Okay, everyone knows this – travel can be a fantastic experience. Flying to unplanned places, meeting curious people and discovering new palates is exhilarating.
However, travel is a double-edged sword and can be full of unforeseen pitfalls. Wasted time at a tourist trap, unexpected data charges, seedy hotel rooms, exorbitantly priced restaurants or a red-eye flight crammed in the middle seat are all negative experiences threatening to ruin a perfect getaway. So, to guarantee a better trip you should always plan thoroughly ahead.
Here are some websites and apps that can help you with that planning.
Promises to make flight search suck less, Hipmunk has a clean, fresh and intuitive web user interface. Hipmunk is famous for letting you filter flights by agony. The “agony” is evaluated by a combination of price, shortest lengths and layovers, and is usually accurate in recommending you your best options.
Have a destination you’re eyeing on? You should definitely sign up for their flight alerts, so you can get email updates whenever there’s a lower fare. If you’d like to monitor flight rates yourself, consider checking on weekdays (flight analysts that adjust prices work five-day weeks too) and booking flights 3 months out when prices usually lower.
This is an amazing web and mobile app that is a godsend for someone like me who hates inconvenience. If you find yourself forgetting hotel vouchers, air tickets and transfer coupons, TripIt can help.
Simply send your email confirmations of flights, hotel bookings to firstname.lastname@example.org and entries will magically appear in your TripIt dashboard where you can get access to all your important travel info in one place.
Tripit’s Auto import function takes automation one step further. It reads your emails, recognises hotel and flight bookings, and automatically adds it to your dashboard. I think it’s a fantastic feature that saves me time in forwarding emails, but if you find it too creepy it can be easily disabled under your app settings.
3.) Packing pro
(Image credit: prweb.com)
I’ve always had the problem with packing for trips, a process I’ve always hated. I never know how much clothes I need, and always forget important things. Packing Pro lets you build custom, reusable packing lists to suit your needs.
The most useful feature here is the “expert list” that churns out packing lists based on the number of people going, destination climate and trip duration so all you have to do is to follow suit. This is especially useful when you have are lacking in time, are travelling in a group, or are travelling to a new destination.
4.) Wi-Fi Finder
Unexpected overseas data charges can really get out of hand, that’s why everyone looks out for free public WiFi. If you are a WiFi junkie like me, Wi-Fi Finder is your best buddy here with its directory of over 550,000 WiFi hotspot locations worldwide.
A quick tip: Download offline databases of public WiFi hotspots before going overseas or at your hotel, so you don’t need to rely on internet connection when using the app on your travels.
The world’s largest travel review site hardly needs an introduction. Their partner app grants you access to over 50 million user-generated reviews and guides. Review photos are usually not taken professionally, and this is a good thing – it helps paint an accurate picture of real conditions.
I usually read up extensively on reviews before making hotel bookings. Quick tip that works for me here is to read reviews from Singaporean, Malaysian or Hong Kong reviewers. More often than not, their expectations are similar to an average Singaporean like me.
When you are looking for dining options, consider OpenRice. They have a simple interface that works as any F&B app should – allowing you to search for restaurants or get recommendations on where to go based on categories. You can filter the restaurant suggestions based on cuisine, average price and locations and access all the info you need to get there.
You’ll have to download a localised app based on the market you going to, which makes it a pain, but OpenRice’s footprint is undeniably amazing and is available in nine destinations across Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand).
7.) Hotel Quickly
Treat yourself to a nice hotel at cheaper rates (on average 28% cheaper than any other site online) thanks to this same day booking app. Although it was just launched a year ago, Hotel Quickly has amassed a respectable reach in Asia, partnering up to 2000 hotels in 12 markets around Asia (most partner hotels are in Thailand, Indonesia and Australia).
8.) Google Maps
This is a no-brainer for me. Navigate anywhere in the world with detailed instructions and live traffic conditions. There’s also a function for indoor maps if you are on the android platform so you can find your way around shopping malls. I know, you know all of these already, but did you also know you can save maps to use offline when you travel? Simply find the place you are planning to visit before the trip and type “Ok Maps” into the search bar to save the map for offline use.
Do you know of any other websites or apps that has served you well on your travels? Let me know in the comments!