It's tempting to leave your phone at home with the rest of your obligations, but it's a smart move to make your smartphone your essential travel companion.
Here’s the situation: You’re planning a trip to get away from it all — work, deadlines, responsibilities. Do you bring your phone?
"Of course," might be the obvious answer. With maps, communication, your digital wallet, and social media (you must share this amazing view), it's a necessity. But are you really getting away if your bill payment alerts, text messages from your pet sitter, and meeting invitations are still following you?
It may feel tempting to leave your phone at home with the rest of your obligations — or at least not opt for the extra phone plan when you take that cruise or travel abroad. It might be a smart move to make your smartphone your essential travel companion.
From tools to manage your fuel expenses to discount boarding services, here are some money-saving apps that might make your upcoming travel worth the occasional interruption.
Download these apps before your travel to save money
Don't wait to get these apps until you are already on that tropical island. If you are limited on bandwidth or sketchy internet at your hotel, it will make sense to already have these in the palm of your hand.
There are plenty more options, too, so use these five as a guide to other apps that may also provide you with the extra savings you want to make your trip a value for your money.
You may already be familiar with Kayak. You may have even used the website or app to book your travel. The same aggregator that let you easily compare flight rates from over 400 airlines can help you choose the cheapest option for a rental car or hotel, too.
You may have booked these in advance, but if you were relying on a friend or family member or change your travel plans mid-trip, having Kayak handy will allow you to keep saving as you bounce from place to place.
If you know you might need to book accommodations after you've left on your adventure, keep the automated alerts for the best prices coming so you can grab the best deal on your hotel or that zippy convertible you decide to rent.
2. GasBuddy & Roadtrip Gas Cost Calculator
One of the most popular apps for finding better gas prices, GasBuddy, continues to get recommendations from the world wide web, even now that it has matured into its third decade. The app makes checking prices from your phone a snap, too. It offers savings, too when you use it as your funding source for fuel.
If you are still in the planning stages and want to estimate your gas usage ahead of your trip, you might want to download Roadtrip Gas Cost Calculator (iOS) or Fuel Consumption Calculator (Android). They use a number of fields including distance, fuel economy, and even the number of passengers to estimate your fuel use. This is especially handy if you are renting a car that doesn't get the same MPG as your own vehicle.
Download Roadtrip Gas Cost Calculator from the Apple App Store.
Download Fuel Consumption Calculator from Google Play.
Imagine if you arrived at your hotel and it wasn't exactly what you expected. Maybe you are under the flight line of an airport or the hotel pool is always swamped. You can search for another hotel or find a spot through Airbnb.
There are some upsides, such as finding unique places to stay in treehouses or on sailing ships. There is a level of trust in staying in someone else's home, so you should set up a profile on the app before you need to book a location.
If you plan to be away for a while, you can also consider using the app to manage your place while you're gone as an Airbnb location in your hometown.
While technically not an app, Couchsurfing is a community-driven site to find free lodgings. Clearly, this is not an option that is perfect for everyone, you can find new friends and a free place to stay as they travel.
Detailed profiles for hosts and guests, in addition to a review system that enforces accountability, help ensure that everyone has a great experience. Bonus: some hosts like to show their guests around town or treat them to local meals.
Couchsurfing can be found on Facebook, but it is worth joining before you travel if you want to find out if this option is a savings choice that is worth the money for you.
A tropical drink here, a souvenir key chain there, and a ticket to the museum for everyone in the family all add up quickly. One way to save money as you travel is to track your spending as you go. TravelSpend is one of many apps that help you watch your dollars and cents while you camp, spend, explore, visit, swim, dine, and unwind.