The days of clunky travel books and paper maps that never fold back up right are in the past. Nowadays, there are tons of tools for the 21st century traveler. Here are 10 of my favorite:
I love using Google Flights to find the perfect ticket for my next trip. They have great filters that will let you be as specific or as flexible as you want on any detail about your flight. Don't like the prices you are seeing? Set up a price alert to get emailed when the price of your desired itinerary changes!
Scott's Cheap Flights
Don't have time to constantly be searching Google Flights for deals? My friend Scott has your back. Scott's Cheap Fights is basically just a newsletter that lets you know when there are price mistakes or sales on flights. You just tell them your home airport and they'll send you tons of destinations and prices (usually less than $500).
There are tons of travel search engines and booking companies and everyone seems to have a favorite. I love Booking.com because of their mix of hotels and hostels (most site are either/or), rewards program (book 5 times then get 10% off every future order, and most of all, no money down at time of booking and great cancellation policies.
Click the button below to receive a $20 discount on your first booking!
Ok this one might just be for crazy perfectionist travelers like me but Travefy is seriously such a beautiful and easy tool. It is really meant for professional travel planners or for people planning trips for large groups of friends or family. It's basically an interactive online itinerary where you can store ticket information, reservations, and expenses.
I use Trello for everything, grocery lists, collaborating with co-workers on our next project, and when planning upcoming trips. It's a great depository for all the photos and links you collect during the research phase of planning a trip. You can create different lists, add photos and links, color code your list items, and share with friends. I usually put everything I want to do and people's recommendations in Trello then try and figure out what I can fit into the trip and in what order.
When traveling to a new place, it's always helpful to learn a few phrases in the local language. For everything else, use Icon Babel to communicate via handy symbols. With Icon Babel, you simply point to the icon of what you need and show the person you are trying to communicate with. You don't need a connection to the Internet, so even in the most remote places of the world, you can use this app, and communicate with the people in the area!
You won't find "do you have a condom?" in your average Spanish dictionary!
Lonely Planet is my favorite travel guide company, besides North Star of course. More useful than their country guides, are their phrasebooks. If you plan on spending a significant amount of time in a country where people speak a language you don't, get one of these books.
"But, Star, these are paper books. How could they be 'high-tech'?" I know, I know. But they are organized really well and some of the phrases are pretty hilarious so I couldn't leave it out of this list. You won't find "do you have a condom?" in your average Spanish dictionary!
If you want to go whole hog and actually learn a new language before you go, be sure to download Duolingo. It makes learning a new language as fun as playing an iPhone game. The app has tons of languages available and uses native speakers and cute animation to help you learn in no-time flat. You can even connect and compete with friends. The best part is that it's totally free! (There are some in-app purchases available but they are not necessary to taking the course.)
A favorite among frequent travelers, MAPS.ME offers free, downloadable city maps complete with offline location tracking and step-by-step directions. Google Maps now has downloadable and customizable maps but I still prefer MAPS.ME because it somehow always knows my exact location, even when I've been in airplane mode for 2 weeks.
Google My Maps
While not as useful on the ground as MAPS.ME, I still like using the "my maps" feature of Google Maps the plot out all the point of interest I'd like to visit in a given area. You can ad custom pins and save routes to make sure you are taking the best way. Google Maps was clutch when I was trying to figure out how far we could get in a given day during our Icelandic road trip.
Know of any great travel resources I didn't include in this list? Drop me a line in the comments section.
Go confidently travelers!
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