Traveling, while fun and enjoyable, requires a lot of planning, particularly for overseas trips. You have to book a flight, secure a visa (if necessary), plot an itinerary, secure accommodations and set a budget accordingly. After you get the basics down, then you can allow some leeway for a bit of spontaneity. The easiest route is to avail tour packages, but where’s the fun in that?
If you prefer DIY trips, here are some useful apps to help you pin down the nitty-gritty of travel planning.
This popular app allows you to find budget-friendly options worldwide. The great thing about Airbnb is that it allows you to be in direct contact with locals with plenty of options depending on your budget and comfort level. Some hosts are even generous enough to offer to take you around during their free time. Just make sure you do your research when searching for viable accommodation to avoid bad experiences. Read the feedback from former guests and check out your host’s other profiles online to get a general sense of their character and trust rating.
Cool Cousin is as cool as its name. This app caters to travelers looking to experience a destination through the eyes of a local. The app gives you unique and off-the-beaten-path recommendations on places of interest, hip spots and unique activities you can try in places like Paris and London as curated by a local musician, chef or an online florist. You can also register as a Cousin, which means you can give your own suggestions about new and emerging trendy locations to explore in your hometown.
Download on iTunes
Packing is a pain in the you-know-what. Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue yet again. Packpoint is a nifty little app which generates a list of items you need to pack depending on your destination and trip duration. You can also input activities on your travel itinerary to get a more detailed breakdown of things to pack. There are still areas for improvement since the algorithm can’t take into account how low or high maintenance you are, so you can add or remove items depending on your needs.
This is likely the heart and soul of the planning process. TripIt is your ultimate itinerary organizer. You can take all the bits of pieces of information into one beautiful dashboard to make sure your trip goes smoothly. You just forward all your travel information—flight details, itinerary, bookings—to a Tripit email and you’ll receive notifications and recommendations based on the details you provided, including directions to your flight’s gate, the appropriate bus stop, among others. It’s like having your very own personal assistant!
Face it, not everyone’s a polyglot. Sure you can up your Duolingo game prior to your big vacation, but you can’t exactly be fluent even with months of preparation. So when you’re going to a country where there aren’t a lot of English-speaking locals to answer your touristy questions, Google Translate is your very own language barrier arbitrator. Want to eat at an authentic Japanese restaurant? You can snap a pic of the menu and the app will provide a rough translation to give you a general idea of what food fare you’re getting. Having trouble asking for directions? Type in your question and the app will translate to the native language to ask in the vernacular. Then you can do the same to their answer. It’s a bit of a back and forth, but at least you won’t be completely clueless when left to your own devices.
To get the best-priced flights to your destination, you can use Hopper to help you find the cheapest option. Since flights costs can bounce up and down, seemingly unpredictably, Hopper predicts when flights are at their cheapest. Just enter your preferred travel dates and Hopper will tell you when you can get the cheapest rate for your flight.