Mobile devices are our constant companions, especially when traveling far from home. But smartphones and tablets can do more than entertain us on long flights. Our friends at EcoSalon recommend these five must-download apps to help you save money, time and energy while on the road.
Traveling is stressful, which is funny, because we’re often trying to get away from the everyday obligations that stress us out! Whether it’s a solo business trip or a spontaneous road trip, traveling requires the seamless coordination of many variables. Between flight times, packing lists, hotel reservations, rental cars and that nagging need to check our email, it’s no wonder we often dread travel rather than looking forward to it.
This doesn’t have to be the case, though. Assembling a low-stress, efficient trip can be as easy as picking up your smartphone. We’re surrounded by gadgets that are supposed to make our lives easier, but sometimes they need a little help. Here are five free or low-cost mobile apps that will help you plan and execute your next adventure with just the touch of a button.
Airbnb - a peer-to-peer marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone. Available for both iPhones and Androids, this app puts unique properties in 33,000+ cities and 192+ countries at your fingertips. From guest bedrooms to entire homes, use this app to browse Airbnb’s curated collections showcasing exceptional Airbnb properties, communicate with prospective hosts and guests from your Airbnb inbox, access your itinerary and host details, and get one-click directions to your destination. Free.
PackingPro – The best way to avoid forgetting your underwear or a warm sweater is to make a list. PackingPro is an app for the iPhone andiPad that offers recommended packing lists for all sorts of trips. Just select the list that’s right for your destination, and tick off items (including extra items for babies, kids, pets, sports/activities, cooking, etc.) as they go into your luggage. You can also save lists from previous itineraries and schedule reminders, like watering the plants before you leave. $2.99.
TripIt - Losing the hotel address or forgetting a vehicle reservation number is a traveler’s nightmare. Instead of trying to keep track of five different confirmation numbers, addresses or contact numbers, TripIt can help you organize all pertinent information into one master itinerary. Available for nearly any mobile device, this app makes it easy to organize maps and directions, travel notes, photos, recommendations, and share details with relatives or coworkers. Free.
Wi-Fi Finder – Unless you’re traveling with your own mobile hotspot, or really like spending money on coffee, available Wi-Fi networks can be hard to come by. Wi-Fi Finder puts close to 500,000 free and paid Wi-Fi hotspots in over 144 countries right at your fingertips. Available for iPhone and Androids, this app delivers Wi-Fi hotspot details and makes it easy to call the location, get directions to it or add it to your favorites.Free.
Spotcycle - Looking for an alternative to rental cars and taxi cabs? Major cities around the world are launching bike-sharing programs, temporary rental services that make it possible to reduce your carbon footprint while getting a unique view of your destination. Available for just about any mobile device, Spotcycle makes it easy to search for and sort bike stations near you that have bikes available for rent. It also displays bikes paths and lanes in select cities. Free.
--by Beth Buczynski
--photos courtesy of EcoSalon and istockphoto/Jules_Kitano
This post originally appeared in EcoSalon.
EcoSalon is the web's leading conscious culture and fashion publication for women. Featuring style, design, life and culture, the arts, food, sex and relationships, EcoSalon is the first and finest general interest website for the modern green woman.