By: Graham Ray
Anyone remember when you had to use a travel agent to book just about any vacation? If you’re under 30, I’d say you probably don’t.
Modern technology precludes the hassle of seeking out a travel agent, safeguarding printed tickets with your life and waiting like cattle in long lines at the airport to get your boarding passes.
Pack your bags, and set off with these awesome apps for travel:
Billed as “the world’s travel search engine,” Skyscanner is the ultimate portal that leads you straight to the best deals on airline sites. But, it doesn’t stop there – it’s a travel search engine at your fingertips, and features a variety of giveaways and blogs. Skyscanner is truly an on-the-go millennial’s dream app.
This just in! Android users can now link a Google Now card to Skyscanner and detect whenever there is a fluctuation in flight prices. Additionally, Skyscanner has introduced a new app that helps users locate hotels on their Apple Watch. Talk about boldly going where no one has gone before!
[title text=”Check In Straight from Your Phone”]
Upon booking a recent flight with economy airline, Allegiant Air, I was pleasantly surprised to learn they had an app. Like other low-cost airlines, Allegiant tends to nickel and dime you with a la carte charges – such as up-charges for checking baggage and picking your seat – but their app more than makes up for it. When I booked my flight, I opted for the mobile boarding pass. It’s perfect. Just remember to charge your phone before you arrive at the airport.
On a recent visit to a sparsely populated regional East Coast airport, when I literally was the security “line,” it took about 45 seconds for the DHS agent to scan the boarding pass on my phone and breeze through security. I even had enough time to enjoy a big Southern breakfast at the airport restaurant.
Of course, the ancillary benefits of moving quickly have something to do with the fact that there were only four gates at the entire airport, but the app was super-handy.
American Airlines also features a smartphone app that saves precious time and curtails flight anxiety, with no paperwork to remember. As an AAdvantage® Member (that sounds more important than it really is) and AA credit card holder, I can check my frequent flyer miles and upcoming trips. Check your itinerary to make sure your airport allows mobile boarding passes.
The next time you fly, check your airline to see if you can get your boarding pass sent straight to your phone. If you’re like me, anything that can reduce travel stress is worth its weight in gold, er, miles.
Whether you’re looking for the best hotels, restaurants, flights or nightclubs, the TripAdvisor app is the way to go. You get tons of crowd-sourced reviews from actual travelers – their consumer critiques are second-to-none. Filter by price, rating and more!
With TripAdvisor, you’ll find out details that the official sources might not tell you, like whether that barbecue joint is really authentic (i.e. it uses a smoker to cook its meat). Or if mosquitoes the size of helicopters invade that seemingly perfect hotel on the beach every year.
A great alternative to a hotel, Airbnb features affordable vacation accommodations for travelers who want to immerse themselves in their local surroundings. From spare rooms and apartments in the heart of downtown districts to rustic cabins and sprawling estates, Airbnb has it all.
I just used the Airbnb app to book a quaint home for five family members (plus a 60-pound dog) on a trip to the Smoky Mountains, and it turned out to be incredibly convenient. The cozy three-bedroom house had plenty of outdoor space for my baby niece and the pooch to play, and featured handicap-friendly access for a disabled family member. I conducted literally all my communication with the host through the Airbnb app. I give the app five stars, it has a great beat and you can dance to it. Would definitely recommend Airbnb to a friend.