A great trip away from home is more than just earning frequent flyer miles or traveling somewhere you’ve never been before. Travel broadens our horizons, lowers our blood pressure and expands our consciousness in a way that simply reading about exotic places cannot do.
Almost everyone wants to travel more, but the same obstacles keep coming up: time and money.
While we can’t give you more time, we can help you find the best travel deals without leaving your couch. Here are our favorite phone apps for finding the best travel deals. Also check out our other post on how you can beat the airlines to get cheap tickets.
1. TravelPirates (iOS | Google)
TravelPirates is an application for TravelPirates.com. The app consistently boasts some of the best deals we’ve ever seen, and if you turn on push notifications, it’ll notify you of the latest and greatest finds. For example, some recent deals include one-way flights to Europe via JetBlue for $49 and a six-night trip to Paris for $583.
TravelPirates collects the best deals from various sources in one easy-to-find location. The app provides you with details about the deal and then redirects you to the appropriate booking site so you can book your trip with as little hassle as possible.
2. Skyscanner (iOS | Google)
Skyscanner is one of the best tools available for finding cheap flights, hotels and car rentals. Helps to find the most affordable flight options; you can search between two locations or choose Explore option and search for the best options within a given time period.
For example, you might plan a trip two weeks in advance, but Skyscanner might hypothetically show that returning a day early could save you $80 on your flight.
The Explore feature is also available for hotels, but is more limited on flights. However, special prices will be displayed in the city you select. If you’re flexible and open to occasional or last-minute trips, then Skyscanner is a great tool for easy browsing and browsing.
3. Hotel Tonight (iOS | Google)
After flights, hotel stays are usually the second largest expense of any trip. If you travel by car a lot, it can be difficult to know exactly which city you can stop in for the evening. Maybe you’ll end up in Biloxi, Mississippi, or maybe you’ll push a little harder and reach New Orleans. Not knowing exactly where you’re going to be can make it difficult to plan ahead and choose a hotel.
This is where Hotel Tonight comes in. Hotels lose money every night on unfilled rooms, so they often offer discounts for the day to fill as many rooms as possible. By keeping the app ready, you can find last-minute availability, but you can also use it to find hotel deals and promotions ahead of time.
4. LoungeBuddy (iOS)
Let’s face it: no one likes to spend more time at the airport than necessary. On the other hand, an airport layover is less painful if you have access to a fancy lounge where you can put your feet up. Even if you’re not a member of the airline rewards programs that provide access to these lounges, LoungeBuddy can help you find discounts on day passes.
While the app is unfortunately not available for Android users, LoungeBuddy has a well-optimized mobile site. Just find the airport you’re going to be at, find available lounges and make a reservation. LoungeBuddy helps you find the best price for any day.
Travel can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right mix of tools, you can travel like a king—on a peasant’s budget. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Be flexible. The more open you are to different arrival and departure times, the lower prices you will find.
- The last minute works in your favor. Waiting until the last minute can be a stressful experience, but sometimes it can help you find the best deals on hotels, flights and more. Of course, don’t wait until the last minute to book an important flight — you might not be able to find it.
- Be open-minded. If you’ve never thought of a good deal at your destination, don’t dismiss it. You may find a travel deal to a lesser-known region that will become one of your favorite destinations.