Travel Tips

Best Free Apps For Your Next Vacation

You have finally decided to take that European vacation after watching and being influenced by Delicious destinations by Andrew Zimern. The confirmation was when Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on cnn travel featuring the same city came on next. So you decide, you are going to Lyon, France! At least that’s how it worked out for me. But now you don’t know where to start. Do you book a flight first, so you check orbitz and Priceline flights! Or do you book a hotel first?

When it comes to traveling, I use apps. And I’m not talking about apps like Tinder either. I have so many on my IPhone, sometimes I can’t even remember what they are for. And if anyone is collecting my information, I’m pretty sure they have it by now.? And with Apple making everything so easy, getting all these apps on my IPhone takes about 2 seconds.  For example, if I want to plan a trip to Rio de Janeiro, I will download Kayak to find cheap flight prices, another app for hotel reservations, and another to find things to do in Paris. Not only do they save you time and money, but they make the process less stressful by doing the searches for you and giving you options. Choosing a destination is the easy part, but everyone who has done some serious trip planning knows that, that’s the stressful part. I’m not a travel app expert, but when you finally decide to plan that London girls’ trip, I guarantee you that these travel apps will come in handy. And even if you don’t have a travel destination in mind, you can always get lots and lots of travel ideas.

tip: Travelocity always has coupons (up to 20% off) if you book using their app on your mobile!

whatsapp

1. WhatsAppI am all about budget travel, and WhatsApp fits into my ‘travel like a queen spend like a pauper’ lifestyle. Get into it! You can make calls, face-time, and send text. It’s free wherever and whenever you are, that is, unless you don’t have wifi. But who needs to be calling you while you’re living your best life at the beach anyway. Catch me another time. And in my book, that’s another pro to having WhatsApp. You always have an excuse for why you didn’t pick up when someone called you. The hotel had an issue with their wi-fi! What am supposed to do ma’am? I’m not the wi-fi repairman! So I will continue to pray to the old gods and the new that it remains free.

2. Booking.com – Or should I say booking dot yeeah! I am a huge fan. Like I said, she’s all about the budget travel lifestyle so this app helps me find deals on hotels, motels, and holiday inns. You just put in your travel destination and you can compare hotel prices. What I really love about it, is simplicity of it all. Not that other apps are too complicado but I just love their layout. Like college registration Kanye, you can’t tell me nothing! To be honest, some of the hotel booking apps out there are really not that great; their load time is slow, you have to spend 10 nights before you can get a free night. Huh? Nah, I want my reward now. With booking.com, if you make a booking with them, you can unlock next level type stuff; discounts on your next night, free breakfast, late check-outs, or even upgrades on your next booking. I swear they are not paying me to wax poetic about them, but they really need to. If anyone knows someone who works at booking.com, tell them to SHOW ME THE MONEY!!

p.s. I have to say I also love the Travelocity for vacation packages and Orbitz flight. I don’t know, I’m starting to think it might all have to do with the color blue. Not only do they offer airline reservations and hotel bookings, but also travel packages. Plus they always have a 15% discount (and on rare occasions 20%) for using their app. Who doesn’t like saving money?

3. Roadtrippers – If you plan on checking off that epic Route 66 road trip from your bucket list, this is a very good road trip planner. Instead of just driving and hoping to stumble on anything interesting, Roadtrippers will add all the bucket list stops along the way and create the perfect route for you. And because you don’t want to run out of gas in the middle of the desert, it will also calculate how much gas you will need so you can make the necessary stops.

🔺How epic would this road trip be in Iceland?
🔺How epic would this road trip be in Iceland?

4.  Rome 2 Rio – One of the apps that survives purging season. This is also one of the apps that makes my life easier, not that it’s complicated, but it sounds better when you say that. Anyway, you simply type in your location and where you want to go, and Rome 2 Rio will find a way for you; plane, train, or automobile. And even bus, ferry, rental car, or rideshare. Anything to get you to your destination, except the fare. But that’s above them, the Best Western is next door.

ps. I’m sure you can book your reservations with them for a small fee, but I’ve never tried that because that’s against my religion to spend more than I have to.

5. Kayak – Actually for airline reservations, in addition to Kayak, I use also Google Flights and Skyscanner. I mean at the end of the day, they are nothing but ‘search engines for flights.’ They basically comb these internets for the best flight deals and spit them back to you, all the while telling you there are only 3 seats left at that price and hoping you will have the courage to press that BUY button. And have you ever tried to look for a ticket, then again the next day, hoping that prices would have gone down only to have them go up? Yeah we’ve all been there. I’m pretty sure if you google “flights to London” and try to book an airline ticket to London, Google will remember this search and jack up the airfare. Anyway, now that I’m sorta off topic, yes I like Kayak. It’s super easy to use and you can set a watchlist to ‘watch’ a specific fare. Plus they have this cute game where your goal is to jump over as many things on your way to your boarding gate. Your score then determines your seat on the plane. I’m always in the luggage compartment!!!!

