically through the mobile app – so no cash exchange needed!
You have probably heard of the 2 major rideshare companies in Uber and Lyft (never tried these? Sign-up through my link – Uber for a free ride and Lyft for $50 in ride credit!), but ride-sharing is not limited just to those two!
Try other services like Gett, which operate in more select cities, in order to take advantage of more free rides through sign-up and referrals!
Second… Airfare Search Apps
While Google Flights is my favorite tool to use when searching for airfare, I have been attempting to expand my horizons with two apps in particular…
- Hopper – the airfare search app provides you with average “good deal” prices for your selected flight route and then will form a price prediction and recommendation (book now vs. wait) based on historical price data! This app will help you take some of the guess work out of “when is the best time to buy airfare?” Unfortunately, Delta and Southwest are not sharing their data with Hopper, so you will need to reference other means to find prices on those airlines.
Skiplagged – this app is great specifically for searching “throwaway ticketing” airfare – which can save you hundreds! While I have never booked through the app for a throwaway ticket, I check it with every flight I book to make sure I am not leaving cash on the table!
Third… Map Apps
Google maps is good. Apple maps is terrible. I use neither when travelling (unless I am driving – then Google Maps is king)…
I prefer using offline maps, specifically CityMaps2Go – which has pre-programmed “must see places” and can be utilized without a cell phone or internet connection!
Even in the US where I have great cell reception (shout out to A&T!) I prefer offline maps since you can save all of your locations on the map to references later. The app has city maps for most major cities that you will visit across the world and will allow you to save “must see” points of interest that you can save prior to your trip!
From Chicago, USA, to Europe, to Asia, and everywhere in-between – offline maps has you covered!
Fourth… Travel Lifestyle Apps
One of my favorite things to do when I arrive in a new city is to check out a local coffee shop! I love me some Starbucks (Gold Cardholder since 2011 *pats self on back*), but when in a new city I take a break from Venti Latte and do as the locals do! If you are all about that local flare then check out the app Townske – featuring unique local guides to a new city!
Chicago Foodie Tour Guide, A Barista’s Guide to Chicago’s Coffee, 24 Hours in Chicago, or Best Instagram Spots in Chicago (hint: the Bean is suffering from over-insta exposure!) – all at your fingertips with Townske!
There are hundreds of travel apps on the market. Some of them provide great value, while others will be nothing more than an extra icon on your home screen… Don’t waste space! Download the apps that will save you time, save you money, and provide you with a unique travel experience.
Make sure to look up from phone screen once in awhile… there is some pretty amazing stuff out there 😉
What are some of your favorite travel apps?
As always, find me at firstname.lastname@example.org