By Kary Vannice
I travel…a lot. So much so that when I approach the Interjet counter at my local airport, they greet me by name, even before I hand them my passport! Over the last five years, I’d like to think I’ve mastered the art of traveling alone, but there are still times when I would like a helping hand, preferably, in the palm of my hand. Enter the travel app!
There are hundreds of travel apps out there on the market. No matter where or how you plan to travel, there’s an app to help you with almost every aspect of planning and execution. Some save you money, some help you see the sights, others direct you to the perfect meal, and a few may even help you find the perfect travel companion.
Most journeys start with a plan. Gone are the days of a travel agent who diligently helps you plan your trip and works tirelessly to find you the best deals on flights and hotels. Now, there’s an app for that!
Hopper is an app that will actually predict the best time to fly and when airline prices will drop, sending you alerts so you get the best rates on, what can sometimes be the most expensive element of your trip, getting there.
The Jetsetter app is for those of us who love to fantasize about trips as much as we love to take them. Combining top destinations with daily deals, you can visually “live” the experience before booking a trip by scrolling through incredible photos of hotels, things to do, major attractions, and area dining.
Once your trip is booked, you’ll need to get packing. PackPoint will help you with that. Put in your destination city and it will gather average weather data for the location and time of year so you can choose the right type of clothing. Choose the type of activities you plan to do on your trip, like hit the gym, go to the beach, attend a fancy dinner, and your list is generated for you! Modify it in any way you want, adding or hiding items you don’t need to take.
Enter all your travel plans into the Tripit app and you’ll not only have all your reservation codes, departure times and important travel information at your fingertips, you’ll also receive alerts when something changes, like a gate change or flight delay.
Getting from the train terminal or airport to your hotel or Airbnb in a taxi can be expensive and unpredictable. Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are popping up around the world. I’ve used Uber on three different continents and in six different countries. Because your credit card is automatically charged, it’s ideal for when you first arrive in a country and don’t yet have local currency.
If you’re heading someplace new, but would rather ‘live like a local’ than ‘travel like a tourist’, CultureTrip is the app for you! Better than a guide book, this app shares the inside scoop from local tastemakers, artists, and trendsetters who are constantly seeking the best of their cities, allowing you to authentically experience the local sights, sounds and flavors of any country.
If it’s edible delights you seek, Foodspotting can lead you to the best foodie finds in the world! From a legit lobster roll sandwich in New York to the lightest macarons in Paris, you’ll read reviews and see travelers’ photos from their succulent meals around the globe.
Solo travelers (like me) know it’s just not as fun to see a breathtaking Monet or devour mouthwatering gourmet all by yourself. Luckily, there are dozens of apps out there to help singles find other travelers to journey with.
Tourbar and Skout are two apps that help people meet virtually. Users can reach out across oceans to find a friend, or set locations to find people in specific areas. If you find yourself alone in an unknown country, these handy apps could have you swapping stories with a fellow wanderer in a matter of minutes, or meeting for a night on the town with a native.
And, if it’s love you’re looking for, well, of course, apps abound! Both Miss Travel and AirDates claim to be the Tinder of travel! Miss Travel lets members pre-load their trips to find companions before they fly or connect with fellow travelers once on the road. And, if you don’t like flying alone, AirDates (Tinder in the sky) lets you “swipe right” to hook-up with people at airports or in the air, if you’re not a great flyer. Their tagline – “Joining the mile-high club just got easier”. Nothing like sex with a stranger to distract you from the fact that you’re in a metal tube with three hundred other people, five miles above the earth experiencing a bit of turbulence!
Of course, if that’s not your thing, there are at least six apps that promise to help you conquer your fear of flying, which is good, since you need to start planning your next trip so you can try out all these new apps!