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The best travel apps for planning your summer holiday
The sun is out, temperatures have reached comfortable double-figuures and several members of the GoExplore team came to the office today without a heavy coat. We’re calling it guys, winter is over – hurrah!
While the obvious thing to do now would be to run outside, buy an ice cream from the nearest vendor and frolic in the mild sunshine, there are also summer plans to be made – and besides, we’re not entirely sure what frolicking actually entails. In the olden days – y’know, like 10 years ago or something – planning a summer trip might involve flipping endlessly through brochures and talking with travel agents for a longer than you’d like to (i.e. any time at all). But with app stores now teeming with travel apps to point you in the right direction, it’s practically something you can do on your lunch break. With that in mind, here’s what you need to consider.
How to plan your holiday with travel apps;
1. Pick a destination
Well, duh. Choosing where in the world you want to travel might be an obvious step, but it can also be extremely time-consuming as you agonize over whether Sandy Beach A is more or less idyllic than Sandy Beach B. Thankfully, there are some great travel apps to help you make up your mind.
One such app is Tripnary for iOS, which takes the ‘Tinder for X’ approach to software developing to match you up with your perfect destination. Sure, it’s not a huge step forward from flipping through brochures, but by turning the decision process into a game (swipe right if you like, swipe left if you don’t) it’s strangely addictive, and you’ll leave with a clearer picture of where you might want to visit, and where you definitely don’t. Unlike Tinder dates, the chances of being rejected by a holiday destination are slim.
2. Price up flights
Perhaps we spoke to soon, as it’s now time for the moment of truth – can you actually afford to get there? The easy way to work this is out is to download Skyscanner, which pulls in the latest prices from the major airlines and lists them all in order of affordability. It’s easy to to tweak the dates and flight details within the app, and you’ll find that – with a little tinkering – getting around the world can be a lot cheaper than you think. Oh, and if you settled on a destination using Tribunary, then Skyscanner is integrated as well.
3. Book accommodation
As well as your destination, where you choose to stay is likely to be partly influenced by price. The Booking.com app has plenty of variety to help you find a room for any budget – whether it be in a reliable, well-equipped hostel or a swanky five-star hotel.
Alternatively, our top pick for booking accommodation is Airbnb, which will widen your search to the second homes and spare bedrooms of local residents. Whether you want an apartment to yourself or you’re looking to lodge with a stranger, Airbnb options are generally cheaper than hotels, and once you pickup the keys you can lean on the local knowledge of your host. Kitchen facilities are always a plus if you’re looking to save some money, too.
4. Sort your itinerary
If you’ve not got any local knowledge to lean on, then there is no shortage of travel apps to act as your guide. TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet and Time Out all offer decent options and are stacked with user reviews, but they can also be overwhelming if you’re just trying to make sense of a place.
For that reason, we like Tripsoso, which is broken down into handy categories and it’s available offline for when you’re wandering around looking lost. It’s also filled with handy written guides by members of the community, so when searching for Oslo, for instance, there were lists of where to find the best panoramic views and the 10 best microbreweries to visit in the city.
5. Last-minute packing
Okay, it doesn’t have to be last minute, but the reality is that your packing plan goes out the window on the morning of your 8AM flight, leaving you recklessly stuffing socks into a suitcase before the sun comes up. You’ve guessed it, though – there’s an app for that – in fact, there are several. While PackingPro is arguably the best of the bunch, $2.99 seems a lot for a packing app, so we’d stick with one of the free ones like PackPoint. Even if you decide to skip this stop, remember; stuff the passport in first, and anything else you can sort at the other end.