Since so much goes into planning a trip, it is wonderful to get some help. Luckily, help is right at your fingertips. The following are the top 10 apps that I use when I am planning a trip.
Trip Advisor– This is my go-to app when planning because I’m a firm believer in customer reviews. Trip Advisor allows you to research hotels, activities, and restaurants and they have great filter options to narrow down your choices. I love to browse people’s pictures because website pictures may be deceiving. Also, people who write reviews can check off whether they would like to receive questions from readers. I often email people asking, “Was this restaurant kid-friendly? Did you feel safe staying in this part of town?” The app even allows you to book everything from flights to museum tickets and can show you restaurants, hotels, and attractions nearby.
Expedia– I never book flights or hotels without first comparing prices on Expedia. I like that they offer bundle deals if you book combinations of hotels, flights, car rentals, or activities. They offer great pictures and descriptions of hotels. I always find great deals and often can find a better deal than booking directly from the hotel.
Lonely Planet Travel Guide– Let’s face it, you can never have enough travel guides while traveling. If you don’t feel like dragging around a heavy guidebook, then this app may be for you. This is a great app to research local hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, and attractions. There are also many extra features such as currency converter and offline maps. You can even filter your interests to find an activity. The app includes about 50 major cities.
SeatGuru– Where you sit can often make or break your flight. SeatGuru allows you to see the cabin map of over 700 planes from about 100 airlines, so you can decide which seat is best for you. The app allows you to see how much leg room the seat has, as well as how wide they are. You can see actual pictures from people in the community. It also offers up-to-date flight information.
PackPoint– For list makers like myself, packing is much less stressful if you are checking items off a list while you pack. A packing app I use is PackPoint. It allows you to customize your packing list by using trip information to set it up. This is great because it is very different when you’re packing for Iceland than when packing for the Bahamas. It contains information on what to pack for activities such as camping, hiking, running, photography, snow sports, and swimming. You can also input the exact date of your trip and the location you’re traveling and the app will check the forecasted weather.
Yelp– Another of my favorite apps for reviews, Yelp allows you to search for locations closest to you. For example, if you want a good Indian restaurant you can search for ones near you and then read reviews, see pictures, and even look at menus. The app gives directions and phone numbers. You can filter your information by neighborhood, distance, rating, price, and what is open now.
BringFido– If you would like to bring your four-legged friend, it is often difficult to find places that accommodate them. Rather than spend hours searching hotels one by one, this app has the information at your fingertips. Research pet-friendly hotels, attractions, outdoor restaurants, parks, beaches, and even dog events. They have a special feature that lets you search for places that allow big dogs and multiple dogs. You can even find pet services such as groomers, vets, dog walkers, and dog sitters.
Hipmunk– I’ve only started using this app but it is a lot like Expedia. It allows you to search for hotels and flights. It compares the top travel sites to find the best deals on hotels and flights. Flights can be sorted by “agony,” which includes flight duration and layover time. It has maps that show how close hotels are to shopping, dining, and more.
GateGuru– Especially when traveling with kids, it is important to plan your layovers. This app shows you maps of terminals and tells you about the airport’s food and amenities. The app gives real-time flight statuses and even checks the weather at the airport. It has terminal and gate arrival and departure information and even estimates TSA security wait times.
TripIt– This app organizes all your trip information into one spot. This easy app has you forward your confirmation emails to them and they create an itinerary for you. You can also link it up to your calendar. TripIt Pro, which gives extra features, costs about $50 and I don’t use it because I can get the other features for free on other apps. The free version is fine.
This list is based on my own experience and opinions. I was not paid by any of the above apps for my review.