There are thousands of travel apps - here's why these 5 make all the difference
I'm a bonafide list gal. My travel planning isn't complete without stacks of paper (printer, loose leaf, construction), Post-it notes, pens, highlighters, the works! But I now have some new tools in my arsenal and they're not paper based! There are hundreds of apps (maybe even thousands) that can make travel more efficient, more affordable - and more fun - but only a handful make the grade on each and every trip.
These are the 5 that I use the most -whether I'm on assignment blogging or traveling for fun. Check them out and let me know how they work for you - and let me know if there's any new apps I should try on my next trip!
Getting there: SkyScanner
If you're looking to find every possible flight, know which flight is truly the cheapest, or want to see comparative prices to know if your 'good deal' really IS good - this is the app you'll need. Also fun: you can plug in your point of origin and then select 'everywhere' as your destination - a great choice for anyone who's dreaming of an escape and doesn't care where it is. SkyScanner doesn't actually sell flights (though if you find the flight you want, you can click through and be directed to the respective airlines' website). They make their money by hosting small ads on their site, so if you prefer your apps ad free, you can pay a small premium to upgrade.
Keeping it all organized: TripIt
Perfect for a do-it-yourself travel organizer. This app syncs with your email to store and organize all your reservations, event confirmations, and more. And it will even bring up maps to correspond with your hotel reservations. The pro version is a frequent traveler's best friend - it will notify you of gate changes and even flight cancellations before the airlines publicly announce it. And if you love planning trips with family and friends, you can share information with other users.
Getting around town on the ground: TomTom
Whether you're planning a road trip or renting a car at your destination, this app means you'll never struggle with a GPS or an out-of-date map again. It is expensive (about $50) and it takes up a fair bit of storage but the constant map updates (and no need for data) makes up for it. I know a lot of people prefer Google Maps but I have never found it as intuitive and user friendly as TomTom. And considering the price of data roaming (and data in general), TomTom may in fact be a cheaper GPS than Google Maps in the long run. (Bonus: You can select your routes based on the intensity of the winding roads - invaluable for the easily motion sick like me).
From silly selfie to sensational: SnapSeed
Alright, I'll admit it - there's not much you can do when you "chop off" someone's head every time you take a photo! Great photography is indeed a talent and a skill. But for those of us less talented (and believe me, I include myself in that category), there's SnapSeed. This app can quickly make anyone's photos look polished and professional. It's a simple, intuitive photo editing app that makes all the difference - allowing your pics to really pop. I especially love transforming photos into black and white - all of a sudden, an ordinary photo transforms into a work of art!
Postcards made personal: TouchNote
There's nothing like getting a piece of mail that isn't a bill, but those special notes arrive less and less frequently thanks to the decline in old fashioned letter and the rise of email and social media. TouchNote lets you bring the postcard back - and even makes it more personal, thanks to the very technology that once threatened it. It turns your photos (which look fantastic thanks to Snapseed!) into post cards that you can personalize front and back. It takes care of the printing, the mailing, everything. You can even make individual greeting cards or stacks of holiday cards! And best of all is that the price starts at $2 - not much more than buying a post card at a gift shop and walking to the post office to mail it.
What apps apply to your life?
Technology is my constant companion when I travel but I like to keep things are simple and streamlined as possible. I don't want to waste up storage space on apps that I rarely use - there's no packing app that can compete with my paper lists and I have no need for a dozen hotel booking programs. But these five are awesome and I know I'll use them on my next trip- how about you?
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