While traveling is almost always a joy (well, when you’re traveling for leisure at least), the planning and trying to discover new things can also sometimes be a chore. But of course, it can still become enjoyable if you have the right tools to help you build an itinerary or at least a wishlist. Of course you have your Google Trip or Trip Advisor and yes, your Google, there are also apps out there that were built specifically to help you out with this planning stage so your actual trip can be hassle-free and just a great time for you and/or your loved ones. Here are some of our suggestions.
Trip by Skyscanner (formerly trip.com)
Skyscanner is already a pretty helpful tool especially if you’re looking for more affordable flights and accommodations. So instead of building a travel discovery app of their own, they just acquired an existing one like Trip.com (also formerly Gogobot) and just build on what they already have. And what you have now is an app that lets you discover the best places to eat, go to, and discover, based on things like your interests, the time of day, the weather, and obviously your location. And since it’s now owned by Skyscanner, then the integration in terms of booking your flights and hotels is also pretty convenient and useful. It can also be useful when looking for new things to discover in your city and community.
Speaking of apps for searching for cheap flights that eventually evolves into a travel discovery one too, we featured Hitlist when it launched on Android late last year. And since then, we’ve seen it evolve into more than just a flight discovery and booking app. You can actually discover new destinations you might want to consider when planning your next trip with their Explore List. It’s arranged by category like Festivals, Ecotours, and even countries where Bitcoin is accepted. And once you’ve found a place you may want to visit soon, it will tell you when prices drop for that country. The app also lets you build your itinerary for existing trips with suggestions for places you may want to go to when visiting.
Creating travel bucket lists is a must for every traveler (or would be traveler) and this Microsoft Garage project helps you create and keep your dream destinations in just one app. You create your own personalized page of travel stories and blogs based on your interests. Once you’ve found places you might want to visit someday, you can then create that bucket list so you will not forget that you’ve always wanted to go there. And once you’ve visited places, you can scratch it off the list and then keep track of all the places you’ve been through.
Any veteran traveler knows that Lonely Planet is one of the most trusted guides that you can have when you’re traveling. Whether it’s their books or websites or Youtube channels, you’ve probably consulted them in one way or another when you’re visiting places you know nothing about. The app is just as useful of course as you can carry all of these content and city guides just in your smartphone. Their expert-curated guides include the usual tips and where to eat and where to go where there are not too many tourists. But since you’ve trusted their content over the years, then you know what you’re reading here isn’t just your run-of-the mill travel sites.
If you’re more of the outdoorsy type and you want to go on trips that play on that, this app will be able to not just suggest places you can go to, but also connect you with other people who love the outdoors as well. It’s actually built as a mobile community for the outdoors and so you get all the hiking, kayaking, rock climbing suggestions that you can get from fellow outdoor enthusiasts. They have over 20,000 destinations in their library and you can explore 25 different activities. You can also share your own photos and videos for reference of others also looking something to do in the great outdoors.
If you don’t have the time or the budget to fly to another country, you can explore places within your country or nearby cities and states by going on a road trip with friends. This app is especially built for that kind of travel as it lets you discover local diners, quirky roadside attractions, scenic points along the way, national parks, and of course hotels you may want to stay in between. You can plan a trip on the app and then share it with the friends you’re going with. They can then make suggestions to your itinerary as well.
When you’re walking around in a different place you know nothing about, you sometimes wish you had a tour guide with you to just tell you the history and interesting tidbits about every nook and cranny of that place. This app is the next best thing as it basically gives you a cinematic and immersive audio tour, narrated by someone that has a special connection to the place. It is currently available only in these cities: San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona, and Marrakech. Hopefully they will add a few more cities in the future.