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 email@example.com, 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!
Let’s face it – travel can be expensive. So why should you spend your precious pennies on a vacation? Is it really worth it?
As it turns out, travel is the BEST way to spend your money! Of all the things you can buy, the experience of traveling gives you, by far, the most bang for your buck. The following fantastic elements of travel have been proven to make people happier.
EVERY part of the travel experience before, during, and after is more satisfying, more enjoyable, and has longer-lasting positive effects than buying stuff.
For me, planning is one of the most exciting parts of a vacation. When planning, you get to make progress and take steps towards realizing your dream. Each step is actually part of the adventure itself. Anticipation and thoughts of where you are going to go, what you’re going to see, and all the adventure that awaits give you something to look forward to and happiness.
The travel time itself comes with a bunch of obvious benefits: you get to spend time with people you love; you get to see new things and try new things; you get to relax away from the pressures of work and everyday life; you get the thrill of fulfilling dreams you may have had for a long time.
After you take an amazing trip, you have the memories of good times together that can never be taken away. Every time you think of that trip, or you see something that reminds you of it, your brain registers those joyful times and releases mood-enhancing chemicals that make you feel like you’re re-living the happiness of the experience itself. It stays with you, and you get to access it whenever you want.
In 2003, Thomas Gilovich published his landmark study called “To Do Or Have That Is The Question” a study that, more than a decade on, continues to influence social psychology and the study of what brings us true contentment. Gilovich looked at how economic choices affect well-being and analyzed the differences between experiential and material purchases on human happiness. His unexpected discovery has changed the way we look at our buying habits: Across the board, doing things makes people happier than having things.
In fact, travel trends over the last few years show an increase in the popularity of "experiential travel". People are choosing to travel not only to see the things on their ultimate bucket lists, but to experience unique opportunities that they will never forget. The new mindset - collect memories not things.
My family may not have the biggest house on the block, the fanciest car or a closet filled with expensive clothes. But – we have traveled a lot and no one else has the priceless memories of beautiful adventures with our family. Travel makes us happy and for us, the experience is much more valuable than anything we could purchase. I am lucky to have a husband that loves to travel as much as I do and together we have made it a priority in our life. Are we crazy to spend money on travel rather than things? No, I think it’s worth every penny.
A few articles to inspire you:
7 Reasons Why Spending Money on Experiences Makes Us Happier Than Buying Stuff
The Secret to Happiness? Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things
Please share your thoughts below!