Keeping track of all the things you need to remember when traveling can get a bit tedious, but there are some apps that will help you with tips, ideas, planning, and on the spot access to great resources. Before you start a trip, you want to figure out where you're going to go. Now for most experienced travelers, this list is going to seem obvious, but for those of you who are new at the game...this is for you.
Instagram is a great tool for finding awesome spots to visit. Follow some awesome instagram accounts like @RobertMichaelPoole and @30.raw for some great adventurous options! If you’re not interested in the thrill seeking, @twopaperboats and @HandLuggageOnly are two awesome accounts with more reasonable travel ideas! Another way to use Instagram is to find awesome locations in countries you want to visit. To do this, search that country under the "Places" tab and find out where fellow travelers are visiting. When you do decide to go on your adventure and you begin trekking mountains or exploring cities, make sure to post your adventures on Instagram as well -- and tag your location like those before you! Instagram is mainly an app meant for usage from mobile devices, but it can also be accessed online.
Pinterest is another must-go-to website for finding some amazing blog posts about locations you’re interested in. Pinterest is like a "Google" for small businesses and blogs! Type in something such as, "best places to visit in California," or "best photography locations in Iceland," and a list of blog posts will be displayed. Search for or click on the one that interests you the most and discover all the possibilities! This website also comes in app form.
I generally like to have two tabs open. The first being a blog page telling me cool spots to visit and secondly, Google Maps, patiently waiting for me to type in the location and "star" the spot I may just one day visit. Doing this allows me to look back into my Google Maps history and see all the places I've starred, making it so much easier to plan my route or even see what's in the area if I just so happen to be passing through one day. This website also comes in an app form.
This is like Google for travelers who want to explore weird and unknown places. They provide fun lists of weird places in whatever country or region you choose, weird foods to try and even strange events in those places.
I’ve located countless bizarre, off the beaten track places using this website. Half the time the attraction itself isn’t even the highlight. It’s the process of getting there. Essentially this website helps you get lost — and I love that!
Now we get into the actual planning stage of the trip, where you actually get to outline how you're going to get where...and when...and how. An awesome website exists that can provide you a myriad of options regarding how to get from point A to point B. Rome2Rio allows you to get ideas of how long a trip is going to take from one location to another location while also showing you all the different available modes of transportation. Do I want to go via train, air, ship, bus, bike, metro...or should I just walk? Rome2Rio will tell you--and then give you the approximate cost of each! This website also comes in app form.
When I used train all over Europe, Rome2Rio was a godsend because it would actually tell me what time the trains were leaving, and what train station I should be at!
AllTrails is a great website if you're into hiking, or would like to try hiking in the future. It provides you with trails near you, and trails in places you want to travel. Just search where you want to go, and it will provide you with a list of trails in that region. It will also provide you directions on how to get to the nearest trail, a map and description of the trail, reviews and pictures of the trail, as well as advise you as to the difficultly level of the trail. With that said, my idea of "moderate" hike is AllTrail's idea of a "hard" hike, so realize that difficulty depends on perspective. To really know whether or not the trail is difficult, I read the description of the trails and the reviews. Another cool option that AllTrails has integrated into their software is the "recorder" feature. Essentially, this helps you track your path, and then can be uploaded on your profile. The more users do this, the more information can be gathered about the hike (like length of time, difficulty and even different routes.) This website also comes in app form -- this is the form I use!
Kayak has got to be one of the best and most reputable sites for cheap flights (in my opinion). Sometimes you don't always get a deal, but check here first! My husband and I have gotten some absolute steals using this website! This website also comes in app form.
Booking is a great website for searching hotels, flights, vehicle rentals. We mainly use this site and American Express Travel to book our hotels -- cheapest price wins! Booking is great because it allows you to refine your searches, it's easy and smooth to use, and you generally get a fair rate on a hotel. Booking seems to offer the best bang for your buck when you're looking at accommodations and the reviews can only be made by individuals who have booked their hotel through booking, so you know your actually reading a legitimate review from a guest and not a hotel manager. This website also comes in app form.
American Express Travel is great if you have an American Express card, and especially if you have a Platinum card! AMEX Platinum cards come with all kinds of travel perks, including the points you gain from booking flights and hotels through this site. They also tend to give their American Express card holders better deals than what you would find anywhere else. I will say, after a long trip when you're tired and exhausted, having to sit in an airport for 7 hours on a layover isn't fun. But with an Amex platinum card, you can get into their lounges for free, eat free food, sometimes get a bed, a great view, plug outlets and did I mention free booze?!? If you travel a lot, I would recommend an AMEX card, especially a Platinum! This website also comes in app form.
AirBnB is a fantastic option for anyone looking for an authentic trip and a cheap option for accommodations. Now, when I say cheap, what I mean is you can find a room for $12 a night in some small Italian town, or you can spend what you'd spend at a 5-star resort for one night for a mega oceanside villa in Costa Rica. So this site accommodates all kinds of travelers with all kinds of budgets. Obviously, some countries are more expensive than others, and other countries don't have as many AirBnB options available--so you do what's best for you, AirBnB is just another awesome options for travelers to utilize. AirBnB also has an "experience" option that allows you to pay for local experiences, such as learning how to cook a local dish in a rural Romanian town, a mountain biking excursion through a region of New Zealand, or salsa dancing lessons in Columbia -- their are limitless tours and adventures to choose from no matter where you go. There are three similar sites called HomeStay, Couch Surfing, and Home Away. This website also comes in app form.
Viator is an awesome travel website that links you with a variety of tours in your desired location of travel. This includes sightseeing tours, wine tours (a personal favorite), day trips including city tours, helicopter tours, and even show tickets. You can also read the reviews of individuals who partook in each of these tours to determine whether or not you actually want to go. Viator is also available as an app.
Once you've booked your trip, it's really important that you look into good travel insurance. If you're just going to one country, then your bank or credit card company may be able to provide you with coverage. But for long term travel (and even short term travel, like I just mentioned), World Nomads is a great travel insurance company that provides crucial coverage for a cheap price! You can add as many countries as you want and the types of activities you'll be involved in. This will give World Nomad a good determination of how much insurance you'll require if something goes wrong on your trip.
After your trip is over, it's time to keep track! Been is an awesome app (that I think is better on iPhone) that tracks where you've been in the world and in the United States (iPhone only for the United States). I love the idea of filling up this grey atlas with orange specs! Wouldn't it be cool if one day you could turn the entire atlas orange?
Hope you enjoyed this list! Let me know if I missed any cool apps or websites by commenting below!