As you get ready to take off on your anxiously awaited summer vacation, here’s a quick list of 5 smartphone apps that can help you get organized, find great deals, and save you money along the way.
1. Waze - Whether your trip involves a lot of road travel, or you just want to find a faster way to get to places in your own city, consider Waze. Recently purchased by Google, it uses social media input to give real-time updates on traffic situations. So, for example, if there’s a game downtown in the city you’re visiting and you are trying to navigate that same area to get to a restaurant, Waze can help so that you can avoid the tangle, wasted time and fuel!
2. GasBuddy – GasBuddy is another app that takes advantage of the constant updates and interaction of crowdsourcing. People input gas prices and keep an eye out for low prices, so users can quickly and easily search for gas stations nearby and compare prices to ensure the best deal in their area.
3. TripIt Travel Planner - This is a great tool to use in partnership with your travel agent and it is my favorite! I use this one all the time with my clients, especially on complex itineraries. You can basically have all the important details of your trip at your fingertips in one convenient place – reservation details, confirmation numbers, tour tickets, events and activities. You know all those confirmation emails that you get from hotels, airlines, car rental services and more — the ones you frantically search for in your Inbox the night before you leave on a vacation? Your travel agent can simply send all these emails along to firstname.lastname@example.org, which will then magically generate a digital itinerary that you can refer to on your mobile device. It also provides weather info and maps of your destinations. You can add multiple trips to TripIt if you're a frequent traveler, or just use it for a single vacation. TripIt was awarded Best Travel Mobile App for 2011 at the Webby Awards. All the services described above are free, or you can upgrade to a paid version for even more cushy service and alerts.
4. Around Me - Ever find yourself in an unfamiliar city, and you just want a decent cup of coffee or a place to buy an extra toothbrush? This application tells you all the points of interest that are located near you. It detects your current location, and lets you select from categories like bars, cafés, hospitals, pharmacies, and hotels so that you can filter though the results.
5. Road Trippers — This is a fun travel tool made for the iPhone as an app but is also available via mobile web so you can use it with Android, Blackberry, and other smartphone platforms. I love and have used this one too! Here is how it works: you type in your starting and destination points and it tells you distance, time and estimated gas costs. This is great for short or long trips. While the distance-finding feature itself isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, with RoadTrippers you can opt to see all the attractions worth seeing along the way, from the obvious to the wonderfully ridiculous. You can also choose to see gas stations, camp grounds, restaurants, hotels, etc.
There are tons of apps to explore and this is just a glimpse — but these should add some fun and help you plan and save a few dollars and time.
Enjoy your summer! Please comment below on YOUR favorite travel apps!
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