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It’s here — the holiday season is already upon us. But before you start thinking too much about where the year went, arm your smartphone with the best free money-saving travel apps to get you prepared for your upcoming travel.
The following apps will save you money on flights and help navigate your busy travel schedule. These are the 10 best free apps to download today.
Best apps to compare flights
When you search for flights, start with Skyscanner. The app is so efficiently laid out, searching for flights is easy and fast. I like using Skyscanner because it gives you an awesomely detailed look at what of the flights entail. This includes layover time, what kind of jet, and personal entertainment options on the plane. It even tells you whether the plane has power outlets! This is so important for those who need to work while in the air.
Perhaps your holiday season means taking a vacation, rather than Grandma’s house. In that case, use Skyscanner to find the best deals and filter your search by month. I like the fact that the app does the legwork for you and shows recommendations for things like weekend travel, solo, and kids-free travel.
Hopper is a flight-watching app tells you roughly how much flights will cost in a nicely laid-out calendar view. You can set alerts and watch flights in case the price goes down.
I’ve only booked an actual flight on Hopper once but it was really easy — just a few clicks and I was done.
I mostly use Hopper to gauge how much a trip will cost and when they predict prices to rise or fall. Hopper’s calendar view makes it easy to see when flight prices are generally higher and lower for your destination.
There’s something to be said about one of the most robust flight comparison tools around. Kayak gives you the latest information on flight costs, lets you watch flights, and lets you seamlessly book flights through the app.
JustFly.com shows you the best prices for flights and you can get alerts for price drops. There are also sections within the app to compare prices and search for hotels, cars, and cruises.
The best apps to save money on road trips or if you need a car
If your holiday travel involves hitting the road, make sure you give the following apps a home on your smartphone screen. Don’t forget your credit card with car rental insurance!
Whether you use GasBuddy for local or long trips, it’s a great way to get the lowest deals on petrol. The location-based app shows you the cheapest prices for gas. You can even map your trip with their Gas Estimator, which calculates how much you’d need based on the distance of the ride and your vehicle.
GasBuddy has evolved their product offerings — you can join their free membership program and get a discount of 5 cents per gallon each time you fill up. You need to link your phone’s digital wallet with GasBuddy to take advantage of this offer.
It always surprises me when people tell me they’ve never heard of the car rental app, Turo. It’s basically Airbnb for cars and it’s cheaper than going to a big-name car rental. The fun part about Turo is the variety of cars available. They have everything from a Priuses to Porsches. I’ve rented cars from Turo a handful of times, including a convertible Mustang last year in Hawaii.
If you pay a little more, the vehicle owner will drop it off in the location of your choice. Many owners also drop off at airports, so you can conveniently get your vehicle after a flight.
If you want an alternative to Turo or only need to rent a car for a few hours to run errands, try Getaround. It’s another peer-to-peer car sharing service. Their rates are also very reasonable — it starts at $5 an hour for certain cars. The app even offers 24/7 roadside assistance. Rental insurance is also built into the cost, and like Turo, there’s no paperwork.
You can also unlock the car from your smartphone.
Travel apps that streamline your schedule
How many times have you wondered, “Wait, when is my flight?” or “How much did I spend?” A big part of traveling is getting organized, especially if you have a lot of travel planned this season.
Service saves you money in the event of a delayed flight or cancelation.
When you sign up, you give Service permission to sync with your email. Then it scans your inbox for flight and hotel reservations. In the event your flight is delayed or even canceled, Service will do the legwork for you. They contact the airline and file a claim for compensation on your behalf.
If they are successful, you can save up to $300, according to Service. The app is free to use but if they save you money, they get a 30 percent cut. For instance, if they saved you $100, they take $30 as profit. If you travel frequently, you may consider joining their membership for $49 a year. If you go this route, there’s no percentage taken out.
9. Trail Wallet
For the budget-minded travelers, Trail Wallet helps you track your spending. You can track your money in more than 200 currencies. The app helps you set a budget when you travel, but you have to input each purchase you make. This means you need to be diligent about using the app after each purchase.
You can set a daily budget and Trail Wallet will tell you how much you have left to spend on a daily basis.
10. Google Trips
Google Trips is the best travel app that keeps me organized! Google Trips connects to your Gmail and pulls your travel reservations in one place. Since I have trips planned every month until March 2019, using Google Trips has been a godsend.
Since using Google Trips, I no longer have to scan my calendar to see when I’m traveling. It even shows you where you’ve traveled previously, in case you need to access it.
It also helps you easily find how to get around, things to do, places to eat and even gives you the option to save certain places and things you want to see and do after you arrive at the destination.
While it wasn’t specifically built for helping you save money on your trips, there’s a “discount” section you can easily browse through by location or destination. For example, when I put in Santago, Chile as my destination, it showed me 20% off discount on tours and activities.
How will you save on holiday travel with travel apps?
Traveling is expensive, especially for the holidays. Load up on travel apps to help you save, but don’t forget to book your flights well ahead of time. Take advantage of the alerts that you can receive when prices drop, and stay organized with travel apps like Google Trips.
What are your favorite money-saving travel apps?
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.