After a long wait, parts of the world are opening up to travel once again. As long as you’re careful, you can go most places, with some intermittent restrictions depending on outbreaks and variants. Yet you cannot let that stop all of your travel plans after you have already been waiting for years. So what are you to do? The first thing is to prepare your itinerary of course, but you also need to consider the costs. Travel has never been so cheap you can neglect it, but with the right tools and strategy, you can save hundreds to thousands of dollars on each trip.
And apps, now part of our everyday lives, can be a huge part of that. They can give us info on deals, traffic routes, codes to use, and so much more. They can be a direct route to a commonly used travel website and provide special perks besides. Just having your smartphone on you can be a huge deal, and you should have it on you anyway. So why not add a few apps to save you money to it? The more money you save this time, the sooner you can travel again.
Without further wait, here are fifteen travel apps we think can save you money before or during your next trip:
Our first choice is Skyscanner, which is an app dedicated to helping you find the right travel plans and book them right then and there. We think that perhaps outside of hotels, flights might be the one thing you can save money on with a little effort, some good timing, and the right app. And Skyscanner can be that app.
Skyscanner can also help with hotels, car rentals, and more, providing decent deals no matter your category. And with Skyscanner you will be able to compare different deals and venues, making it so that price isn’t your only criteria (some flights can be just a little too cramped, as much as we want to save money). Sustainable travel options are also available, as are options to save settings and preferences for a future date. Because who of us hasn’t just looked to see what travel options were out there?
What’s also nice about Skyscanner is that they never charge booking fees for their users. It’s affordable, effective, and convenient. It’s a great choice for the average frequent traveler.
Next up is Google Maps, which as you might expect is Google’s GPS and traveling aid. There used to be an amazing app called Google Trips, albeit it was discontinued by Google in 2019. It laid out all of your travel reservations in an easy-to-see place, kept them together, and helped you know exactly where you are supposed to be at a given time. If you are a busy traveler, you know how much that can help matters, especially if you aren’t traveling alone.
So why are we still mentioning Google Trips if you can’t get it? Because most of the features have been rolled into either Google Maps or other Google services. You can still track your itinerary or compare flight options. You just don’t do those in a specific travel-related app anymore. Instead, it’s all in something you likely use already.
Once you arrive, Google can provide some recommendations on where to eat, what to do, and more. After all, few companies have more information at their disposal than Google. It’s only natural that they would use it.
There are some ways you can save money with the app, as sometimes deals and discounts will be shown for some destinations you might be interested in on your trip. Yet its overall usefulness convenience is the key draw here.
And while it might not be explicitly related to saving money as most of the other apps on this list, it does make your life a whole lot easier and allows you to spot gaps in the schedule, ways you can improve your trip, and more. Effectively, it allows you to more easily use everything else and make choices that can save you money. And we think that is just as important.
Another app that makes it easy to compare prices and book trips and events, Klook is one of the best apps if you’re simply looking for things to do while on your trip. Offers more than 100,000 options around the world depending on where you are or where you are going. Even if you’re planning more of a “staycation”, you might find something new in your immediate area.
Klook also backs up its claims: if there is a better price, you will get refunded the difference. Not many apps do this, and it shows Klook’s confidence in their information gathering and services. There isn’t even a cancellation fee, as Klook understands that travel plans can get mixed up and changes to the schedule can happen.
If you don’t want to stay on the app all the time (and who would want to stay on any app too long), Klook can also send you email notifications of price changes and special deals that might be available. And with options to help you with travel as well, Klook is your one-stop app for fun on your trip.
Going out to eat and experiencing local cuisine is all part of the travel experience, but you want to do so in a smart way. Most people want to be informed before they just waltz into a restaurant. If this sounds like you, then Zomato (once known as Urbanspoon) is the app for your stomach, your wallet, and your travel plans.
The app not only lists the restaurants in your area but will also provide general price ranges if you’re looking to eat on a budget. Experienced travelers will know that expensive food is not necessarily the best food in the city, or not what you’re craving at the time. Whatever filters you want to use or whatever you are in the mood for, Zomato will help you get the experience you deserve, and hopefully, save you a few bucks in the process.
Zomato also has gotten into the food delivery game, making it a competitor with the likes of Grubhub and UberEats. Whether you are interested in such features is up to you, but the information given is still valuable nonetheless.
Price: Free, With Premium Options
An app dedicated to helping people find the cheapest airfares possible, Kayak might not save you money if you’re already on top of things, but it can save you a lot of time with your efforts. You can get notifications if there is a major price reduction or there is a potential deal waiting in the wings. This can be done via either text or email, to ensure that you don’t miss an opportunity. It is designed to be efficient, effective, and friendly to you, and Kayak has been trusted by many to help.
