I should probably start with the note that none of these sites/apps are paying me to say any of this. I am just a girl who is obsessed with travel. Let these 6 apps fuel your wanderlust…for free!
1. Finding Flights: Sky Scanner
Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession regarding this past year. Here it goes…I have been addicted to SkyScanner. The saved searches and email updates made trip planning that much easier. Don’t know the exact dates you want to leave and return? No problem, SkyScanner will tell you when it’s the cheapest. Don’t know where you even want to go? Don’t worry! SkyScanner will tell you the average prices from your location to ANYWHERE. Don’t know when to buy the tickets or worried they will increase? Guess what. SkyScanner has an option where you can get alerts to your email as it tracks the flights for you! This is my favorite flight finder app and a must-have for sure.
2. Creating an Itinerary: TripAdvisor
30 minutes until the train from Milan to Venice departs. In need of food. Craving good Italian pizza. True story. What did we do? We took to TripAdvisor to advise us on the best pizza place near Milano Centrale station. Result? Fresh, yummy pizza from Pizzeria Little Italy. (Photo credit to my friend Lisa, thanks girl!) 3. Traveling: Passbook
I can’t tell you how many times recently that I have been in a rush to try to catch my flight/train and Passbook has saved me. I didn’t start using Passbook until a flight from Madrid to Brussels when a friend of mine explained it to me and showed me how to use it. Just download the airline/train App and then sync it to Passbook and voila! Although I would still recommend having a printed copy of your itinerary just in case (your phone dies, the scanning machines all malfunction, there is some sort of promotion ONLY offered to those with printed copies, etc, etc. Well the last two are less likely but you know what I mean haha). 4. Finding Your Way Around: Google Maps
I’ve actually never shared this with anyone before but when I was studying abroad, the first day that I arrived I found myself lost in the middle of Madrid. I decided to walk around and meet up with a few friends but on the way back I found myself lost. Right then and there, Google Maps became my best friend. Here’s a tip: be sure to load the map of the place beforehand (while you have internet) by searching it, swiping around and zooming in to areas of interest. If not, some specific areas and streets will appear blurry. 5. Documenting Your Travels: Instagram
For those of you that follow me on Instagram for my daily travel pictures (@bilantravels), you know how much I love it. Besides the fact that the travel community on Instagram is incredible, Instagram is really useful in researching restaurants/cafes/areas of interests. By tracking the hashtag feature or the check-in feature, you can see other people’s photos from that same area. Also, you can find great Instagram accounts that tell you what to do in that place (e.g. @theMadridBible is a fantastic resource for all things Madrid). 6. Communicating with Friends/Family: WhatsApp
What’s up with WhatsApp? Well, I was first introduced to WhatsApp in Madrid (wow I didn’t realize how much I learned in Madrid haha). Texting? What is that? It’s all about WhatsApp. Through this app you can text, send messages, send photos (10 at a time I believe and usually pretty fast in my experience), send VOICE messages (probably my favorite feature), create status updates, make group chats and more. If you don’t already have one, get one, and convince your whole family to get one because it makes communicating while traveling that much easier!