When I tell people that my day job is a host and producer of a travel TV shows, I tend to get a lot of surprised looks because let’s be honest, it’s not exactly normal. Inevitably I get follow up questions about how frequently we travel (which is every month) and any travel tips I have picked up along the way (which are numerous). Oh man are there are certain travel apps I cannot live without. They make traveling 1000 times easier and are great for bigger groups of people. So here are my top picks for the best travel apps of 2018, aka the ones I love to use.
This is hands down my go-to app for booking flights. Unlike other apps, it actually searches all of the airlines – including Southwest! It is extremely user friendly and gives you tons of options. My favorite feature is that you can search flights out of all the airports in a given area. For example, I live in Fort Worth but there are 2 airports I can fly out of – Dallas Love Field and DFW. So instead of having to run two different searches for these airports individually, I can click all Dallas area airports and search for flights out of both of them at the same time. Oh and then they take you to the actual airline to book your flight, so you’re not booking through a third party. It can be used on your phone or computer. It’s an overall 10/10.
While SkyScanner is my favorite app for scheduling flights, Hopper is great for watching prices. It has a feature called “watch” where you plug in your preferred departing airport and arrival airport. You can select hard dates you’d like to travel, a month, or my favorite “anytime.” The search results show the price of flights for entire months, allowing you to get the best deals if you have flexibility in your travel schedule. If you have to travel on specific dates, they are great for that too because the app will update you on the price of flights on those dates. I.e. if they are increasing, decreasing, and when they think you should pull the trigger on the flight to get the best rate. This feature alone is worth it’s weight in gold and the reason Hopper makes my top list of best travel apps!
I love using this for my personal vacations or for getting into airports that are smaller. For example, I love to ski in Big Sky Montana but flying into Bozeman, MT can be expensive so I put a “watch” on the dates we wanted to go and let the app tell me when the prices were at their lowest before booking. It saved me a couple hundred dollars! It also has the feature to search multiple airports at one time and is very user friendly.
Some cons: it is only available on your phone and I think the function of the app is better for if you are scheduling travel farther out or have flexibility with your travel dates.
When I first heard about this app, I was kinda skeptical. I’m not one who enjoys booking hotels the day of and couldn’t really see the practicality of it in my life. But there are so many situations where it has saved us. Traveling is unpredictable – a flight might get cancelled causing you to spend an extra night in a city. Maybe you’re driving somewhere and get the sleepies and need to stop for the night. What if you just want to try out the fancy new hotel downtown but don’t want to pay full price? This is where HotelTonight shines. When (not if) your travel plans go to pot and you need a hotel room, not only will this one show you the lowest rates and a map of exactly where it is, but you never pay full price and the prices drop as the day goes on. It’s pure genius. We’ve booked really fancy hotels for the price of a Holiday Inn the day of – turning a cancelled flight situation into a pretty great plan B. Oh and it’s not just for tonight. You can book up to 100 days out!
I’ve extolled the virtues of renting an airbnb for a large group over a hotel in this post and I’ll say it again here. I love AirBNB! The brief reasons are 1) some sort of kitchen situation which allows you to fix meals like breakfast and save money 2) the locations can be better for exploring cities 3) if you have a huge group, there isn’t the isolation of going off into different hotel rooms – you’re all in the same house! 4) typically much more cost effective. Their app saves your trips, both past and upcoming, and puts you in direct contact with your host. Which is why AirBNB will probably never not be on my list of best travel apps.
Those are my big 4 best travel apps. Each app has a slightly different function that when working together, make you a travel goddess. In my next travel guide, I’ll tell you the easiest hacks to travel smoother!