When it comes to travel planning, there is one thing that everyone tries to avoid… STRESS! We all know that finding the cheapest flights, the most central accommodation and pre-booking your transfers can cause all sorts of anxiety, whether you’re booking through a travel agent or going it alone. Nowadays though we have extensive help at our fingertips with a whole host of amazing websites, forums and the holy grail of travel planning – mobile apps. These nifty little things can be installed on your phones, tablets and kindles and can be invaluable when it comes to planning your trips. I’ve scoured the internet and put together my top 6 travel planning apps that, in my humble opinion, are an absolute MUST for helping to book your next getaway, and they’re absolutely FREE to download…
I can’t start this list without my favourite website on the planet, and the most used app on my phone! Ok, so I don’t always book my flights through Skyscanner, particularly if I’m going on package holidays, but there’s nothing more exciting than searching for flights to ‘Everywhere’ using this gem of an app. I use it when I’m bored, I use it when I can’t get to sleep and I use it to genuinely find the cheapest flights on the market. I could spend hours playing Skyscanner roulette and just dream about random trips to anywhere, and it’s my go-to when starting my travel planning as I always book my flights first before anything else. For that reason alone, Skyscanner is my #1 travel planning app!
I always forget how valuable this app is, and as it’s automatically installed into every mobile device you can think of, there’s no excuse NOT to use it! For me, location is one of the most important aspects of booking trips and I always make sure I know the distance between airports to accommodation and accommodation to tourist attractions, train stations and nightlife so that I can base myself somewhere central. Google Maps is also incredibly helpful when you’re out and about and are wandering around trying to find somewhere – I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve ended up down the wrong street and have been saved by using my maps to find a specific landmark from my current location! Thank god for 4G or wifi when you need to be saved!
A new one for me, and one which I’m excited to use more in the coming months, is the shiny new app from Trip, formerly known as Gogobot. This app is all about tailoring your travel experience once you’ve decided where it is you want to go, but you can book flights, tours and accommodation through it too – winner! Trip enables you to select one of 19 ‘tribes’ where you can select which one you’re best suited to, or the one you want to belong to most, and you’ll then receive tailored suggestions based around that tribe – ie, if you’re one of the ‘foodies’ you’ll be sent restaurant tips, places to find cool food markets and new café recommendations. Trip is super cool and something I will definitely be using more for my future travels, especially if I’m visiting somewhere a little off the beaten path!
This gem of an app is an absolute LIFESAVER when it comes to finding the cheapest methods of transportation between any European destination you can think of. GoEuro is a search engine for transport and compares the prices and journey times of hundreds of trains, buses and flights against different routes at different times to help you get the best deal possible in one single search. This app is perfect if you’re planning an interrailing adventure around Europe but aren’t sure of the best places to start from; by comparing transport prices you could save some pennies by opting for buses instead of trains, giving you a different cultural experience at the same time! Using this app will give you direct access to almost 500 train, flight and bus partners and will give you accurate, real time comparisons so your price will be as up to date as it can be at the time of booking. I really like GoEuro and am really excited to use it more this year whilst I plan my inter-railing trip around Europe!
I’ve used this site for years and years, way before apps were even a thing, and it’s still one of my most trusted sources of accommodation booking! I check the hotel/tour/landmark reviews on Trip Advisor every time I’m thinking of booking something and, so far, I’ve never gone wrong. I do check every review carefully, and read who they’re from as you never know if some reviews are legit, but 99.9% of the time they are and they are SO helpful when it comes to booking the perfect trip. Who wants to stay in a hotel that’s miles from the city centre? Or who wants to book a tour that no longer exists? Trip Advisor is really current and it’s forum is constantly being updated, so it’s a great place for travellers to ask fellow questions to each other and get their questions answered by real people with real experiences.
A fairly new one to me, and an alternative to Trip Advisor, I’ve found that Airbnb is a must use app when booking alternative accommodation. I’ve always been a hotel kinda girl, but a recent stay in a snazzy London apartment has taken my Airbnb virginity and converted me to a total obsessive! I’m constantly looking on the app and searching cities and towns for the best apartments, studios and little cottages to rent – they have places all over the world and provide a quirky, often very cheap alternative to standard hotel rooms. When I go away I really like to immerse myself in the city I’m staying in and try to feel like a local by getting around on the metro and eating in little independent restaurants, so staying in an Airbnb and meeting your local hosts really helps to make the most out of your time spent in the place you’re visiting! The review facility is great too, so you can find out a bit about your host before you book, it’s like ebay but for travellers – what’s not to like?!
So there we have it, these are my top travel planning apps to help take the stress out of booking your dream trips. There are hundreds of apps to choose from and they all come with fantastic features and top tips for planning your ultimate getaway, so get on the app-store and find the right one for you! I’m a self-confessed travel planning geek and I absolutely LOVE putting my itineraries together before my trips so, for me, the planning is one of the best part. I do however realise that not everyone shares my geekiness so hopefully these apps will make it easier for you, and they’re totally free, so it’s a win-win situation! Have you ever used any of these before, or do you have any that I haven’t included on this list that are your go-to apps for travel planning? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
Love Jess x