What makes Kayak the best for some is that it is perhaps the easiest app to book flights through. While money often trumps convenience, that isn’t always the case, and Kayak offers the whole package to prospective travelers. Kayak also helps nervous travelers keep track of flights, and to keep your mind off things you can spend some time exploring the other options available to you.
And like many other apps, Kayak also works with booking cars and hotels as well, making it easier to handle most of your trips through them. You might want to experiment with other apps as well if you want a full overview of your options, but for bookings, there’s a reason Kayak has a strong reputation that it does.
If you’re traveling by car or renting a car, you quickly learn how much gas can cost, especially in some countries. This is where GasBuddy comes in. It will let you know the cheapest gas prices in your area, help you pay for it, and provide prices for every fuel type. Furthermore, GasBuddy can help you save when it comes to fuel efficiency as well, giving you tips and the best routes to keep your car from guzzling too much of the stuff.
In some cases, you can also use GasBuddy to get a discount on gas, which is why many non-travelers use it as well. This can lead to a 5 or even 25 cent reduction per gallon. That adds up extremely quickly, especially when gas prices are reported to go up even more soon. This might be one of the few apps you get for a long road trip, and it will be worth it to use if you can save even one tank of gas in the long run.
On top of spending and saving money, just keeping track of it all can be tough when you’re traveling, where you are likely to be distracted from your normal routines and good habits. In a group scenario, this only gets worse, possibly distracting you for a half-hour or more while you do the math (or try to).
TravelSpend is here for travelers with those worries, as it is an app designed to keep track of spending, expenses, and much more. There are a few advanced features that can help, but the key takeaway is the simplicity of its design, showing you what you need to know without any distractions or a flashy UI. You don’t need a constant internet connection, and you can get a breakdown of your spending by several methods if you so desire.
TravelSpend is partially great for those travelers who are traveling with friends, to keep track of who owes who what. If you’re sharing a hotel room or things like food expenses, TravelSpend can save a few arguments and more than one sheet of notebook paper. We recommend it in general, and setup takes a few minutes you can spend at the airport or on your flight.
Price: Free, With In-app Purchases
Another app that helps you keep track of flights and get notifications in case prices go down (or up), Hopper is something you want to have on your phone if you are trying to get a cheap flight to your destination of choice. Whether you want the cheapest flight in general or the cheapest flight and hotel under some conditions, Hopper has you covered.
What makes Hopper really stand out is its calendar view, letting you compare flight prices at a glance and allowing you to check to see what dates would be best for your trip, if scheduling isn’t that much of a concern. You can even “freeze” the prices of some deals and pay later, letting you get the most for your dollar and allowing you to plan better. Hopper also understands that plans can be flexible, so they offer competitive options when it comes to refunds and rearrangements.
Hopper is also a very easy app to book a flight through, being on par with the other top-flight apps in the industry. Customer service gets plenty of compliments, and overall people are incredibly pleased with Hopper. We recommend giving it a download to see if it’s for you.
No matter which side of the app you’re on, Getaround is an interesting app. Effectively something like Airbnb for vehicles, Getaround allows people to rent the cars of people who put up their own car as an option. There are standards set in place, of course, but overall it won’t feel all that different from renting a car, though you’ll be doing most everything through the app.
Getaround might seem a little unorthodox for anyone who hasn’t used it, but essentially you rent cars not all that different than you would normally. There is a booking fee, but overall Getaround is known for being about 30 percent cheaper than rental companies. Given the price of rental cars (especially in today’s market, with shortages, abound), that can be serious savings for longer trips.
Conversely, while you are traveling and likely not using your own car, you can potentially rent it out via Getaround and have your car work for you when you aren’t using it. Some cars will not be eligible, of course, and you will need to make sure your car is in good working order. Would you want to rent a car that wasn’t working perfectly?
Using it isn’t for the wishy-washy or the faint of wallet after a time: there is a $20 subscription fee if you want to list your car and a $99 price tag on installing the app (as a seller) for the first time.
Price: Free, with subscriptions and in-app purchases.
Do you need a hotel and do you need one at an affordable price? Well as you might suspect from the name, HotelTonight might be the app for you. It is dedicated to finding the best hotel deals in your area or wherever you are planning to travel, and it covers everything from top luxury hotels to more humble accommodations. And they do have some discretion in who they work with: they don’t pick out or offer hotels that are poor in quality.
The app works quickly, can get you a hotel room quickly in an emergency, and will still work to get you the best deals in the process. There are perks programs, excellent yet brief descriptions of the hotels, and options to search by various factors. It is everything you could want in a hotel app, and it is waiting for you to download it.
