The world is slowly beginning to open up, and that means that travel is finally on the horizon. These apps will help you find the best flights, accommodations, and things to do on your next trip.
Even if you aren’t traveling for several more months, international trips need to be planned far in advance. This will ensure that you get access to the best flights and lowest prices on hotels. Planning early also gives you the flexibility to wait to book something until a better deal comes along, which can translate to major savings.
There are three main phases of planning a trip: booking a flight (or flights), finding the best place to stay, and deciding what you want to do on your vacation. We’ve rounded up the best apps in each category to help you plan an epic trip. Happy travels!
These apps will help you find great flight deals and feel confident booking at the right time. Compare flights across multiple apps and websites to get the best deal.
Hopper is an app that uses data analytics to help you find great deals on flights. Specifically, they’re known for their ability to use past price trends to predict the best time for you to book your flight.
For example, say you want to book a flight from New York to London in October. If you search for that flight right now, Hopper might tell you to wait another month to book because, based on past price trends, that flight will probably be cheaper to book next month than it would be to book right now.
Hopper isn’t always 100% accurate, of course, but reviewers seem to be pleased overall with the app’s ability to predict the best times to book flights. They use the same technology on hotels and car rentals as well. They also offer the option to temporarily freeze prices through their booking system to help you secure a price in case the cost of a flight actually rises while you’re waiting to book.
There are a lot of travel companies that compare flight prices across the internet, but Kayak always seems to find some of the lowest prices out there. The app has a clean design that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Kayak’s main selling point is its filter options when booking flights. You can limit the number of stops that you want in a flight, choose a time frame for taking off and landing, and set limits on the length of your layovers. The app also allows you to choose which airports you want to route through, which airlines you want to fly on, and even the type of aircraft that you prefer.
A few other cool features that this app has includes flight tracking and notifications when a price drops or increases as well as a tool that lets you measure your bag virtually to ensure that it will comply with an airline’s bag policies.
Momondo is owned by the same company as Kayak and shares many similar features, including its great user interface and easy-to-use design. But one feature that sets Momondo apart is that it searches through tons of different airlines, even the budget carriers that most larger sites miss. They also make it easy to compare the cheapest, fastest, and best value flights for each route that you’re looking at.
Since Momondo is a travel fare aggregator, you can’t book flights directly through them. However, you’re likely to find some of the best flight deals with this app, especially if you’re going in and out of smaller hubs.
Skyscanner’s “Search Everywhere” feature allows you to find the cheapest flights around the world from an airport during specific dates, a wide date range, or even the entire year. It’s great for people with some flexibility who want to choose their travel location based on the cheapest flight.
You can’t book directly with the Skyscanner app either, but they give you a long list of websites to book with once you’ve picked your perfect flight.
Whether you want to stay at a hotel chain or rent a small cabin outside the city, these apps will help you find the best place to stay.
These apps both allow you to book hotels like any other platform, but their big perk is the secret deals that they offer. Both Hotwire and Priceline allow you to book a hotel at a seriously discounted price (called “Hot Rate” hotels on Hotwire and “Express Deals” on Priceline) if you agree to some risk. You only get a great deal if you book the nonrefundable hotel without knowing exactly what you’re getting.
You aren’t left completely in the dark—both sites allow you to choose a general location and hotel rating that you prefer. You can also view some information about the hotel you’re going to book, including its distance from various landmarks, amenities, and overall guest rating. Sometimes, you can even see a sample photo from the hotel, although this will depend on the specific offer.
If you have a hotel in mind or specific requirements that you can’t view ahead of time, this feature probably isn’t for you. (You can still compare prices and book hotels on these apps, just without the strikingly low deals.) However, if you’re flexible with where you stay, Hotwire and Priceline can save you some serious dough.
Download Hotwire here:
Download Priceline here:
This app (named after the website) compares accommodation options better than any other platform. Large hotel chains are included in their searches like with other booking platforms, but Booking.com also includes local boutiques, mom-and-pop bed and breakfasts, hostels, apartment rentals, and any other option that’s available to book online.
Every accommodation has lots of pictures and reviews from previous guests, so you can get a good idea of what to expect before you visit. They have plenty of filters to work with as well, including specific accessibility options like visual aids or auditory guidance.
Airbnb has more rentals worldwide, but VRBO is gaining in popularity and boasts its fair share as well. Airbnb also allows hosts to rent out private rooms, whereas VRBO is specifically for entire apartments and homes. It’s a good idea to check both sites to find your ideal location.
Download Airbnb here:
Download VRBO here:
Have an idea of what you want to do on your trip but need more information? Or are you completely lost and need help creating your itinerary? These apps will help you every step of the way, no matter how much help you need.
TripAdvisor is one of the longest-running travel sites out there, which means that it’s packed with information on virtually every location in the world. Just use their “Things to Do” feature for any city, and you’ll find a list of reviewed attractions, buildings, parks, and much more.
Reading through reviews from previous travelers can definitely be helpful, but be sure to take every opinion with a grain of salt. Just because user12743 had a horrible time at the Eiffel Tower because it was too tall doesn’t mean that you should skip it.
TripAdvisor also pulls top-rate tour companies and even smaller local ones that larger sites might miss. Their travel forums allow you to ask general travel questions to the TripAdvisor community, or specific ones about a certain location, tour, restaurant, or hotel.
The Lonely Planet app, built by the same company known for its physical travel guides, allows you to download guides for over 8,000 cities around the world that are full of information on what to do and see while you’re there.
Lonely Planet’s guides tend to be focused on budget travelers when it comes to recommending hotels and restaurants, but they often include splurge-worthy options as well. Each guide contains an interactive map and 360-degree virtual tours of popular attractions in the area.
Maps can be downloaded for offline use, and some guides contain phrasebooks in the local language that can also be used offline. You can download the app for free but will need to subscribe to one of Lonely Planet’s plans to get full access to the guides.
Culture Trip is a modern app full of concise articles that share everything from top destinations in a country to locals-only bars and restaurants. It’s easy to skim through the information, and you’ll have dozens of new ideas after browsing through a few articles.
Each article includes a map feature as well, so it’s easy to create a visual layout of what you want to do. You’ll mostly find information on popular destinations like Los Angeles, Paris, and Sydney, although articles on smaller cities are popping up more frequently.
Culture Trip also operates its own tour company with experiences around the world, which you can book directly through the app.
Viator is the king of booking tours. It’s great if you have an experience in mind and want to book through their user-friendly platform, but it’s also a good app to check out if you want ideas for what to do on your trip. You can use their website, or you can download their app below.
You’ll always find some sort of walking city tour, which is a great way to see a new place on your first day there. You can also discover more unique experiences, like swimming with manta rays in Hawaii, taking sushi-making classes in Tokyo, or taking a hot air balloon ride in Marrakesh.