Planning your holiday travel? Don’t just rely on sticky notes and your email inbox. Thanks to all the travel apps and websites that have popped up in recent years, organizing your travel plans has never been easier.
You can find apps and sites that provide maps and directions, store and update your itineraries, confirmation numbers and awards points, help you locate the cheapest gas and airfares, monitor traffic and point you toward the best restaurants and attractions in the area.
Are you planning on traveling abroad? Check out these 20 tips for traveling the world on a budget.
Here are a few of the best travel apps.
The best travel apps for finding airfare
Google Flights, Kayak, and SkyScanner help you draw a quick baseline for the cost of flights. They also suggest alternative days to travel if you can be flexible on your travel dates to save a little money.
The best travel apps for researching hotels
The professional photos a hotel posts on its website aren’t always reflective of the truth. TripAdvisor offers thousands of consumer reviews from a large global community along with plenty of photos that have been uploaded by travelers rather than advertising professionals.
The best travel apps for keeping track of your details
Flight times, your hotel’s address, rental car company information, confirmation numbers — there are so many things you want at your fingertips when you’re traveling. TripIt and TripCase are two apps that strip out unnecessary information and put what you need to know from confirmation emails into a well-ordered itinerary.
They’re both free, but if you want to splurge, you can pay $49 annually for a more robust TripIt Pro with extra features, like notifications of gate changes and alerts when a better seat becomes available.
The best travel apps for road trips
Traveling by car? Accurate directions, traffic jams, and good places to stop en route are likely your biggest concerns, but they’re nearly impossible to plan for in advance.
iExit tells you what services are where at various U.S. highway exits so you can decide whether to wait another 30 minutes or turn off now. Roadtrippers finds all the great American roadside attractions as well as restaurants and other services that are close. And GasBuddy compares gas prices of all the nearest stations so you know where to fill up for less.
Road trips are a fun family adventure, but when everyone’s stuck in the car things can get stressful. Check out these 5 road trip tips and 5 road trip games to help you maintain a stress-free road trip environment the whole way there and the whole way back.
Of course, technology can only take you so far. Here are a few other travel tips to help you stay organized on the go.
Paper is still a good backup
As much as we love our smartphones, they’re not infallible. If you end up in an area with poor reception, drain your battery, or drop your phone in water, you’ll be relieved to have your important information offline.
Carry a well-organized folder or file with all of the necessary paperwork (confirmation numbers, hotel addresses, flight numbers, etc.) for peace of mind. Also, most city and state tourism offices have brochures packed with coupons and special offers — carry these in your file, as well, to save a little money along the way.
A broken phone can be one type of travel nightmare, but how do you handle other bumps in the road? Not to worry, we’ve put together some helpful tips on how to deal with a variety of travel nightmares so your trip will be smooth sailing!
Choose your luggage wisely
Photo by Kichigin
If you’re traveling by air, carry a suitcase that’s lightweight and sturdy with good structure. Why? Because it costs big bucks to go over the weight limit for suitcases on most airlines, and let’s be honest: Luggage handlers are not exactly careful with your bags. A sturdier suitcase will last longer.
However, if you’re traveling by car, duffel bags and other softer luggage with a less-rigid shape will help you make the most of your trunk space.
Pack like a pro
Here are a few power tips for expert packing.
- Packing cubes will keep things nicely organized so you don’t have to unpack an entire suitcase to find a single item. Plus, they’re great for keeping dirty clothes separate throughout your trip.
- Keep the clothes you know you’ll need first on top so you can change, if needed, without unpacking the rest of your bag. This is an especially good idea if you’re coming in to town right before a big event that requires a quick change.
- Store toiletries in a separate waterproof bag so that leaks and spills are contained, and bring along a few extra baggies. They almost always come in handy. Also, don’t throw out your travel-size containers — you can refill them when you get home.
- Roll your clothing instead of folding it to maximize space and prevent wrinkles and creases.
- Leave at least 15 percent of your suitcase empty to allow for souvenirs on the return trip.
Pack like a pro with 5 more travel packing tips!