An app that doesn’t explicitly save you money as much as it helps you keep track of it (which in turn leads to savings), Trail Wallet is still essential for travelers nonetheless because it can help you keep tabs on your spending no matter where you are. You can set a spending limit per day and then make sure you’re staying in the range. And if you go over on one day, you can get an adjusted budget that tracks a new daily limit to stay on overall spending. After all, you hardly spend the same amount on a trip every single day.
We think Trail Wallet is great for keeping track of the small things that can be extremely pricey for tourists. Soon you find those $4 bottles of water really eat into your budget, and you plan accordingly. With the ability to track multiple trips, track expenses and compare them over different trips, and more, it provides all the information you could ever want and more. If you’ve used a budgeting app for your home or your business, you’ll feel right at home. If you haven’t, you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
Price: Free, With In-App Purchases
Available on: Apple App Store
Data plans can be expensive, and they are especially expensive if you are traveling outside of your country. You might get charged an exorbitant rate by the gigabyte if you aren’t careful. While there are options that make things more affordable ahead of time (which you should absolutely look into), WiFi Finder is great if you need to make a larger download.
WiFi Finder does pretty much exactly what you’d expect: it pinpoints and tells you the nearest free WiFi locations so you don’t have to use your data plan. You might also learn of the neat cafes and new places in the process, so it can be nice for exploration as well. It acts as a great map in some aspects, so it pulls double duty before you run out of data.
Note that you should still be careful on public networks, especially in larger cities. Have extra security such as a VPN and don’t input or submit data that could be sensitive. Using your data plan is worth it in those instances. Identity theft can simply ruin an otherwise good vacation.
Price: Free, With In-App Purchases
Described by many as a better version of Google Maps for travelers, Waze is an app that can provide travelers with all the info they need for the city they’re in when it comes to places to go, things to do, and how to get there.
And while it doesn’t save you money explicitly through any deals or offers, what it can do is help you save gas money through pointless and unwanted travel as well as save you time, which is just as valuable to many travelers.
And of course, just because we’re talking about it in the context of travel doesn’t mean it isn’t just good for travel. It can help you with your daily commute, shorter trips to see family and friends, and much more. Use it as you see fit, and remember it the next time vacation rolls around.
There is even a somewhat social aspect to it, as other travelers and vacationers can notify the app of incidents, construction, or other potential delays, saving everyone else time in the process. The more people use it, the more helpful it becomes for everyone.
Another option that can act as a guide of sorts on your trip and act as such on a budget, Triposo is more of a platform than a specific app and works a little differently. It is an API instead of an app and makes it an option for those looking for something a little meatier to dig their teeth into.
Interestingly, Triposo also will take into account weather, special events, and more into its considerations. Unlike the common apps and maps that you’re used to, you should only get recommended things that you can properly enjoy during your trip. And even if you’re on a tight budget, Triposo can help you find cultural landmarks, public places, and less expensive venues as needed. It can save you money by design, or just by showing you a less expensive but still more interesting option.
Yet Triposo isn’t so much for customers as it is for companies and developers that want to implement it. Therefore, Triposo is something you might see in other apps or websites, making it deserving of your attention even if you don’t notice it from the start. There’s plenty of influence stemming from it, and just learning more about it can help you better understand all these other apps and how to travel efficiently.
Available on: Website
A great overall app for travelers hoping to save money on flights, Service takes advantage of the issues that often come up with airlines to get you the refunds and discounts you are entitled to.
And while unfortunately many travelers are getting their flights canceled or delayed recently, that is all the more reason to use this app. You deserve to be compensated for your inconvenience, and your voice should be heard regardless. Delays happen, but they are not your responsibility and your time is your own. Too few people make a claim these days, and they suffer financially for it.
Service also will take note of hotel reservations for you and keep track of them. There might be a change in pricing between booking and your actual arrival at the hotel. If it's lower after you book, Service will effectively rebook you, ensuring you get the lowest price.
Note that Service does take a cut of the compensation you might receive from a claim, but the hassle and their expertise are worth it. Alternatively, you can sign up for a yearly subscription from them for about $50 a year. If that’s the case, then you keep everything from any claim made in your name.
Price: Free, With Premium Options
While we believe most of the above apps will be useful to you, they are tools, and most tools are not meant to be universally useful. Therefore, keep the following in mind:
The app market is filled with options that promise to save you money or make travel easier. Yet not all are alike. Not every app listed above will be best for you or be the best option for every trip, but we hope that you can get some good ideas about what to keep installed on your phone whenever you next feel the call to adventure. Whether you are going on a road trip, across the world, or something a touch more local, there’s an app for you. We hope you have a great time wherever you go and that your trip doesn’t break the bank.