Travel 5 Nifty Travel Apps to Help Plan Your Next Trip

Hey, you like to travel? Awesome, same.

But tell me: Does the thought of planning your trip actually tickle your loins? Maybe for some people it does, but I'd wager that when we fantasize about, say, a trip to Fiji, we picture ourselves already lying on the beach, toes dug into the soft white sand, and basking under the never-ending glow of the Pacific sun; not hunched over our computers, analyzing the best airfare deal, scrolling through hotels and accommodation options, combing through travel guides, and pulling out our hair over all the FOMO.

For me, it's a process I look forward to inasmuch as I look forward to getting a cavity filled. But like eating leafy greens and drinking plenty of water, proper planning makes for smooth sailing later. Thankfully, anyone can now turn to myriad apps to bear the brunt of the hassle that comes with planning.

Here are five apps for the traveler who hates planning trips.


Hopper

Predicts when flight fares will drop with crazy accuracy so you know exactly when to book
Free on iOS and Android

Normally, I roll my eyes at all of those "best time to buy airfare" apps, but a friend who hates planning almost as much I do introduced this app to me. As it turns out, Hopper is awesome at telling you when to pull the trigger on airfare, so you don't regret missing out on that deal from a couple days prior because you were too busy second-guessing yourself and being distracted by the lint in your navel.

You pick your destination first. Then you'll see a calendar that shows you the best days for the airfare, color-coded by least to most expensive, over a six-month period. Hopper predicts how much fares will increase and when, based on historical data and algorithms. It then renders a well-informed "Buy now!" command that you should probably listen to.

Here are Hopper's predictions for cheap flights this month. If you want Hopper to keep an eye on specific flights for you, it can do that too, and send you a notification when it's time to book. My friend was able to get $100 round-trip tickets from Los Angeles to Houston within a couple of days of "looking." Not too shabby.

 

PackPoint

Creates a custom packing list for you based on your trip details
$2.99 on iOS and Android

One of the more stressful points of travel for me is wondering whether I've packed enough. As a general rule of thumb, you only want to take what you'll absolutely need and use, but if you're schlepping a bunch of stuff to faraway, unfamiliar lands, it's hard to know what you'll need for sure.

First, consult our packing pro-tips from military personnel, then download PackPoint. It creates your packing list for you based on your itinerary, weather, possible activities, and other considerations for your trip. For example, if you're traveling for business and want to work out, you can opt for business-casual clothes or business-formal attire, along with workout stuff, and it'll generate a list of clothing, gadgets, toiletries, and any other original items you want to include. Once you've made a packing list for a specific trip, you can save the list for future trips or share it with other people.


GeoSure

Provides essential info about your destination and tips for staying safe 
Free on iOS and Android

It's more important than ever to keep on top of events and circumstances that might compromise your safety abroad. GeoSure collects data from sources like the CDC, the World Health Organization, the United Nations, local authorities, and more, then provides a safety score for your destination that reflects potential health risks, political unrest, threats to women, and environmental hazards. It even gives crowd-sourced information about thefts and street crime that have occurred in any given area, and tells you when it's safe to walk or if it's better to take a cab.

 

Google Trips

Saves all your reservations in one place, creates custom itineraries, and gives you recs on what to do
Free on iOS and Android

Leave it to the wizards at Google to try to be the masters of everything, though to their credit, they did a bang-up job with this app. When you touch down, Google Trips simplifies where to go, what to do, what to see, or where to eat -- even when you're offline. Just download the city before you embark on your journey to have anytime access. Even if you're going to multiple cities, Google Trips can compile them under one trip and point out nearby attractions, the places to chow down, transportation information, nearby hospitals, and how much to tip (super handy). If you want, the app can map out half- or even full-day itineraries for you to follow. (Also, definitely check out Thrillist's DestiNATION city guides -- they're packed with expert advice and recs from locals on what to do in NOLA, Vegas, Austin, and Miami just to name a few.)

Similar apps require you to forward your reservations to an external email address, but with Google Trips, all you need is a Gmail account and it'll automatically populate your flight, hotel, ground transportation, restaurant, and any other trip-related reservations. This does mean that if you don't use Gmail, Google Trips loses some luster. (And if you're concerned about privacy, you may want to check out TripCase, which also collects all of your trip information in one place.)

 

Sidekix

A map-based city guide to cool spots and things to do in your vicinity 
Free on iOS and Android

This is like the unclaimed love child of Yelp and Google Maps, an urban exploration planner that lets you download city guides chock-full of places to eat, drink, and see, and how to get there. You'll have no trouble getting in-the-know within major cities, as the app already has destinations such as Los Angeles, London, Boston, and more (with more cities being added continuously) on lock.

Sidekix is an amazing companion for anyone who likes to meander places on foot. The app maps out the best walking directions based on what you're into and want to see or do, and as you walk, points of interest, such as museums, bars, or coffee shops, pop up on your map. If something catches your eye, tap on it and learn more about the business and other people's experiences in a Yelp-esque way.

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About the author: Stephanie Lee travels the world with her laptop and writes about the amazing and the ugly of a traveling freelancing life at FY!S, a website to help digital nomads stay in shape, productive, and sane. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Screenshot via Geosure/Evan Lockhart/Thrillist

 

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17 May 2017


By Stephanie Lee