A few years ago, my family and I were road tripping down to Florida. My dad was driving, my mom was co-pilot, and my siblings and I were in the back. I’m not even kidding when I say this… my dad asked my mom to get out the map of Tennessee. She happily started unfolding the map to help answer whatever question my dad had. I BURST out laughing and said, “I don’t really understand what’s happening right now. We have GPS built into the car, we have 6 iPhones on person, but you’re making mom pull out a map?!” It was literally the funniest thing ever.
Fast forward to November, 2015. I went on another road trip with my parents down to Key West. Before we left, my dad literally made me print out MapQuest directions. MapQuest! I didn’t even know that still existed!!
My point of these two stories is that traveling is WAY easier with apps and I’m going to share with you the top 5 I use.
No, I’m not talking about just going to google.com. Google makes an actual app that is seriously amazing, border line big brother, but I love it. It seemlessly functions with my gmail account. When I open the app, it tells me what is on my agenda, what is upcoming, the status of my recent orders, and the weather. It also links stories that I might be interested in reading. You might be wondering why I’m suggesting this for travel. Well, this is where the big brother part comes in. Based on the emails in my gmail account, it knows where and when I am traveling. Let me just tell you that this app is ALWAYS the first to let me know if my flight has been cancelled or delayed. It also provides me with an overview of the city, a travel guide, trip planning assistance, and gathers all the details in one place for my trip. It’s awesome.
I use Google Drive to organize all my trip planning details. It’s like the Microsoft Office Suite, but through Google and stored in the cloud. I can access all the information for my trips from any device that has internet by logging into the drive. The app keeps all of that information one touch away.
The Southwest App is so easy to navigate. It allows me to book a flight, check a flight’s status, check-in, and book a car. It displays their current sales and offers and easily allows me to manage my trip(s). I also love how easy it is to check my Rapid Rewards status. Plus, Southwest is just amazing in general with the fact that I can cancel or change my flight up to 10 minutes before the flight takes off with no change fees. I love that each person is allowed two bags to fly for free. And – Southwest flight attendants are always super duper friendly. The only thing I don’t like about this app is that the Google App has notified me of changes before this app has when I was flying their airline! I feel highly annoyed by that snag, but overall it’s a great app.
Our preferred hotel chain is Marriott and since it has recently acquired Starwood Hotels it has gotten even better! The app allows me to search for and book hotels, easily access my account number and points, check-in and check-out, and place mobile requests. Some hotels even offer mobile keys (my favorite hotel – Marco Island Marriott offers this) where you can unlock your room from your phone. Crazy.
I mean… this is an obvious app. This combined with the Google App and you should be all set. TripAdvisor is nice because it categorizes activities, displays the costs, and is set up to give you that Instagram type of feel with lots of intriguing photos. You can save activities that you would like to experience and group them by trip. If you purchase anything through TripAdvisor, it saves it within the app as well.
What are your favorite apps to use while traveling? I would love to know of other cool apps I should download. Leave me a comment below.