GUYS. Intros suck. You know how you find a recipe online, and the blogger rambles on for a solid seven scrolls before actually getting to the recipe? I hate that. So let's skip the pointless attempt at trying to increase page time, and get down to business:
These 5 apps rule.
Full disclosure: Shannon and I both work for Matador. Secondary disclosure, we don't do things we don't want to do. And while my first thought was, "OMFG, Matador, calm down, you don't need a stupid app like everyone else has," this app is actually — and part of me hates to admit it — really fucking cool. Here's what you can do:
1) Get your country count. At first you fill out a map, and then it keeps track of how many countries you've been to. When your GPS locates you in a new one, it updates your number.
2) Create spots, lists, and trips. When I was in Philly a few months ago, I went through the spots and created a "cheat sheet." I then opened up said cheat sheet and behold! On this sweet, sweet map I had all these spots I wanted to hit up that were preapproved by locals. So. Useful.
3) Get your info all in one place. Each spot has a pic, a short review, and here's the bonus: A MAP, THE HOURS, AND A "CALL UBER" BUTTON. God, it just makes so much fucking sense. I'm already considering it my duty to map out Iowa (for the one other person that might travel here).
Sigh. Another great app. You enter in a flight route, and off it goes being awesome. Because lists are easier to read:
1) It shows you the calendar year, color coded by when prices are cheapest. You can then pick your dates, knowing what you're getting into.
2) You can "watch" routes, and it automatically updates when prices have fallen (or risen) and notifies you.
3) It predicts when prices will be higher or lower, and gives you actual numbers you should be looking/aiming for/avoiding. ACTUAL numbers. If you don't know what a "good price" is, you do now.
4) It has a cute bunny.
Rome to Rio
Daydreaming about what moves you'd throw on a hot Italian to bring him back to your dorm while you drool on your parents' pillow is cool. Planning transportation is not. But Rome2Rio does it all for you — kind of like your own personal travel planner butler with a slicker name than Jeeves.
Looking to get from Point A to Point B when Point A is a treehouse community in the middle of the rainforest in Costa Rica and Point B is a village in northern Thailand that sells "Happy Mushroom Shakes" from the bar? This sticky route doesn't seem so simple, huh?
But it totally is.
Rome2Rio will tell you exactly what you need to do step-by-step, including fare estimations and route schedules. If you're thinking it'll tell you something like "Go to your nearest bus stop at 11:31 AM, hop on the bus for $6 to the airport, take a flight for $867, grab a three-hour-long taxi ride for $55 to another airport, then take a 50-baht tuk tuk ride into Bangkok," you're not totally wrong.
The ultimate travel hack: booking a cheaper multi-stop one-way flight, and getting off before your last leg. In other words, if I want to go to LA and I see a cheap flight from Denver to San Francisco via LA, I book it and get off in LA, avoiding SFO entirely. It also gives you the price history of your route.
Skiplagged finds these for you. The one caveat: It has to be a one-way trip. If it's a round trip, the airline will likely be, "Where the eff is this person?" and give you guff on your way back.
Oh, Tripit. Where do I even begin with you? It's like having a briefcase full of travel documents, confirmation numbers, and plans all in one app on your phone. You can sync travel plans with your calendar, share with other travelers, receive real-time flight alerts, store travel docs, get fare refund notifications, find better seats, and plug in emergency contact information.
Gone are the days of frantically dropping all your crinkled papers with passport information, flight numbers, and hostel addresses your mom insisted you print out and bring with you while you stand in the rain trying to flag down a taxi. Tripit is the future of easy-breezy travel, so you better jump on board.
Let us know if there's something we've missed! Otherwise, you'd be best off downloading these. Now. Or not. Whatever. It's not like we get commission. We wish. Also, banner image by Gonzalo Baeza.