Most Americans travel once or twice a year. I have the privilege – or the pain in some cases – of travelling quite a bit more than that. In each of these travels, I’m constantly trying to find new apps or processes to make my buying and travel experience a bit more pleasant.
Here’s my current flow for when I’m buying travel for myself...
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For those with flexible vacation policies like myself, Hopper is a godsend: it gives you a calendar telling you when flights to your destination are cheap. Hopper suggests the dates you should pick for your next travel to be cost-efficient. Even for those who have to travel in set dates, Hopper will monitor flights you’re thinking of buying and warn you if they expect prices to increase.
I’m pretty geeky so I like trying a ton of tools to find the cheapest price possible, even if it means spending an hour to save 10-15$. So I always search flights on ITA software which is the back-end system to google flights. You can modify any part of a flight search on ITA software; country of sale, currency, dates, etc. When I’ve found what I think is the optimal flight (price + duration of travel), I then look for that specific flight on Kayak. Sometimes I’ll have to call a travel agent to get the exact flight shown on ITA software or input the code into Hipmunk.
This won’t surprise anyone, booking.com and airbnb are by far the dominant players here so I’ll use booking.com when travelling alone and AirBnB when traveller with my significant other or friends.
Again, no surprise here - I’ll forward all of my confirmations to tripcase so I have my trip in one place. Google trips has just launched, I may or may not prefer it - so far it hasn’t picked up my confirmations in my emails. Tripcase puts your whole trip in one place.
Yes that app you used to check in with, it still exists and it’s great. I’ve always found TripAdvisor and Yelp to be “touristy” in that you’ll end up in an site, event or restaurant filled with tourists. That doesn’t mean it isn’t great, it’s just not the experience I’m looking for. I make no qualms about being a hipster tourist.
With foursquare you click what you’re looking for; coffee, drinks, sites, dinner etc. - and where - near me or address - and it comes back with the best options. Given its smaller user base, the reviews on Foursquare are written mostly by locals who have a passion for finding hidden gems in their neighbourhood. Also, Foursquare’s revenue comes from foot traffic data and not the actual reviews making them a more neutral player than the likes of TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Let’s keep how great foursquare is between us though…