SUMMER IS COMING !! If you’ve already combed through tried-and-true travel websites like Hipmunk, Airbnb, and Lonely Planet, try one of these legit amazing, lesser-known apps before you set your next itinerary in stone.
(Let us know if we left your favorite off the list!)
There are over 20,000 destinations, plus detailed adventures from bikers, hikers, climbers, skiiers and more, in this app. You can filter activities by sport or location, and share potential trips directly to your squad via email or text.
Trying to save money? Opt for a bus or train ticket instead! Wanderu finds fares between Amtrak, Bolt, Megabus, and other companies for popular routes like Washington D.C. to New York, Seattle to Vancouver, and San Francisco to Los Angeles. The app also features deals and a cool route comparison tool.
3. Wherefor (web) shows you where you can go based on your budget.
Plug in how much you want to spend and Wherefor will show you some places you can go, based on flights and acommodations within your budget.
One problem with this site is that it only shows you prices for hotels. In many cities, you can stay in hostels or Airbnbs at a much lower price. But if you have a credit card that rewards you for staying at hotels or want a more traditionally luxurious getaway, Wherefor is a good resource.
4. Download the MyTSA (free, iOS and Android) app right now if you’re constantly packing, er, unique things (like frozen breast milk).
Can I pack frozen breast milk? Are backpacking stoves permitted? The secretly useful MyTSA can answer those questions and more. You can get information like security wait times, current weather, and how to apply for TSA Precheck (the most magical thing in the world).
You don’t need a first-class ticket to shower, access WiFi, or down some cocktails before your next flight. This app has photos, lists of amenities, and reviews from different airport lounges around the world. Access can be purchased through the app as well.
6. DogVacay (free, web, iOS, and Android) will connect you with a pet-friendly sitter while you travel.
Dog Vacay is very convenient for finding someone to look after your pup or kitty near you. You can read reviews and pay through the app, too! Depending on the host, you should expect to pay $40 to $80 per night.
7. Little Peanut On the Go (free w/ in-app purchase, iOS and Android) helps you build packing lists for your kids.
Going on vacation takes a *lot* of coordination when you’re planning for a small army of children. This app can help you build kid-centric packing and to-do lists, so you don’t leave anything behind.
If you’re leaving the tots in the care of someone else, you can create a family profile, which includes emergency contacts, allergies, doctors, dentists, and medical facilities. You can also input your child’s daily agenda by scheduling things like regular nap and meal times or extracurricular activities.
The app is free to download, but if you want to share schedules with a sitter or the grandparents, you’ll need to fork over a $3.
8. Mobile Passport (free, iOS and Android) will let you skip the immigration and customs line at certain U.S. airports.
If you are a U.S. citizen with a U.S. passport, a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport, or on a B1 or B2 visa, then you can (and should!) use this app, created in partnership with the Customs and Border Protection agency. It creates a time sensitive QR code that will be scanned by a border protection officer upon re-entry.
For now Mobile Passport can be used in ATL, MIA, SEA, ORD, FLL, and SFO airports with more to come.
This website/app is amazing because it can both renew your US passport, and create a 2×2-inch passport photo for you. ItsEasy is a government-approved agent that can send you a trackable shipping label for a renewed passport after you’ve submitted the appropriate documents.But it isn’t exactly cheap: Keep in mind that renewals through the Department of State cost $110. ItsEasy charges a fee of $29.95 on top of the Department of State’s $110 cost of renewing a passport when using the app.
Skiplagged can find cheap tickets you won’t see on other sites through the ~magic~ of connecting flights. Say you’re looking for a flight from San Francisco to Chicago. For some reason, there may be a flight from San Francisco to New York with a layover in Chicago that’s cheaper than a direct flight to Chicago. Skiplagged will show you if that’s an option, in which case you’ll purchase the SF to NY ticket, and miss your New York connection.
But there are some caveats: you won’t be able to check bags, you can only book two one-ways instead of a round-trip, and in case of bad weather, your layover destination may be removed. There isn’t full feature parity with the app yet, so you may want to search on desktop at Skiplagged.com.
11. Hitlist (free, iOS) shows you great deals to “dream destinations.”
WARNING: this is an extremely dangerous app. Set your local airport and Hitlist will notify you when there’s a spectacular flight deal. It skews more on the international side, so if you’re a traveler looking to experience a different culture, this is your app.
On Hitlist, you can mark which destinations you’re interested in, then find friends who want to go to the same place The app also rates flight prices as “good,” “great,” or “spectacular.” Based on the deal, Hitlist can offer a number of itineraries, ranging from a few days to several weeks. My favorite feature is Weekend Getaways, which shows you sales for Friday through Sunday travel.
12. Hopper (free, iOS and Android) makes airfare predictions based on an analysis of trillions of flight prices.
If your schedule is more flexible, Hopper can show you what months are the best time to fly, based on price. The app’s best feature is a color-coded calendar of potential travel dates. Once you choose your dates, it will tell you to “wait” (in which case you’ll get notifications when prices drop) or “buy” if it thinks the price will go up in the future. One thing to note: Hopper doesn’t include flights on Delta, Easyjet, Ryanair, or Southwest Airlines.
13. GTFO (free, iOS) lists the best roundtrip flights leaving from your airport of choice tonight and tomorrow.
Feeling spontaneous? The app, which was released by Hopper, connects you with insane last-minute deals to domestic and international cities.
This app is a powerful search engine with a clean, minimal interface. Because Jetradar includes a lot of low-cost airlines like EasyJet and Ryan Air in its results, it’s best for European travel.
You can narrow searches by number of stops, price, journey time, layover duration, airports and more. Plus you can add flight itineraries to your favorites list and track price changes.
This app is great because of its simple and easy-to-understand interface. It has everything you’d expect from a travel booking app: flight search within a budget, price calendar, filters, and hotel deals.
One of my favorite features is that Momondo syncs your search history and favorite flights and hotels, so you can search from one device and book the actual flight with another.
16. The Guestbook (free, web) offers cash back for staying at boutique hotels.
You’ll earn 5% through PayPal or gift cards, and can earn up to 10% with Guestbook-only “Trip Cash”.
The downside to this site is that selection is limited (it didn’t have any hotels available for the Nicaraguan town I’m visiting) – but there are plenty of options all over the U.S. and Europe, with a handful scattered throughout southeast Asia, and South America.
17. Overnight (free, iOS) is an Airbnb alternative that specializes in same-day, last-minute bookings.
Like Airbnb, Overnight connects travelers with local hosts. The difference is that it’s built for same-day stays, which makes it a great app for spontaneous road trippers.
19. Detour (free w/ in-app purchases, iOS) crafts immersive audio-based walking tours for cities around the world.
The app tapped journalists and filmmakers to produce engaging audio adventures. You can plug in a pair of headphones and learn about landmarks in San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Marrakech, Austin, and NYC with Chicago and Los Angeles coming soon.
Whether you’re a tourist or local, you’re bound to learn something new with these incredibly immersive 10-hour long walks. You can sync up the audio with a group and use the GPS location tracking to get pointed in the right direction.
If you’re traveling via car, this is the *ultimate* app. It can show you cool points of interest, restaurants, places to stay, attractions and more along your planned drive. Filter by activity or distance – and make your trip about the journey and not the destination!
Whether you want something kid-friendly or off the beaten path, Peek’s probably got it. For now, travelers can find activities in 17 major U.S. areas (including Hawaii) plus Mexico, London, and Paris.
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