It used to be that if you wanted to plan a trip, you went to the library for ideas and then visited a travel agent to book everything. They helped you finalize your ideas, made all your travel arrangements for you, and then packaged it all up in a nice itinerary that you just had to follow.
These days, we rarely go through a travel agency to book things (our exceptions are local tours and booking cruises). With all the great websites and travel apps out there to help us we can plan just about anything we want to as easily and cheaply as a professional, usually from the comfort of our pajamas while sitting on the couch.
Here are a few of our favorite travel sites and apps. These are on our laptops, iPads, and phone and we use them all the time when we’re dreaming, planning, booking, and managing our travels.
Trover is a great website for getting trip ideas. It’s crowd sourced, which means that it’s all recommendations from other travelers who have been there or locals. It’s a great place to find suggestions for places to go and for things to do once you get there. The app will even recognize your location and tell you what you can do close by. While we usually get most of our travel inspiration and ideas from other travelers, Trover is a great resource that we use all the time.
TripIt is the best app for keeping all of your travel plans organized and in one place. It takes that huge confusion of confirmation and reservation emails and organizes them into one giant itinerary that you can access from anywhere. Makes navigating our travel plans and finding the reservation number or address of our hostel super easy.
Rome2Rio is a great website for figuring out trip logistics. We use it all the time to try and figure out the cheapest and easiest ways to get from point A to point B. It shows you all the different options and allows you to determine what will work best for you. You can even book directly from there (although we never do). It’s great for when we need to figure out the cheapest way to get from where we are currently to where we are heading next.
Google Maps & Pocket Earth are our best friends when we’re out and about, especially since we like to get lost – A LOT. Although neither one is 100% accurate 100% of the time, they do a good job of getting us to the right general area, if not the exact right spot most of the time. Bonus with Pocket Earth is that you can download whole maps to use offline while you’re walking/driving around. They also offer travel guides for many places.
Around Me is an app that will show you what is close to you. It recognizes your location. Then, just ask. Need to find a restroom, internet cafe, or the closest 7-11? It will show you what is nearby, and even plot it out on the map so you can see how to get there.
Gate Guru has saved us many a headache navigating our way through airports. It offers flight information (such as if your flight is delayed or has moved gates) and can even tell you how to get through the airport and what amenities are available. Looking for something specific in an airport such as the airport lounge or the closest Starbucks? Gate Guru can tell you.
Next week: Planning the Perfect Road Trip