As a frequent traveler, I’m constantly relying on tools and apps to help me plan trips or make my overall trip go smoothly. On top of using credit card points, I have other tricks up my sleeves for booking discounted hotels, finding flash sales on flights and getting the cheapest gas on a road trip. These are the best travel apps of 2019 that every frequent traveler should download asap!
These are the best travel apps that everyone should download on their phone (for both iPhone and Android!)
Was your flight delayed or canceled? Did you book a hotel room only the have the price drop in half a week later? Service is an app that you connect once to your email and then you can basically forget about it until you need it. It’ll scan your booked travel and let you know if they found a way to save you money – the average user is saved over $300 a year!
I used it once to earn $97 after a flight was majorly delayed.
Robin and I LOVE taking road trips! We drive all over the country together so saving money on gas is something we have to be intentional about. I’ve been using GasBuddy for years to find the cheapest gas at upcoming stations! I started using it after we filled up at a gas station in South Dakota for $3.33 a gallon only to find that a station on the other side of town was selling their gas for $2.87. This app is so handy!
You know when you’re on a road trip and are craving a coffee, but the idea of spending even 20 minutes waiting in line at Starbucks sounds exhausting when you still have 120392948 more miles to drive that day? Well, with the Starbucks app you can scan for upcoming Starbucks stores, order your coffee from your phone and have it waiting for you! You can be back on the road & caffeinated within 2 minutes instead of 20.
We have the Starbucks Rewards Card so we can earn tons of Stars and free drinks, which helps us save money on road trips!
Who else HATES waiting in those long customs lines after coming home from an international trip? Even if you are full of energy, sometimes you are in a rush to make your connecting flight, like we did on our way back from London for our honeymoon. Mobile Passport handles what a customs officer does and helps reduce the time it takes to get through customs. It’s easy to create a profile and enter all your trip information into the app, just like you do with customs forms on the plane. When you land, click “submit”, get a barcode, look for the MCP line at security, scan that barcode and move through the line. It doesn’t’ replace your passport, but it helps save you a ton of time! Extra handy when you have a tight connection to make.
When it comes to travel planning, I’m pretty type A. I like to research hotels and have everything booked out ahead of time so I know I got the best deal at the best place. But sometimes, travel brings unexpected situations. Weather causes flight cancellations. Your Airbnb looked nice online but turns out to be really gross IRL. Or maybe you love your destination so much that you want to stay a bit longer. Hotel Tonight is my favorite app to pull up when we need a nice hotel quickly. They have great hotels at the fraction of their listed prices. I’ve noticed the prices tend to get lower all the day goes on, so if you need to book a hotel on the app, wait until after check-in time for the best rate of the day.
We once drove 9 hours down to Santa Monica and arrived at midnight only to find our hotel didn’t have anyone at the front desk to check us in. We were basically stranded! We ended up calling a bunch of hotels and found a Days Inn that available, but was really overpriced. I wish I had known about the Hotel Tonight app that night, it would have saved our butts!
Why manually search for low prices on flights or hotels when you can have a machine do it for you? Hopper’s algorithm predicts when prices drop and help save users an average of 40% on flights and hotels each booking. There’s always rumors about when to buy flights (Tuesday! Weekends! Holidays!) but this app actually knows. Set up alerts for possible trips you want to take and it’ll tell you the best day to book, and remind you when that day comes!
Ok, so this is actually a website instead of an app, but it’s so good I had to include it (because sometimes laptops are nice, too!) GoSeek finds the best hotel price for you by searching tons of sites at once to find pricing mistakes or flash sale offers, usually finding a 20% discount! When you are hunting for affordable hotels, start here.
We used Roadtrippers to plan out our road trip from Wisconsin to California! I can’t say enough wonderful things about this company. Put in your starting and ending destination and Roadtrippers will suggest really fun things to do along the way. You can filter things out (like, if you hate hiking it won’t suggest National Parks.) It even estimates how much you’ll spend on gas so there won’t be any surprises. There’s a desktop and mobile version, so you can plan out your trip on your computer and access it on the road with their travel itinerary app. It’s one of the best travel planning apps out there.
Have you ever gone geocaching? Robin and I tried it out for the first time while visiting my mom in Arizona and became obsessed! Basically, there’s a community out there that has been hiding little treasures everywhere for the past 10+ years and setting clues on where to find them. You use the app to find caches or hide new ones. It’s really addicting and a fun thing to do in a new city! Instead of just walking around randomly, turn that walk into a cache hunt. Discover the world while doing a real-life treasure hunt.
Of course, you should always have standard apps when traveling like Google Maps and Uber downloaded to help you navigate a new city while traveling. If a city doesn’t have Uber, make sure you download the local taxi/rideshare app or know the number to call in case you get in a pickle and need a ride. Some cities also have metro apps for their local transportation. For instance, here in San Francisco, we have the MUNI app where you can buy train and bus tickets on your phone!