When it comes to technology, the travel industry has plenty to offer in terms of innovative solutions that can make your trip smoother, safer, more fun, less stressful, and of course, easier on your wallet. From scoring a last-minute deal on an upscale hotel to helping you zoom through U.S. Customs, the apps we’re highlighting here can help you spend more of your vacation time on what you enjoy, endure fewer hassles and maximize your travel dollars:
Hopper: Free on iOS and Android, Hopper is an incredible tool for finding the best times to book a flight or hotel at the lowest possible price. Just pick a destination, and Hopper shows you a color-coded calendar indicating their predictions on when your flight or hotel will be cheapest in the next 6-10 months or so with 95 percent accuracy. Hopper will also tell you when you can expect prices to rise. Once you’ve selected potential travel dates for your flights, Hopper will even provide recommendations on whether you should purchase now or wait, in which case they’ll send you an instant alert when the price drops. The app also gives you the option to watch the trip for hotel deals, and will notify you when they do.
HotelTonight: This app allows you to easily find and book same-day accommodations from among a selection of high-quality hotels, often at an amazing price. Available for free on iOS and Android, HotelTonight is great if you’re comfortable booking last-minute arrangements, since you can take advantage of substantial discounts hotels will offer on unsold rooms that would otherwise go empty. It also has a flexible, level-based loyalty program that’s been revamped in the past year, HT Perks. Also be aware that despite the app’s name, you can use it to book a hotel up to seven days in advance.
Google Trips: If you’ve got a day or even just a half day to explore a new city or town, Google Trips will map out suggestions of fun things to do nearby, places to eat and local attractions. Don’t like their recommendations? Simply tap a “magic wand” to see more options. Google Trips also easily captures, stores and organizes your critical travel information (e.g. reservations, confirmation numbers) from Google services such as Gmail and Google Calendar.
CalConvert: A handy tool for international travel, this free, real-time currency converter and calculator can prevent you from overpaying while shopping abroad.
GeoSure: Not only does this free app provide an overall safety score for your destination according to various factors including political stability and health hazards, but it also offers up-to-the-minute information about crime that has occurred in individual neighborhoods.
Mobile Passport: This one is a must for speeding your way through U.S. Customs upon returning from an international trip. As Forbes explains, you should enter your passport and personal information into the app before you land (your profile can be reused), and then add your flight information and answer the customs’ questions as soon as you touch down. Those who don’t have anything to declare are issued an electronic receipt allowing them to use the shortest queue at customs, usually the diplomats’ line, where the agent can quickly scan your phone.
iExit Interstate Exit Guide: Ever found yourself about to keel over from hunger on a roadtrip and pulled over to what you thought was a steakhouse, only to find that it is actually an abandoned barn, and the only options for a meal at that exit involve reheating food from the convenience store’s microwave? Even if stopping for frozen burritos doesn’t faze you, you’ll probably love how this app lets you plan out your pitstops according to your preferences – letting you know exactly what your options are at every exit in terms of restaurants, hotels, gas stations and more.
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