Travel has come a long way from calling your local travel agent, removing the backseats of the family minivan, loading everyone in, following the triptik to your destination, arriving 2 days later, and spending an entire week without access to anyone but the people physically around you. In today's world, you can plan your trip from your smartphone and spend your entire vacation with anyone following you on social media. And while some may think new technology takes away from family time or enjoying the physical settings around you, there are many wonderful apps that can really enhance these experiences.
For example, TripIt organizes all of your travel plans in one place. You can forward your hotel, flight, car rental, and restaurant confirmations to the app and it creates a master itinerary that even syncs to your device's calendar and can be accessed by anyone on your trip.
Many of us have felt that initial excitement of choosing a vacation destination turn to anxiety over what to do when we get there. Localeur can assist here. Aiming to be "more than a guidebook," the app offers recommendations from locals. And, the ever popular Instagram, with its more than 300 million users, is a great resource to follow travel bloggers who offer tips for getting around and recommendations for little-known local places. Have you ever been in a foreign city and wondered "where is everyone?" Goby has your answer. This app pinpoints neighborhood hot spots (think museums, hotels, eateries, etc.) in your vicinity. It even finds nearby events such as concerts, plays and more right around the corner.
Perhaps you still have a box full of seashells, thimbles, spoons, or t-shirts advertising your vacation destinations over the years. Does your box contain postcards? Thumbing through the spinning rack of countless pictures of the most well-known spots from wherever we are visiting is something we have all done. Postagram uses this classic thinking-of-you travel memento as its platform. You can send personalized photos and messages from your phone to your loved ones, which they will receive as an actual postcard. And it's only $0.99 per card, postage included!
Is most of your travel business related? If so, Expensify can make your life easier. This app allows you to manually track your expenses, photolog receipts, and even import purchase information from your credit card for IRS validated eReceipts. It has Smart Scan which automatically reads and stores receipt details. Expensify also includes input options for travel mileage, time and rate based expenses and an automatic currency conversion.
And, for you last minute travelers, Hotel Tonight might just save the day. If you need a place to stay ASAP, this app helps you track down last minute deals and accommodations at the best prices.
If road trips are more your thing, check out GasBuddy. It helps you track down the cheapest gas prices in your region. It also offers users reward points for reporting and updating a gas station's prices.
In this technology driven world we travel through, there is definitely an app or two out there that will enrich your experience. So, power up those devices and safe travels!