We love to travel. In fact, we love planning our trips almost as much as traveling itself. We spend months scouring the best travel apps, reading reviews and searching for the perfect places to fly, see, and stay. Honestly, we probably change our plans six or seven times before we actually book them.
When you travel as much as we do, you always have to be conscious of your budget. We save over $10,000 a year on travel costs using rewards cards. So, obviously, making the most of our points and miles is a huuuge key to our strategy.
But, it isn’t just about saving money. Even more than pinching pennies, we really strive to get the most value we can from our points. It’s important to us that we get the most bang for our proverbial point buck.
Of course, all of this doesn’t just happen. It takes time and research to make sure you’re visiting the most important sites and getting the best deals available. So, even though we’re a bit old school when it comes to technology, we do rely on some of the best travel apps to help us find the best use of our travel points and dollars. Here’s a list of some of our favorite travel tools, most of them we use on a daily basis.
5 Best Travel Apps for Saving Money
1) Best Travel App for Reviews – TripAdvisor
If you’ve traveled at all, you’ve almost certainly used TripAdvisor. Personally, we’re addicted.
Reading reviews is one of our favorite ways to relax. Seriously, if you don’t find us working on the blog or spending time with the kids, we’re probably on TripAdvisor. I’d estimate we spend three to four hours every week reading user reviews of hotels, condos, and different tours. Not only does it generate great ideas for what to do and where to stay, it also gives us a really good idea of what to expect. Plus, some of the ridiculous stuff people say is super entertaining.
For us, the best and easiest way to use TripAdvisor is to get their free mobile app. It’s available for both iOS and Android devices. Personally, we use it for the user reviews and photos, but you can also use it to compare prices of hotels, airlines, tours, and more. Get your free TripAdvisor Mobile App here.
2) Best App for Comparing Airfare – ITA Matrix
Leave it to Google to create one of the best travel apps around. The ITA Matrix is our favorite way to compare flights from multiple airlines. Simply select your dates, type in your departure and destination information, and the ITA Matrix will search all of the major carriers for available flights. It then lists all those flights for you, complete with pricing and layover info.
Typically, we use the ITA Matrix on our laptops, however there is a mobile app available that does the same thing. While this is our favorite app to compare airline pricing, please note that you can’t make any purchases from the app. It’s for informational purposes only, so you’ll have to navigate to the airline’s website to buy. Also, be sure to check for airline specific deals and seating assignments when you book.
3) Best App for Booking Hotels – Expedia
Expedia is probably our all-around favorite travel tool to use. It’s super versatile, allowing you to search and compare almost everything you need for your travels. You can find everything from hotel rooms to rental cars, and you can book them directly from the site. We usually use it when searching for hotel and rental car rates.
Even though we try to keep our cell phones clutter free, Expedia is one travel app we can’t live without. No matter where we are, we can open the app and search for the lowest prices. You can also find sales that are exclusive only to the mobile app, so you’ll save even more there. Plus, the app is free and they even give you an incentive for signing up. Get $25 off your first hotel $100 hotel booking through the app by clicking here, then click the mobile link. From there, simply send a message to your smartphone and download the app. Even if you only use the app once (which would just be silly!!!), you still get the cash.
4) Best Travel App for Condos – VRBO
Although we usually use credit card rewards to get free hotel stays, sometimes a hotel isn’t enough. When we travel with family, we often prefer staying in condos! Staying in a vacation rental saves us money because we have access to a kitchen (less eating out). Plus, it usually means we’re able to stay right in the heart of the action. Before we travel with the kids or friends, we’re always sure to check VRBO for condos in the area.
We’ve used VRBO (and occassionally AirBnB) to rent condos in Playa del Carmen, St. Thomas, Gulf Shores, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and more. (Check out the condo we rented And with the user reviews available right on the site, we’ve never had an issue with any of them. In fact, the owners are typically excited to have you stay there. VRBO has a mobile app available for both the iOS and Android devices which you can find here. Again, just scroll down the page and type in your cell phone number to have the app sent to your smartphone..
5) Best Airline App – Southwest
We’re not travelers who care to fly first class. We’d much rather save the money and get from point A to point B as quickly and cheaply as possible. Since there’s a hub in our home town, that means we fly Southwest a lot. For us, the Southwest App is easily one of the best travel apps for us to keep on our phones. Plus, we use the desktop site several times a week.
From the Southwest Mobile App, we’re able to search for flights, check our flight status, and access our Southwest Rapid Rewards® accounts. We’re also able to check-in for our flights, which is really important for snagging good seats since Southwest has general seating. Finally, we can book or change our flights, which is very convenient if we find a better fare. If you fly domestic or to the Caribbean, the Southwest app is definitely one you should have.
Using the Best Travel Apps
Traveling is a ton of fun, but it can be stressful if you don’t plan ahead. Using the best travel apps helps you find the perfect locations to stay and visit, plus they might save you money doing it.
Of course, if pricing is your only concern, you still need to check around. Even the best apps don’t get it right all the time. Compare prices at several different websites before you make a final decision to book. If you do, you’re sure to discover wonderful places at great prices.
What are your favorite travel tools to use? Did we leave any out? Let us know in the comments below.