Never turn down a free second opinion. Despite all the great travel search sites available these days, Google Flights (free) is one to add to your list of flight-search sites to check before typing in your credit card number. You can search for round-trip, one-way, and multi-city flights, but you have to link to another site to make the purchase. Regardless, it’s an invaluable service for checking the actual cost of a flight and looking to see if there are other days when the prices may be better. Sure, Kayak (our Editors’ Choice for travel searching and book) can do the same thing, but Google Flights does so with a different interface, and as I said prior, there’s no harm in having a second opinion at no extra cost. Web Use Only.
Hipmunk Flight & Hotel Search
Hipmunk may seem like your run-of-the-mill flight and hotel aggregation search app, but it does one neat thing that I haven’t seen any other travel app do: It includes non-traditional lodging, such as listings from Airbnb and HomeAway. (Those two services connect people who have rooms, apartments, and homes to let with travelers who want to rent them.) Progressive travelers on a budget will love Hipmunk’s iPhone app and the Hipmunk app for iPad for that feature alone. The one thing you can’t do with it, however, is book flights or rooms.
Available on: Android, iOS, Web
SkyScanner’s iPhone apphas such a wonderful search interface for finding cheap flights. I love that you can look for a flight on certain dates from your home airport to anywhere in the world based on where it might be inexpensive to fly during that time. You can then adjust your search using a wonderfully intuitive and interactive graph to find the cheapest surrounding dates to travel. SkyScanner partners with a site called ebookers.com for the actual sale, and note that SkyScanner’s prices appeared for me in U.S. dollars while ebookers’ showed up in GBP.
Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Web
If you ever have a long connection through Chicago O’Hare, you’ll want to go straight to Tortas Frontera for sandwiches. At San Francisco International Airport, there’s a yoga room where you can decompress and stretch before your next flight. Of course, if you have the GateGuru iPhone app or the GateGuru Android app, you won’t need to rely on my advice, as you’ll have all these great tips and lists of services to help you navigate the world’s best and worst airports.
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Gogobot dishes up interesting things to do for any type of traveler across a wide range of cities around the world. It has suggestions for family friendly activities, stuff for outdoorsy people, in addition to the typical shopping/eating/site-seeing agenda. Save these activities to a Gogobot itinerary, and when you pull them up while traveling, you can search for nearby too, such as points of interest, restaurants, and hotels, helping you locate your next stopping point if need to make an unexpected change of plan.
Available on: Android, iOS
Looking to save some money but still do some interesting site-seeing? Viator (free) shows you deals and discounts either nearby or in the place you’re going to visit next—provided that location is in Viator’s list of potential cities, regions, and countries. It’s great for ideas of what to see and do, especially when you’re feeling clueless, although the quantity and quality of the deals varies dramatically by place.
Available on: Android, iOS
Packing Pro is a mobile app made for super list makers. It helps you remember what to pack and can also serve as evidence of what you packed if your luggage were ever lost. You work from one of many sample lists of items to pack, or you can create your own and tick off items as they go into your luggage. It has a handful of other reminders, too, like booking reservations and watering the plants before you leave home, which you can save into checklists to guide your harried soul while you’re running around your apartment like a chicken with its head cut off worried that you’ll miss your flight if you dally a moment longer. The $3 app may seem like overkill to those who have packing down to a science already, but it can be an excellent tool for parents who are packing for multiple family members before leaving on vacation.
Available on: iOS
I use Evernote to save notes about practically everything, and that includes notes from the road. I also like to save an additional copy of my flight and hotel itineraries in Evernote so that I always have a backup on hand.
Just do a search and you will easily find these apps. Hope they help and enjoy your travels.