🔺Movies, movies, movies
🔺Movies, movies, movies

6. Travel Channel appAllows you to watch all the best time travel movies, watch Ghost Adventure or Mysteries at the Museum. There is nothing like watching Bizarre Foods Delicious Destinations while going to a new destination! Another option is Netflix. First of all I would like to file a complaint; the people at Netflix are losing their entire minds trying to make me pay more than the $8.99 I signed up for. I’m this close to going over to Hulu. So Netflix comes in handy, and I love a good documentary. Another option is the Travel Channel app

Thanks to Netflix, I now know entirely too much about being a Narco smh! And have you ever been in a hotel in a foreign country and the only English channel is the news? Yep, I thought so.

7. TripIt – I love having everything in one place; airline tickets, event tickets, train tickets. With TripIt you book a flight, hotel, day tour or any activity, punch them into the app and they will arrange and put your reservations into a single itinerary. There is an even upgraded version that can remind you of check-ins, flight refunds, baggage claim info, how long security lines are at the airport, and all that jazz. But again, it’s against my religion to pay for extra things, so I prefer to be surprised if I get through check-in in less than 30 minutes.

8. Apple Wallet – I hate having paper tickets. Not only are the damn trees getting cut down for a piece of paper that I use for all but 5 seconds to board a plane, only to trash it before the flight attendant can say “white or red wine.” It’s a complete waste and I think ALL tickets should be banned.? Haven’t they seen the ice caps  melting in Greenland!! It all connects, believe me. Almost does the same thing as TripIt, but I like having backup to my backup, so I also keep all my boarding passes in my travel wallet.

9. Weather – I know a lot of people take the weather app for granted, but I don’t. So thank you weather app people. Some people never check the weather on vacation, assuming it will be nice and sunny all week(s), well except for Londoners and Seattlers (is that what you call people who live in Seattle?). But weather patterns can be so crazy, so it’s always best to have your weather app on your phone. These days summer can turn into winter real quick. What did I tell you about melting Greenland ice caps? So check the weather for the time you will be there so you can know what to pack.

🔺Nothing can ruin your holiday faster than being unprepared for bad weather.
🔺Nothing can ruin your holiday faster than being unprepared for bad weather.

10. Bank/Credit Card app – Every time I use my card outside of the U.S., I’m checking my balance. Even when I’m not using it, I’ll still randomly check to make sure the $25.34 I had in my account the day before is still ALL there. Every dollar and cent. I’ve heard too many stories of stolen identity and card numbers for me to not be extra vigilant. It might make me a little paranoid, but I also shed a tear every time I have to part with my money. So imagine if someone else decides to make themselves welcome to it? Oh hell to the nah. If something looks sus, I will hit that SUSPEND CARD button with the quickness. Plus you can always turn the card back on if you were indeed just paranoid. I’ve done it, no shame in my game.

yandex

11. Uber – Transportation wise, I will always prefer to walk and/or take the subway before anything else. The only time I will use other modes of transportation is when it’s late and I need to get back ASAP or when the cost is reasonable and I can justify spending the money. Uber is a much better option than taking a taxi because of the reduced cost. And in places such as Dar es Salaam (where it was my favorite way of getting around), it makes a lot more sense. You save money and the energy of dealing with public transportation, and it is safe. And I’m all bout the budget life – hello. Just don’t fall asleep and end up in the next town like that girl in the U.K.

12. OpenTable – There is nothing more annoying than going to a restaurant in a brand new city only to find out they are fully booked for that night or they only take reservations. Nothing is worse than going back to your hotel and trying to figure out your options while hungry. But with OpenTable, you can make your dinner reservations to over 48,000 restaurants before your vacation, all through the app. And if that friend who likes to count her money, you know the one who always wants separate checks for a group of 10, finally decides to join you, just add her through the app. Easy.

So, those are my main go-to travel apps. There are many more apps that I will use once of twice, but these 10 are always on my phone. They have helped quite a lot. And I do realize Netflix is not in essence free, but we all know most of ya’ll have someone’s password. I know I always have to kick someone from my account when I’m ready to watch Narcos. And it’s free to download the app, what happens afterwards is above me! Bon voyage.

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