What are the best travel planning tools in 2017? Thanks to AI and a lot of ingenuity, travel planning apps and websites are becoming better by the day. Here are 15 (mostly) free and useful travel planning tools.
Apps for Finding Airfare Deals
This airfare tracker app finds low-cost flight deals and sends notifications when it detects massive price drops, error fares, or flash sales.
- $9.99 per month
- iOS only
Register your flight on Freebird up to two days before departure, and if it gets canceled or delayed by four hours, book a new ticket on any airline.
- Fees start at $19 for a one-way flight.
- No app download required.
Use this website to find “hidden city” one-way tickets with a stopover where you get off the plane instead of continuing on to the destination on your ticket— they’re often cheaper than a nonstop fare: “We’re so good, United Airlines actually sued us for it!”
- Apps are available on Android and iOS
Get compensated for canceled, delayed, or overbooked flights. AirHelp advocates on behalf of disrupted travelers. The average reimbursement is more than $500 per claim.
- AirHelp makes its money by takes a 25 percent cut.
Apps for Dealing With Layovers
If you’ve only got minutes to spare for a meal before boarding your flight, Grab will let you look at airport restaurant menus ahead of time, map them in the terminal, order in advance and pick up your food on the way to the gate.
- The app currently serves 174 eateries at 17 airports in the U.S.
Are you in for an extra-long layover? Use the Dayuse.com app to book a hotel room near the airport for a few hours to grab a shower, take a nap, or just freshen up after a red-eye.
Best of all? Dayuse offers hotel rooms for up to 75 percent off regular nightly rates at 3,000 hotels around the world.
Apps for Getting Directions
7. Cool Cousin
Use Cool Cousin to get recommendations for unique things to do from savvy locals in 14 (so far) destinations. Their suggestions aren’t ones you will find in a typical guidebook; expect hip new spots in emerging neighborhoods.
- Just iOS app for now, with Android on the way
Sidekix is an urban route planner will help you find the best way to get somewhere. What makes the app interesting is that it doesn’t always give you the shortest route.
Instead, Sidekix will recommend the best walking directions, based on your interests and what you want to do. Looking for a trendy cafe for a lunch on your way to an art gallery? The app relies on suggestions from in-the-know locals.
Streetography is a map-based photo sharing app for iOS. The app lets you preview neighborhoods by viewing user-generated photos. You can take a look at a neighborhood before deciding to stay there.
- “Better photos than Google Maps.”
Walc you directions based on easy-to-spot landmarks. A Pocket Mode feature gives step-by-step audio directions. Just plug in your ear buds, and you won’t have to constantly pull out your phone.
Apps to Plan Your Itinerary
PlanChat lets socially-connected travelers easily collaborate to create perfect group itineraries. Add restaurants, activities, and sightseeing ideas, plus keep track of expenses.
- Also use PlanChat to share photos and videos with your travel group.
Journy bills itself as a “travel agent and concierge rolled into one.” The travel app will construct a detailed, personalized itinerary that includes the best restaurants, sights, and events for your trip. Fees start at $15 per day, and repeat customers can sign up for a flat-rate membership.
- iOS only
13. Google Trips
Google’s new travel app pulls hotel and flight data right from your Gmail account to automatically create trip portfolios in order to create instantly accessible destination-specific city guides.
Google’s app uses your consumer behavior history (if you receive invoices and receipts from online purchases in your Gmail account) to determine personal preferences, and then create custom-tailored travel recommendations for restaurants, local events, and activities.
Just Plain Useful and Interesting Apps
Battle jet lag and reset your sleep clock with the help of “binaural beats”—repetitive sounds that create a relaxed mental state.
Besides helping you sleep, the beats are supposed to help you improve focus and attention, foster learning and reduce anxiety.
Learn more about the language and culture of your destination with classes on a variety of topics in more than 200 tongues.
What’s Your Favorite Travel App?
Do you have a favorite travel app? Let us know in the comments!