Best Apps For Planning Your Holiday: Part 1
It’s that time of the year when the lucky ones amongst us are packing our bags and going off to chart unknown territories.
Vacations can be wonderful experiences but unfortunately they can sometimes be stressful too.
Thankfully, there are many tools out there that can help you ensure that you make the most out of your trip and that your plans go as smoothly as possible.
In this article we look at some of the best and most useful travel mobile apps out there and how they can help you ensure that your trip is a success.
TripIt is considered by many to be the go-to app for keeping all travel documents in one place.
The app creates a master itinerary of all your travel documents, ensuring that you have access to all the necessary information, such as reservation numbers and times.
All you need to do is forward all your confirmation emails from tickets, airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc. to the designated TripIt email address and the app will organize them for you automatically. Alternatively you can add them manually.
You can also add extra information manually such as activities or travel directions.
The resulting itinerary is interactive, allowing you to click on each element to find out more information about it.
The depth of information is impressive, with the app finding out every single thing you could possibly need, down to the contact details of the airline or train line.
The app also allows you to share your plans with other users attending the trip so that they have access to the documents too, or you can simply share your travel details with people who may need to know where you are.
But the benefits of TripIt don’t end there, as the app also offers a paid “Pro” account with even more features.
The most appealing feature is its alert functionality. The paid account provides alerts on flight delays, cancellations, gate changes, etc., a useful element particularly for frequent travellers.
It also provides suggestions for alternative flights in the event of cancellations, and tracks points, refunds and VIP benefits.
A quirky feature is its ability to track seats and to provide notifications if a better seat on the flight becomes available.
Despite TripIt’s popularity, TripCase is a strong alternative contender for travel mobile documentation apps.
The app works similarly to TripIt: you can add travel information manually or you can email the relevant confirmation emails to a designated email address and the app will add the details automatically.
Other details can also be added manually for more depth, from activities and attractions to restaurants and meetings.
TripCase’s strength lies in the ability to view your trip either as an “itinerary”, with each step of the trip being laid out along with relevant times and places; or in “action” mode, with more detail for each step of the way being shown, such as flight alerts and notifications.
Other additional features of the app include driving directions, alternative flights and other relevant flight information.
- Basic and Gold ($9.99/year)
WorldMate is, in practice, very similar to TripIt and TripCase. Like the other contenders, it allows you to add trip information manually or to email confirmations to the app.
What sets it apart is that it is particularly aimed at business and frequent travellers. The app allows for appointments and meetings to be added and displayed in a clear and straightforward way. The app also integrates with LinkedIn, making connecting with clients or business partners on the road even easier.
Another feature that make the app stand out from the rest is its alerts; the app notifies you about your scheduled events for the day, connecting flight information and other alerts.
It also includes quirky features such as a currency converter and world clocks.
WorldMate offers the chance to purchase a “Gold” membership, which comes with an added range of benefits.
The paid membership allows users to sync with calendars and to receive flight alerts, among other things. iPhone users can also benefit from alerts on hotel prices and alternative discount offers.
Hipmunk is a simple flight and hotel booking app. Like many other apps of its kind, it allows you to find hotel deals near you, browse hotels by city and search for flights.
However, several elements make Hipmunk stand out as an app compared to the alternatives.
The first is its inclusion of non-traditional types of lodging such as Airbnb and Homeaway, allowing for more variety and price options.
The second and most remarkable element is its “Agony” filter, which allows you to search for flights according to your prefered factor, whether this is cost, flight duration or number of stopovers. This makes finding hotel and flight deals a much more painless process.
The app also allows you to receive fare alerts on particular searches, allowing you to plan your vacations around dates with cheaper flight fares.
Packing for your trip
PackPoint is a packing app that ensures that you don’t forget to bring anything important on your trip.
What makes it stand out, however, is its “intelligence”; if you enter the length of your vacation, the apps tells you how many of each packed item you will need.
The list is also automatically customized according to whether the trip is for business or pleasure, or to specific activities such as camping or going to the beach.
It also looks at the weather forecast in your destination to determine the type of clothing you will need.
Overall, PackPoint makes travel packing into an easier and less stressful process.
- iOS only
PackingPro differs from PackPoint in that instead of suggesting from a basic list of predetermined items to pack, it has a very long and exhaustive list of everything that you could possibly need.
This allows you to create a much more customized packing list particularly suited for perfectionists.
As you add items to your packing list, the app organizes them for you by category, making it easier to check and find your items.
Like with PackPoint, PackingPro also allows you to customize your list based on temperature and trip duration.
A nice bonus of the app is that it reminds you of things like updating your passport or buying travel insurance.
Overall, PackingPro is a more consistent app that, however, is less simple to use than PackPoint.
Are you using any of these apps? If so, do you find them useful?