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10 Best Apps and Websites to Help You Plan Your Next Trip

by Lillian Gaitho

photo: handshake.com

How the days fly! Half the year is gone, and we are all gearing up to that season again; where everyone is either attending a wedding, preparing for honeymoon, family vacations or working up the files for the annual report somewhere beyond the boundaries. Here is a compilation of travel websites and applications that will get you through the highs and lows of putting together a memorable trip.

1. Have the Best Price Guaranteed on your Hotel Stay: Jovago.com

The hotel booking website, launched a BPG (Best Price Guarantee) system that ensures that all the hotels have their pricing at the highest discounted price on the web. The catch is that if you happen to come across a cheaper rate on the same hotel-all conditions unaltered-then they will match or refund the difference. The greatest advantage on Jovago.com is that you can get any kind of accommodation; from five star resorts, luxurious camps, hostels as well as back packing sites.

2. Your Cheapest Flight Ticket on a New Low: Skyscanner

If you have a bit of time, it could help you save a size-able amount of your flight fare. Skyscanner.net allows travelers to take stock of flight fares for up to a whole month, and pick their best dates and cost. To leap the most out of this website, plan your travel in time and allow yourself flexibility on the actual check-in date.

3. Catch a Taxi on your Finger Tips: Easy Taxi

The app Easytaxi.com instantly gets you a certified and verified cab driver from wherever you are. The app is operational in over 400 cities across the globe. The beauty of the ride is that you only pay when you ‘complete the ride’. Just make sure you download and pack it in your app store as you do the rest of your packing!

4. No Stress Packing – Pick Packing Pro

Most of us get overwhelmed by the idea of discovering a new destination and end up bursting our rucksacks with all things unnecessary. This app is my savior, just enter all the details needed for your packing including number of family members travelling with you, weather expectations, and activities on your itinerary. The app will give you options of what you need to pack and consolidate your list once you are done counter-checking.

5. Grab the Best Seat: SeatGuru

SeatGuru.com makes you feel like you are already in the plane making exclusive decisions on the seating positions: window or wing, reclining or sturdy. The app will update all taken seats as it happens, making sure that you only pick the best seat at the time of booking your flight. What’s more, the app comes free of charge!

6. Keep Up With All Those Who Matter, at No Cost: Get on Skype

As long as you can connect to Wi-Fi hotspot, you won’t need to hang up on family and friends before you brag about that exhilarating bungee jump. Skype allows you to have group calls, video calls and general texting all without incurring hefty international billing.

7. Free Reviews, Unbiased Ratings and Real-Traveler Audits: Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor offers reviews, real images and ratings by travelers who have had the experience you are looking to have. As statistics have it, more than a hundred travelers post on the site every minute totaling up to over 225 million in reviews. If you are not in place to access the website, you can opt to download the sister app which covers over eighty destinations and is accessible offline.

8. A Sneak Peek into Your Complete Itinerary – TripIt!

TripIt is a genie app that compiles all your travel and related confirmation mails including flight, car rental and restaurant details into a neatly organized file for easier access. The app has a share feature which allows one to share their travel information as well as store all travel documents in one place. Other features include real time flight and seat alerts, manual editing and offline accessibility.

9. Your Helping Hand a Scroll Away – Yelp

The app or website will help you locate bars, night clubs and restaurants across the globe as per recommendation. This makes it easier especially when visiting a new city, the only downside being that Yelp is only active with internet connection. Despite some outdated listings, Yelp is still the fastest way to pinpoint the nearest ATM, pizzeria, market, or coffee shop in more than 25 countries from Austria to New Zealand. And now, thanks to the acquisition of Seat Me, users can make restaurant reservations straight from the site or app.

10. Your Next Meal a Click Away – Hellofood

Hellofood is an online compilation of restaurants complete with their catalogue. Order your meal from any location within their operation area and have it delivered hot and neat to your address.

Others Include;

11. Instagram for All Your Photos

Instagram allows you to share your braggies and selfieswith your world of followers on the go. Just make sure you only post what you are willing to share with the public.

12. AwardWallet, free

At this point, we’ve lost count of how many loyalty programs we belong to—and with consolidation and bankruptcies, who knows how many miles you have? Make your life easier by taking a half hour, getting your account information together, and inputting the details into AwardWallet. The app keeps your information in one place, and has a clean interface that works even without an Internet connection.

T+L Tip: If the best spots on the plane are unavailable, try Seat Alerts by ExpertFlyer. It e-mails you when better options open up on your scheduled departure.

13. Navigate the Roads: Google Maps

Google Maps has become the best navigation app around, allowing you to pull up addresses with voice commands and turn-by-turn directions with a single tap. Real-​time traffic info and lane guidance assist drivers; straphangers can see the last train departure of the day. Biking? Google Maps can offer routes that won’t be too steep. There’s not much this smart app can’t do.

T+L Tip: Try downloading content for offline reference by using the voice command “Okay, Maps.”

14. Understand the Locals: Google Translate

No translation service is perfect, but Google’s comes close. Type or speak a phrase into your phone, and the app will deliver a translation. It’s compatible with a whopping 81 languages (including those that are character-based), and downloadable packs are available for offline use (on Android only).

 

About Mwaniki Mutugi (370 Articles)
Noel Mutugi is a graduate of tourism management from Moi University, a tourism, travel & conservation enthusiast and a tour consultant at Kiboko Kenya Safaris (kibokokenyasafaris.com).