There’s always different kinds of travelers out there, for me– to have a great and efficient trip I always believe that proper pre-planning is needed to make sure you don’t waste too much time doing nothing (of course down time would be taken into consideration to rest up for the next activity). There are some amazing apps out there that helps with those planning moments. The ones I like to use for domestic trips (so far, once I get to international travel, definitely will up an update blog entry for apps on that).
Trello: This app is my main planning device that I use for planning my trips. I like it because I’m the type that like to plan my stuff with a nice cover photo of the place I’m going to. This one allows that setup while having everything that I need like having more than one check list (packing list, to-book lists, etc.) per board that I create for each trip I take. It also has a date function so I can set it for the times I will be away. You can also add collaborators to the boards so they can see and edit them as well. Then I just write down all the places that I will be going to after my research of locations along with times and addresses creating a general schedule of what my itinerary will look like (has formatting styles like bold, italicized, and underline). They also come in app and desktop version which I really like.
Google Maps: Along with Trello, I use Google Maps to pin all my locations and then download offline maps if I know I’m going to be in an area that has spotty to no service (which is often since I’m usually hiking in the mountains). Google Maps is very helpful since you have offline options and when you do have service they also help with subway times if you’re in a city that’s heavy in public transportation. When I was in New York, Google Maps was the only thing I used to make my way around the city with the subway and it worked REALLY well.
Truffl: Truffl is an app that I usually use after my trips. It’s an itinerary traveling app that you can basically use to create your trips. But I found not having a desktop version of it kind of hard to use since I don’t like typing a lot on my phone. I also already had Trello from way before. But I like the easy sharing and list like concept of Truffl that I always end up creating a list of my favorite places after I’m done with a trip on Truffl and it’s easy to share said list to other travelers when they are asking about certain places I’ve been to. Each trip you make you can also separate lists into categories like “Food”, “Activities”, “Drinks/Bars”, and so on.
Hopper: This little app came in a lot of help. Before, I always manually checked for flights on websites like Travelocity and Kayak which would open tons of tabs on browser mode. I was never a huge fan of that method, but I did it because I thought it was the only way to find good prices. Until I found Hopper. I loved that I can watch travel destinations and Hopper will notify me (via push notifications on my phone) to let me know when prices are at their lowest. It also shows you predictions on what time is the best to purchase, approximately what months will prices go up, etc. It can also filter things like “basic fare” or totally “non-stop” flights only. Although I found that while basic fare are the best prices, they aren’t the best times (usually in the middle of the day where you lose half the day flying, I prefer traveling really early and get there with enough time left to do things day of landing). It definitely made my life much easier.
But I try not to book third party because it’s easier and safer to book directly with the flight company. So when Hopper dings me the good prices, I go ahead and book directly on the flight’s website. And because I travel domestically more often than I do international, I have a lot more domestic flight apps installed for my flight reminder notifications and digital boarding ticket (so I don’t have to print at the airport). The apps that I use for flights are: United and American if I don’t mind flying cheaper with average quality service and accommodations. WestJet for Canada travel, they’re actually quite comfy with much bigger leg space than American flight lines. Then I have Delta as well. They are by far my favorite company to fly with. Their staff is amazing and the accommodations were clean and spacious. They stuck to less capacity and no middle seating much longer (lasted well into 2021) than other companies during the pandemic, which showed me that the company cared for its staff and customers rather than wanting to make bank with packed flights. They also came up to my seat to give me a personal greeting for flying because I was their flying member. The service was just amazing with great snack bags provided too (not some lame saltine cracker and water only type).
Airbnb (Lodging): I personally prefer whole homes rather than hotels because parking tends to be more difficult with hotels. Sometimes you have to pay for parking at hotels on top of paying for lodgings. I also like to have the option of having a kitchen to cook my own food if I wanted to. But situations can change since you are also at the whims of the host as well as needing to trust them in cleaning their homes for guests (whereas usually everything heavily bleached in hotels). This is also why I always look for super hosts with higher reviews. They’re usually more careful with their reputation and status on the booking site. But generally Airbnb is also cheaper from my experience if I plan on more than 2 night stay. If less than 3 nights, I usually will hotel if I can find one with comp’ed parking.
Hotel Apps: Hilton & IHG (Holiday Inn/Staybridge)
For hotel options I usually go with these two brands since they’re more frequent and the ones I trust more in terms of quality and cleanliness. Hilton if I have the cash to spend and IHG for more affordable options (just not as fancy as Hilton).
HostelWorld: Lastly for cheapest option that isn’t a motel – Hostels. They are basically shared accommodations where you don’t get your own room/bathrooms usually. You get a bunk bed type or a shared living area with other travelers (usually solo travelers) and everyone shares the space of bath and kitchen. Although, there are some hostels that does have the option of private rooms with just shared baths. This was the option that I went for when I was booking my Japan trip. I wanted the privacy of sleeping in my own area so I researched and found a hostel that provided private locked rooms with shared bath and kitchen.
I use HostelWorld, an app recommended by a friend that frequently solo traveled and used hostels often. This is the same setup process as the Hopper app where I would look for deals on this app and then book directly with the hostel sites.
Costco: If you are looking for all inclusive trips, look no further than Costco. They have some of the best deals sometimes. I went on a four day all-inclusive resort trip to Cabo San Lucas and it was only $1,400 for 2 people flights included. So definitely check Costco if you’re looking all-inclusive type trips or cruises. Most trips will also include $250-$350 Costco cash card that you can use.
And so that is it for me, these are the apps that I use to help with my traveling trips! Do you happen to use some of these and what are your thoughts on them? Are there any different ones that you like to use? Let me know in the comments!