Before you Leave:
- Skyscanner – This app (and website) can be used to book flights, car rentals, and even hotels. They search many different sites to give you the best deals. You can play around with flexible dates, “cheapest month,” and fly “everywhere” to save big.
- Rome2 Rio compares the difference in price between flights, trains, buses, and even car shares. You can sort results by time, price, etc. It even factors in time to and from the airport to give you a more realistic comparison. This app only works for Europe but it is a good tool nonetheless.
- Hostelworld is the best search engine for hostels. Just search a city, your dates, and the number of people in your group to get a list of hostels available. They have a great rating system that factors in cleanliness, location, security, staff and more to give you a comprehensive overview of each hostel. The site also includes pictures and reviews.
- Airbnb – If you’re unsure about hostels, Airbnb is a great alternative. Find private rooms or entire houses in locations all over the world. Airbnb now includes “experiences” with day trips and tours such as wine tasting, horseback riding, and concerts. Airbnb is also rolling out Airbnb Plus which includes properties verified for quality and comfort in a growing number of cities around the world.
- Duolingo – A few weeks before you leave, consider downloading Duolingo, a free language-learning app. They include courses on most major languages such as Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. Daily lessons include speaking, typing, and reading. It couldn’t hurt to pick up a few phrases before your trip!
While You’re There
- CityMaps2Go – This offline map is a must when traveling abroad. You can download a city, region, or even a whole country that is accessible without data or internet. The app allows you to save different locations on the maps with personalized labels that you can color-code. Some locations also include reviews.
- Viator is my favorite app/website to book day trips and tours. Just search for your destination to browse the most popular excursions. Though most of the tours are operated by local companies, you can book through the Viator website itself which makes things easy!
- Whats App is commonly used overseas to avoid incurring mobile charges. This messaging app works over wifi and allows you to send text, photos, or video. Just sync it to your Facebook and be sure to tell people that you want to stay in touch with back home, to download it as well.
- Google Translate allows you to not only translate text, but now supports conversation, voice search, handwriting search, and it can even translate signs and printed text in real time using the camera. You can also download entire languages so that you can translate while offline.
When you Return
- Service is an app that searches your email for flight confirmations and itineraries then monitor the flight for cancellations or delays. If you have been on a flight that was delayed or canceled, Service will automatically file a claim with the airline. If you receive compensation, Service keeps 30% but the other 70% goes directly to you.
- Afterlight: This app is great for editing all the beautiful photos you took while on your trip. It includes color filters, light filters, borders, and even dust effects. It also allows you to fine-tune your pictures with color curves, selective saturation and hue, and color gradients and overlays.