While the recession has taken a bite out of most people’s paychecks, an interesting side effect is that travel deals abound. Companies large and small are hurting, and tourist destinations need those American dollars more than ever before. Of course, that doesn’t change your desire to get the best deal possible, and thanks to mobile technology you’ve got more ways than ever before to work the system and keep that cash in your pocket. So whether you’re traveling across the state or across the world, charge up your tablet or smartphone of choice, head to the app store and check out some of the best options to save you time and money while planning your next trip.
Since you are going to be relying on that mobile device on the go, one of the new necessities is finding free or very cheap Wi-Fi sources wherever you may be. So let’s start there, by downloading the Free Wi-Fi Finder app, available for both Android and iOS devices. Simply launch the app and a GoogleMap will pop up, showing you everywhere in the vicinity you can hop on the world wide web without paying a dime. It’s a great tool to keep handy when you’re a stranger in a strange land and need to make additional plans in a hurry.
If you’ve yet to leave home, or if you’re in a foreign destination and want to keep the trip going, download the Kayak app. Kayak is one of the best discount travel sites out there, and the app they’ve created is highly sophisticated. You can download it for free on any device, and you’ll be able to hunt out cheap hotels and airfare rates based on a wide range of criteria. You may not want to do your final booking here, but as far as research is concerned there’s probably nothing better.
When it comes to coordinating your travel plans, time is of the essence. You’ve got flights, transfers, car rental packages and hotels to confirm, and each confirmation number is in a different email. You’re liable to lose track of something. Streamline your organization with the Tripit app. It’s also completely free, and available for almost every device. Tripit basically acts as your one-stop itinerary planner. Once you download the app and open an account you simply forward each confirmation email to a dedicated Tripit email address, and the app puts them all together in one detailed itinerary. It will even look up driving directions and maps, and tell you what the weather will be like when you arrive.
While Yelp is a fantastic app, you really have to know what you’re looking for and be willing to spend the time to read all those reviews. When you’re away from home that can sometimes cause more questions than answers. So check out the free app AroundMe, also available for almost any mobile device. Launch this one and it will immediately show you all available options in every category in your vicinity. Then you can narrow it down to hotels, restaurants, ATMs or whatever else you might be looking for. Finally it will give you step-by-step directions on how to get there. It might not save you money like orbitz and travelocity coupons can, but it will help you locate several similar options and then choose the cheaper one. And you won’t have to wander around with that ‘deer in the headlights’ tourist look.