Planning your dream vacation can be a daunting task as is, with the possibility of hours spent in front of a computer or on the phone searching for the best hotels, restaurants, activities or other trip options. But modern technology is making vacation planning easier than it has ever been, especially if you have a smart phone, tablet or laptop. Here are five dynamic apps that can turn your mobile accessories into vacation planning assistants.
1. Google Maps with Navigation — The mobile industry standard in navigation, Google Maps lets you explore a site long before you ever visit in person. Want to know what a historic district looks like? Google’s Streetview technology allows you to drop to ground level and imagine you were already there. The app also has a navigation function that allows you to enter a street address, pinpoint your current location, and pick the best route between the two.
2. GuidePal — This app is excellent for finding highly recommended sights in major cities around the world. Restaurants, bars, beaches, shopping areas, GuidePal not only helps you plan the trip in advance but also be flexible once you get there. The app itself is free but individual city guides can be purchased for $1.99 USD each.
3. Kayak — A popular app for finding and booking hotels, Kayak’s free app takes the hassle out of calling a hotel to book a room. Mirroring its larger website, the mobile app allows you to find and review hotels, from inexpensive travel lodges to 5-star resorts. Plus, the app features hotel reviews and photos so you know more about each destination with detailed directions.
4. Yelp — A fantastic mobile business directory, Yelp helps you find local services, like restaurants, medical facilities, stores, and financial help. Being away from home is wonderful but it also forces you to search for those city amenities you’re used to at home. This free app allows you to find businesses and read reviews to see which is the best spot for you.
5. CarRentals — The choice of car rental is often left to the last minute, but using CarRentals.com’s free mobile search app helps you sort through your auto options until you find the right agency and style. Why not rent an automobile on your dream vacation so you can get out and explore? This app searches multiple agencies, large and small, to provide you with the most options.
Jennie is a travel planner, blogger and author. In her spare time, she enjoys scrapbooking, baking and playing fetch with her dog Freckles.