I plan a lot of trips. It’s kind of my thing! I enjoy doing it and my friends will often ask my advice when planning their own trips. So, now that we’re friends I’m going to share with you the best apps that I use to make planning trips as simple as a press of a button.
Never pay full price for a flight again! Have you heard all those tips about the perfect time to book your flight? People say the rule of thumb is 70 days out, but who has the time to monitor flight prices manually? Hopper is an app that does all that work for you. Just input your travel destination and dates. You’ll get a push notification when it’s time to book! You can also use this app to save money by comparing the prices of different nearby airports or slightly adjusting your travel dates.
Ok, hear me out. I know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers, but some of the kindest people I’ve ever met has been through Couchsurfing. What’s the best way to discover a new place? Staying with friends who live there! Whether you have a spare room, an open couch, or just some floor space, Couchsurfing is a unique app that connects you with other travelers and hosts across the globe who are paying it forward with free room and board. It’s a vast community built on trust and the camaraderie of a nomadic life. If you’re feeling apprehensive I recommend hosting a few times before taking the plunge out in the couch world.
3. Air Bnb
If Couchsurfing is a little too adventurous for you,Air Bnb is the next best thing. Tired of cookie-cutter hotel rooms? Want a home away from home? You can rent a room, shared space, or an entire house as your home-base in a new city. Most of the homes I’ve stayed in have been personalized for travelers, providing city guides and recommendations picked by the host. For the best experience, make sure you stay with a Superhost! Hosts with this prestigious title must maintain a minimum rating of 4.8, respond to 90% of requests, host 10 times per year, and be 100% reliable with zero cancellations. They’ve got hospitality down to a science.
Are you traveling internationally? Learning the language of a new place can be incredibly helpful if you get lost or just want to interact authentically with the locals. I’ve found that showing people you took the time and effort to learn about their language and culture makes them a lot more willing to help and befriend you. Usually when I’m booking an international trip I give myself 7-8 months of wiggle room to practice the language, and that’s more than enough time to become conversational with Duolingo. You can learn more than 30 languages (even High Valyrian and Klingon) and the app uses graphic and audio cues to help you learn faster. Honestly, even if you’re not planning on traveling anywhere this is a really cool app.
5. Google Maps
As much as I love being spontaneous, I’m a natural planner.Google Maps let’s me be both! The trick is creating custom maps. When you’re in the app, you can start dropping and saving pins by searching different points of interest, restaurants, and bars (feel free to try it out with some of my suggested points of interest in Orlando). Then when you’re out exploring in a new city and you decide you want to stop somewhere for a bite to eat, you can see what’s nearby on your list of must-see places. This gives you the freedom to explore without a timetable and also maintain the high quality of a custom curated adventure.
In need of some inspiration for your next destination?Pinterest is the holy grail of travel inspo and my first stop anytime I’m planning a trip. Searching for “things to do in ____” is guaranteed to supply you with an endless feed of travel bloggers’ itineraries and photography. In my spare time, I find myself scrolling and pinning hundreds of aesthetically pleasing travel-related bits that cheer me up when I’m feeling stifled. You can start your vision board just like mine!
7. Google Sheets
It’s time to get organized! Now that you know where you want to go, where you’re going to stay, and how to get there, you need somewhere to keep all this information. My medium of choice is a spreadsheet because I can have multiple pages for different functions and sort days into columns. Google Sheets is great because you can access everything from your phone and it’s a live document that can be shared across multiple users and devices. This is perfect for planning a trip with a large group or collaborating with friends. A trick I like to use is building a day’s itinerary in a column and then taking a screenshot and saving it as your phone background. That way, you can easily glance at your plans and make sure you don’t miss that brewery tour you scheduled months ago!
Do you use any of these apps or have your own favorites that you don’t see here? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear your suggestions!