Best Travel Apps

Here is a list of vacation apps that allow you make the best use of your smart phone from boarding the flight, to finding your way around town. These apps will help you on almost every leg of your journey. This comes after you plan your trip of course.

Know your phone costs

If you plan to make a fair number of calls, it is best to purchase a local sim from the airport. A data plan should ideally be avoided if you can locate free or cheap WiFi spots with the Free Wi-Fi Finder.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for free

Another option is to rent from for a flat rate of $15 per day. Do check with your carrier for international roaming plans and compare rates.


Book your flight

Use  Matrix Airfare Search to find the best flight deal.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for free

Find your best seat on the flight using Seat-Guru.

Note: Available for Apple for free


Know your flight

In case of flight delays, use FlightTrack Pro to provide you with quick updates.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for $9.99

If you are in the US, you can check what the carrier legally owes you for any inconvenience using FlyersRights.

Note: Available for Apple for $0.99


Know the airport

Use GateGuru to identify eateries, services, and stores near your terminal and how travelers rate them. It also provides airport maps and airport security wait times.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for free

If you are unavoidably late and miss your connecting flight, use Next Flight to list of all available flights up till the next two days. If there really are no suitable options, it allows you to look for cabs, hotels and car rentals.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for $2.99

To keep up with changing rules on baggage and identification, use My TSA to check what items you can carry and more.

Note: Available for Apple for free


Know your time killers

If you have an extremely long layover, use Priority Pass to find and check prices of airport lounges.

Note: Available for Apple, Android, Blackberry for free

The first thing I normally do when I have some time to kill is open Kindle.

Note: Available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone for free

You can also use the Pocket app to save articles, videos, or web pages to read offline at your leisure.

Note: Available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone for free

If reading is not your thing, then the next fascinating thing is to play games, there are plenty of games to choose from the Techie-Buzz archives (Techie-Buzz:Top 8 Pub Game iPhone Apps).

Know your itinerary

Instead of having multiple print outs, use TripIt to organize all your trip reservations like you would in your own pocket diary.

Note: Available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone  for free

Know your weather

Plan for any weather contingency using the reliable Weather Channel.

Note: Available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry,Windows Phone for free

Know your budget

The most stressful thing about trips is keeping track of where your money has gone. Keep track of bills and your current cash reserve using Virtual Wallet.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for free


Know your transport

The best way to explore a city is by foot or using public transportation. The MetrO app has details on public transportation systems in more than 400 cities across the world.

Note: Available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone  for free

If you are on a road trip in the US, use RoadNinja to find stops for the local attractions in addition to food, medicine, gas, and lodging along the way.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for free


Know your city

Plan your local sightseeing tours with Viator that sells tours in many major destinations around the world.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for free

In addition to the much loved Google Maps, use Yelp to get the local’s recommendation for the best places to be at, no matter what time it is.

Note: Both available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Palm  for free

The local newspapers often have details on activities and discounts available for the day. Use City Papers to find where the local’s are heading. It has access to 3,000 English-language ­newspapers worldwide.

Note: Available for Apple for $0.99

Get the details of the sights and sounds in the city using Wikihood that pulls details from Wikipedia entries.

Note: Available for Apple  for free

If you are in a city where you do not speak the language, use Google Translate for easier communication.

Note: Available for Apple, Android for free

Top Tips to Plan Your Vacation

As the holiday season nears its peak, we take a look at some of the most important travel-planning tips. Also, check some of our tricks to help you get the best deal for airline and accommodation booking with minimal effort.

Step 1: Fix the Location

This should be one of the easiest things to do. I am sure as you read this, you already have quite a few options in your mind on where your next trip will be.

Step 2: Time It

Plan the timing of your visit with care. For example, if you plan a trip to Goa ( a tropical get-away in India), you will be faced with exorbitant rates around Christmas time up till new year. However, if you check the prices during the monsoons, you will find that you can arrange steals from some of the best hotels there.

Check for free days for your trip too. For example, many cities have free museum visits on certain days of the year.

Step 3: Look for Flight Fares

Social media is a beautiful thing when it comes to arranging fares. With Twitter and Facebook, you can find many deals if you spend some time looking. 

Flight booking tip: There is no point making your booking extremely early on. Ideally, you will plan your trip, but only book your flight around 3 to 6 weeks in advance for local trips, and about 3 to 4 months in advance for international tips. At this stage use, it is one of the best fare predictors that I have come across.

Confirm that you are getting the best deal for your flight by comparing prices with global aggregators like MobissimoSkyscanner or Momondo.

Currency conversion tip: It is good to remember the importance of currency conversion for international trips. For example, as the US Dollar is far stronger than the Indian Rupee it makes sense to look for tickets on rather than However, if you plan a trip to the UK, because of the Pound’s higher value, stick to looking at the US site.

Alternate travel means tip: When you are travelling locally to multiple destinations, look for alternative transport means, if you have the time. For example, in some countries exchanging your two-hour flight for an overnight trip by bus or train will save you a lot more money.

Step 4: Look for Accommodation

If you are not averse to couch surfing or doing the odd home-sitting job, check some sites like House CarersCouchSurfing, Mind My House and  Home Exchange. There are plenty of interesting options other than the hotel+flight deals you may get on sites like Kayak (that searches through Orbitz, Priceline, and many more), Makemytrip, ChepoairGoogle and Travelocity to name a few. Accommodation at hostels and Bed-and-Breakfasts in many locations is far less expensive than hotels.

If you plan to travel during the non-peak season though, checking hotel prices is a good option.

 Step 5: Book your Fares

I recommend doing the actual booking of the flight on the airline site itself. You may find that the prices are slightly lower, plus in case of any last-minute changes it is easier to deal with an airline if you say that you booked from their website itself. Remember to use the currency conversion tip here as well.

Based on reports, it is best to make your booking on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening, as that is when tickets are supposedly priced at their lowest for the week. Remember the flight booking tip here as well.

According to the WSJ,

Rick Seaney, chief executive of, studied three years worth of airline prices and concluded that 3 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday was the best time to buy.

If you are a student, you may have special concessions. This varies from airline-to-airline. Also, there is a lot said about airline miles. Though I am a novice, I can still say that it works. You have to remember that there are multiple ways of collecting miles in addition to actually travelling.

If you are staying at a hotel, don’t forget to check if you can avail a free upgrade. At worst they will say no, so there is no loss. This applies to anything, You Don’t Know Until You Ask.