In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, travel is frequently made easier with the use of travel apps. While these apps vary greatly in usefulness, here are some reviews based on personal experience with some of the best.
If you’re going to Las Vegas, this app is an absolute necessity. I’ve never seen any other tourist destination have an app, or even a website, that is so all-inclusive. Through the Vegas app, you can book your flight, hotel, and entertainment. But that’s not all. All of these come with huge discounts. The more you bundle your trip together, the more you can save. Deals vary day by day, but it’s a safe bet to assume you can get at least 20% off your hotel. Sometimes that discount can jump to 60% or more for certain hotels. Certain hotels offer discounts to shows or restaurants located within the hotel.
When buying tickets to shows, even without bundling, there are discounts on ticket prices, or sometimes extras, like tickets to a buffet or a free drink (for those aged 21 and up). I used the app myself some time ago, and here are the deals I got. I saved 25% by bundling my flight and hotel together and enjoyed a free trip to the hotel’s buffet. I saw the Cirque Du Soleil show I was interested in. Using the app, I got Category B tickets (lower orchestra) for Category D (balcony) prices. I’ll never go to Las Vegas without first using this app.
Flights are expensive, and frequent travelers have picked up on a secret. The prices of flights fluctuate all the time, usually several times every day. Some people have exact formulas on the time to buy plane tickets, but it can’t be that exact, since it varies from one person to another. The one I’ve heard most is that it’s best to buy plane tickets for domestic flights roughly six weeks before the departure date, on a Tuesday, between 3:00 and 4:00 PM, local time. I’ve done that, and that method is far from flawless. However, new apps and websites have popped up that have allowed people to get the best deals possible. My personal favorite is Hopper.
Hopper asks you for your departure location and your destination, then it asks for your travel dates. It color codes the travel dates so you know right off the bat which dates will be cheapest. From there, it lets you know the cheapest fare available at the moment. From there, it also tells you if prices are likely to drop lower than that, and how low they’re likely to drop, including advising to either buy now or wait. It also tells you how much prices will increase and when. Best of all, you can set the app to notify you in the event of a sudden price drop, or to pester you to buy your tickets when the price is best.
HomeAway is an app that has saved my sanity. I imagine that’s not something many apps can claim. A few years ago, my family decided to have a reunion in Yosemite. While the actual event was in a hotel, we were required to drive up and find our own lodging. (Pro tip: for family reunions, it’s better to drive the “luggage car” alone than spend five hours driving with someone who desperately needs a defensive driving course NY.) Even searching a full year in advance, options were extremely limited.
One option was a heated tent (not an option with my 89-year-old grandmother).
The other option was two hotel rooms, each with two twin beds and restrooms down the hall. One would be for my parents, the other for my grandmother and me. Each of those rooms would cost $330 per night, so we would be paying $660 per night for four nights. That was not tolerable for me, so I searched elsewhere.
Enter HomeAway. A quick search through their system brought me dozens of options. People were renting out their vacation homes, and for our needs, these options were both infinitely better and much more affordable than the two tiny hotel rooms. Ultimately, the place we rented had three bedrooms, three bathrooms, parking, a kitchen, a pool table, and a hot tub. The price was $475 per night. In the end, HomeAway saved my sanity, $740, and possibly the lives of my immediate family. I’d give it five stars.