Post by marketing intern, Lawrence Watson.
This is the first post in our Summer Savings series where we'll be sharing tips to help you save money during travel, vacation, and beating the heat.
Here’s the situation: You’re planning a trip to get away from it all — work, deadlines, responsibilities. Do you bring your phone?
“No,” is the obvious answer, and believe me, I know how tempting it can be to leave your phone at home with the rest of your obligations. However, don’t be so hasty to dump your phone — there are a ton of money-saving apps that make your phone an essential travel companion. (Maybe just turn off your work email alerts...) From tools to manage your fuel expenses to discount boarding services, here are some of my favorite travel apps:
1. Kayak – free – air travel
Kayak is an airfare aggregator that lets you easily compare flight rates from over 400 airlines, so you can choose the cheapest option (even if you have to wake up before sunrise). Kayak will also alert you about rate drops during your future trip dates, making it easier for you get the best possible price. Add the fact that you can book a hotel and rent a car with the same price comparison feature, and you can nearly plan your whole trip with one app. Plenty of people have recognized the convenience and saving power of Kayak; it is currently the most downloaded travel app, clocking in at 25,000,000+ downloads.
2. Fuel Monitor – $1.99 – car travel
Fuel monitor is essentially a calculator, but it’s a $2, super-refined calculator, totally worth the price. With just a few fields of information, the app will estimate your total trip cost and deliver the information in real time. Fuel Monitor is the only app on this list with a cost, but at just $2 you will quickly recoup the initial investment. Think about it like this: when budgeting for your trip, factor Fuel Monitor into your snacks estimate and have it replace one king-sized bag of Peanut M&M’s. You and your wallet will be happier for it. Related: Waze — a GPS app with user generated traffic information to steer you clear of the most congested roadways.
3. Airbnb – free – accommodations
If you’re looking for an affordable place to stay with some homey comforts to spare, Airbnb is the site to check out. It is already well established with rooms in over 33,000 cities and 192 countries. Residence diversity is a big plus, with castles, boats, and gutted airliners among the most interesting places to stay. You can also save by renting out your own house to a fellow Airbnb traveler while you’re on your own vacation. Their app launched last year, and is just as easy, if not easier, to find and book a place to stay.
4. Couchsurfing – free – accommodations
While technically not an app, this community driven site is a great way to find free lodgings so I went ahead and included it in this list. The website was developed to help travelers 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.
5. Tripomatic – free – city guides and sightseeing
Tripomatic is your one-stop digital itinerary. Using your destination’s map as a trip template, you can find attractions, transportation, and accommodations all on one easy to view screen. The app is especially useful if you need to know how far away your destinations are from one another, as it shows distance and estimated time of travel between all the sites you’ve selected.
While you're traveling, make sure you aren't losing money to foreign ATMs. Your Kasasa account refunds your ATM fees nationwide!