Technology and travel apps have changed the way people travel. Nowadays, with a few swipes and a few clicks, you can easily book flights, hotels, and even transportation. Not only has technology revolutionized the way people travel, it also makes everything 100% easier and cheaper too! Here is a list of Travel Apps that we often use while we are on the road to help us save both time and money.
Couchsurfing Travel App
Couchsurfing probably has to be one of our favorite travel apps which we regularly use when we are on the road. When I first started Couchsurfing two years ago, I was a bit apprehensive. I thought it was odd for a stranger to welcome you into their home, expecting absolutely nothing in return. However, after my first couchsurfing experience, needless to say, I was hooked! Through Couchsurfing, I had met so many amazing people along the way. We use it not to save money but mainly because we think it’s a great way to meet and interact with local people. We’ve couchsurfed in Rome, Chicago, Granada, Nice, and many other places where we just ended up having the best time due to the gracious hospitality of our hosts.
How it Works: You log on the app, input your destination then contact potential hosts. We highly recommend that you take the time to read the hosts profile. Remember, Couchsurfing is a community and not just a hotel room for the night. Once your hosts approves your stay, all you have to do is show up!
Another App which we constantly used in Europe was the GoEuro travel app. With just a few clicks, we could check and compare the schedule of buses, trains, and flights. Now I do admit it took me a while to convert to this app as Skyscanner is usually my trusty go to flight app. However, I loved the fact that I could compare all three methods (train, bus flight) all in one go. No more switching from one app to the next. When we were in Europe, GoEuro really helped us plan our trip accordingly, allowing us to stretch our budget even more. It provides you with a real time comparison, allowing you to get the best price for whatever mode of transport you choose. We also use their web version often but their mobile app just made things easier and more convenient, allowing us to check while we are on the go.
How it Works: Log on to the App, input your route and it will immediately give you your options on how to get from one place to the next. It compares the prices of bus companies, trains, and flights in real time which we love. The best part is you can pay for it right then and there. Transport made easy! (READ: The Best Ways to Travel Around Europe)
For unorganized travellers like Tom and I who have multiple flight and bus bookings, a good travel organizer is essential. Gone are the days when you used to lug around a plastic folder with all your travel bookings. Instead, you can store everything in one place. Amazing isn’t it? Although there are multiple ones, our top pick is Tripit. All you have to do is once you’ve made your online booking, you can just forward it to an email and it automatically updates and creates your itinerary. Everything from your hotel and flight bookings all the way to even car rental bookings. That way, when you need the reference/booking number, theres no need to sort through thousands of emails. As soon as you open the app, voila! All the information you need is there. This is a godsend as when we are traveling, we can barely keep track of dates and times, let alone transport booking numbers! Although this doesn’t directly save us a lot of money, it sure helps save us time, which for us is valuable!
How it Works: You email all your bookings from buses, flights, to hotels to this email address and they automatically add it to your itinerary. We love that you can access the itinerary from anywhere, even when you’re offline.
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Airbnb is a staple app for us, specially when we are in bigger cities. To us, over the course of time, Airbnb has just saved us so much money. In New York, it was either a $70 hotel room in some far flung area or a $35 Airbnb apartment close to the airport. We’ve used it all over North America and while we were in the UK as well and absolutely love it. Our favorite part is the fact that we get all the amenities of being in a home like the use of a kitchen to make breakfast and coffee. Their app is fairly easy to use, integrating a quick messaging system which you can use to message your host for any questions. Still not a member of Airbnb? Use our sign up code and get $20 free travel credit!
How it Works: You log on the app, input your destination, and find a place to stay in which suites your budget. You can add different types of filter to make your search easier. You can narrow things down by location, price, etc. It is awesome!
When we were in the UK, we admit that we weren’t the best at planning things. We were simply going with the flow which turned out to be pretty expensive! I guess we were so used to how cheap everything is in Asia that we forgot that you couldn’t just hop on a bus to get to one place. We visited Tom’s sister in Birmingham one weekend and found ourselves having to pay almost 40 pounds (each!) for a 2 hour bus back to Cardiff. This definitely threw us on edge as we usually travel on a tight budget. However, with a few basic searches, we found Bla Bla car, a ride sharing innovator which allows you to find a person who is driving a similar route, allowing you to essentially, hitch a ride for a fraction of the cost of public transportation.
Similar to any sharing economy business, you can see the profile of the person you are riding with and read the testimonials of others who have shared rides with them. If you have a car, you can also sign up and list your rides which essentially helps you out with travel costs. They are operational in a couple of countries across Europe and in India. Definitely something to keep in mind when traveling abroad. What would have been an 80 pound journey ended up costing us 28 pounds.
How it Works: You input your route, find someone traveling to the same destination, ask questions if you have any, then book the ride. That person then has 12 hours to confirm a slot for their trip. You can also read reviews on the driver so you get an idea on their musical taste, driving skills, etc.
Trail Wallet is a great app which we constantly use while we are on the road. Designed by two backpackers, this app helps you keep track of all your expenses. Whats great about it is you can have multiple trips with different currencies. You can also set a daily budget where fun avatars can give you updates on how you are doing on your spending. When traveling, this is our number one go to app to help us stay within our travel budget. It also gives you a small breakdown on how you spend your money which is great! Unfortunately, based on our experience, we always get sheepish when we look back and see how much we’ve spent on beers. (READ: Travel Gadgets and Apps we Can’t Live Without)
How it Works: First thing that you do is you set a trip, add the proper currency, and budget. Then, every time you have an expense, you input it in. Everything from buying bottled water to how much your hostel costs. The information is presented in such a fun and simple way which is one of the reasons why we love it so much.
Cost: FREE! Unlimited expense entries $4.99 (Download here: iOs)
Award Wallet is a cool service which we recently discovered. For all you frequent fliers out there, this app is a must! It tracks all your points and miles and keeps it all in one place. If you are anything like me who flies all the time but has no idea how many points these flights can potentially earn, then I suggest you get downloading. Apart from their app, their blog is also pretty useful as it give tips on which cards gives you the most points and how to combine your miles for free holidays to places like Hawaii. Ummm…free flights? Yes please.
How it Works: Award Wallet stores all your travel accounts, updates your balance on a weekly basis, and even sends you reminders when your miles are close to expiring. You can also keep track of multiple people’s miles all with just one account. It really is a pretty nifty tool for those who enjoy travel hacking.
Without a doubt, these apps have saved us a good amount of money over the course of the last few years. Whether its a few dollars here and there, in the long run, we love the ease and convenience of these apps. If you want more tips, check out this article on travel banking and how you can avoid pesky fees. How about you? What are your favorite travel apps? We would love to hear!