In an effort to become more efficient when traveling or in general, I am constantly looking for tools to make my life easier. I consider myself the queen of shortcuts; if I can do something in a fraction of the time then sign me up! Here are a few travel apps I cannot live without that will keep you organised and entertained.
Forget about waving down a taxi curbside or risk getting a driver who doesn't "accept" credit cards. Taxi apps are great when traveling as you can have your fare charged to your credit card through the app. This means you don't have to worry about having enough local currency to cover the cost. Here are a few of my favorites.
Uber is our app of choice when we travel. It is available in over 80 countries worldwide with a strong presence in most of the cities we've visited. The app has several cool features: you can send a status update so that people know you're safe, you can split your fare with another Uber user and add multiple stops on your journey. You can also get a fare estimate for each type of service; UberTAXI, UberBLACK, UberX, UberXL, UberSELECT, etc. Download: iOS Android
Travel Planning Apps
Done are the days of printing out boarding passes, hotel confirmations and itineraries. Save the trees! Or in my case, my sanity. I despise searching through my email for travel information or carrying unnecessary documents. I prefer having everything organised and easily accessible on my phone. The following travel planning apps not only keep you organised but will also save you a ton of time.
Google Trips - Best. App. Ever. Your flights, hotels, restaurant bookings, day plans and much more all in one app! Not only does it keep everything organised but it also creates personalized recommendations based on your consumer behavior history. Google Trips can spy on me all it wants if it means getting a curated list of things to do, where to eat and activities based on what I like. Want to access everything offline? No problem! Download your itinerary at home and browse the app without internet. Download: iOS Android
If you think all airline seats are all created equal, well I have news for you! They're not! Economy, premium economy, business and first class seats can vary drastically between airlines. So it's important to know what you're paying for before you book your ticket. Those few extra dollars spent on a similar flight with another airline can make a huge difference! SeatGuru allows you to compare airline seats, all you need is the airline name, flight number and date. You can also use the comparison chart for short-haul/long-haul economy or business flights to determine what type of seat each airline offers. Download: iOS Android
I use KAYAK to search for flights and sometimes hotels. The app pulls flights from hundreds of travel sites and lets you browse them in one place. My favorite feature is Hacker Fares. This is when the search yields two one way flights instead of a return fare which gives you more options and better prices. The app also lists codeshare flights which means you can earn frequent flyer miles if you book with the same airlines as your loyalty program. Download: iOS Android
TripAdvisor is a great tool when booking hotels. Traveler photos show you what a hotel really looks like. The beautiful photo shopped images you see on hotel websites are usually not what you get when you arrive. I like to sort the hotels in a chosen city based on my preferences and then look at the traveler photos for the top 3-5 choices. I then book through the hotel directly or hotels.com (more on this under Hotel Apps). Download: iOS Android
Wallet is exactly that, a wallet. You can store digital versions of your boarding passes, loyalty cards, event tickets, coupons, hotel confirmations, credit cards and debit cards (Apple Pay). All you need is your phone! Now if you forget a card because you took your small wallet instead of your main wallet, you don't need to worry about missing out on those pharmacy or Starbucks points! Download: (WalletPasses | Passbook Wallet) Android
There are two hotel apps that I use when not booking directly through a hotel; Hotels.com and Marriott. I learned the hard way that you can't double dip and earn rewards on both Marriott and Hotels.com. I noticed points missing on my Marriott account and when I contacted customer service they explained that it's one or the other. Sometimes hotel websites offer more rooms than what is available on Hotels.com and that is why I book direct. Otherwise, all non Marriott brands are usually booked through Hotels.com.
When you accumulate 10 nights on Hotels.com you get one night free. The free night is equal to the average you spent on the previous 10 nights. The best part, there are no blackout dates. Just be sure to redeem your free night within 12 months of your last completed booking. Download: iOS Android
The Marriott mobile app allows you to check-in before you arrive. You then get an alert to inform you that your room is ready and whether or not you were upgraded. The app then provides you with a digital key that you can use to unlock your room. As Gold members, we get priority late check-out when available, which is nice when your flight is later in the day. At the end of your stay you simply check-out through the app and off you go! Download: iOS Android
Food plays a very big role in our travels, like it's really important. As I always say: "Life is too short for a bad meal". We plan most evening meals ahead of time, sometimes months in advance, but usually leave breakfast and lunch open. Here are a couple of apps for those last minute reservations.
Open Table is great in most regions and you can collect points through their frequent-diner program. I honestly haven't redeemed any of the thousands of points I've accumulated since this feature is not currently available in my region (Ireland). All your bookings are listed in the app and you can add them to your calendar. You can also modify or cancel all your bookings on the app. Download: iOS Android
There are several Michelin Restaurant Apps available for download; Europe, Hong Kong, UK, US etc. This is probably not the best app for last minute bookings unless you opt for restaurants awarded with The Plate or Bib Gourmand title. Don't wait for the same day to book a Three Michelin Star Restaurant. Download: Search Michelin Guide and select the app for your region.
The Fork is another great app loaded with options all over Europe. They also have a loyalty program where you earn yums for each booking you make. Download: iOS Android
There's nothing that makes a flight longer than starring blankly at the seat in front of you or running out of things to watch on the entertainment system. Keep in mind that not all airplanes have entertainment systems and some have the worst selection.
When your shows are not available on Netflix, the Microsoft Store is your next option. This is where I download all My Real Housewives series to enjoy a truly brain numbing flight. Download: Available here under Games & Entertainment or on your Microsoft products.
When you run out of things to watch on Netflix and Microsoft Store you can always browse Amazon Prime Video. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video also has original series which means more selection for you! Download: iOS Android
And that my friends, pretty much sums it up! I hope you found my list useful and have some new apps to download. For more ways to make your flights more enjoyable check out: Survive Long Haul Flights With These 15 Tips
What are some of your favourite apps? Please share in the comments below! I'm always looking to add to my repertoire!
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