Planning a summer vacation? You can now easily plan your entire vacation using your smartphone. There are numerous travel apps out there that will help you plan every stage of your vacation – right from browsing for locations to making travel arrangements, booking hotels, cabs, planning your itinerary, and more. Furthermore, you can even check-in at the airport using your smartphone by opting for the electronic boarding pass; similarly, the virtual reservation message sent on your phone by the railways will act as a valid ticket.
Choose your destination
If you are not sure of the place you want to visit, then you can start by browsing locations on apps like Lonely Planet Travel Guide (Android, iOS), HolidayIQ (Android, iOS), Trip Advisor (Android, iOS), India Trip Planner (Android), India Travel Guide (Android, iOS) and iXiGo (Android, iOS) amongst others. These apps will help you narrow down your choices based on your interests, the activities that you want to undertake, your budget, and other criterias. Here you can read the reviews about the travel destinations shared by travellers, which will provide greater insight than the information you get in travel brochures. These are invaluable first hand experiences shared by people, telling you what they have to say about the place, what they liked or disliked, places to avoid, best way to commute etc. Once you have decided upon the location, you can then create an itinerary based on the places you want to visit.
Book your hotel, flight, train tickets with this app
Booking your tickets
Booking tickets these days calls for more belt-tightening than usual. To avoid seasonal price peaks, it's advisable to book tickets as early as possible; this will also ensure that you get the best rates. You can now book tickets using your smartphone thanks to several mobile apps. Apps like MakeMyTrip (Android, iOS), ClearTrip (Android, iOS) and IRCTC (Android) are quite handy for booking flights, bus and train tickets. IRCTC app can be used to book train tickets and also to check the PNR status, train timings and more. If you choose to travel by bus, then head to Redbus to book your tickets. Redbus displays the complete list of buses that run on a particular route, along with the ticket prices and pick-up and drop points (click here to read the review for Redbus). On the other hand, if you are planning to take a flight, then you can use apps like SkyScanner (Android, iOS) and Kayak (Android, iOS) for the best rates. And if you need to book a cab or even rent a vehicle, then you can do so by using apps like MakeMytrip, IRCTC and Orbitz (Android, iOS).
Apps to book your hotel
When it comes to booking a hotel room, it’s not just the rates that you need to consider, but also the upkeep, its location and availability of other add-ons. The pictures of the hotel room displayed online could be older ones and the room may turn out to be in derelict condition in reality. Another aspect to consider is the distance, as you can be misled into believing that the hotel is at the heart of the city, while it could be on the outskirts. In such a scenario, you will end up spending a considerable amount of time commuting.Therefore, to avoid all these hassles, it's a good idea to read up about the hotel and see what fellow travellers have to say about it. Apps like HolidayIQ and TripAdvisor will provide you with truthful unbiased reviews. After you have finalised your hotel, you can then proceed to make a booking. To do so, you can use apps like Expedia Hotels & Flights (Android, iOS), Hotels.com (Android, iOS), MakeMyTrip and iXiGo.
Get the best rates
Discover the place
They say that the best way to explore a destination is on foot, so having a map can be handy. While paper maps may have a charm of their own, not everybody is good at reading them. Also, carrying them around can be a cumbersome task. What will come to your rescue are the maps available on smartphones. There are several services you can choose from – Google Maps being the most popular one. Other equally popular apps include MapsOfIndia and MapMyIndia. But while these maps provide in-depth and extensive information without any doubt, they have a limitation as they require Internet connectivity. And data charges outside your home network will prove to be an expensive affair. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps that provide you with the option of downloading beforehand the map of the destination you plan to visit, which you can then access offline. MapsWithMe (Android), City Maps 2Go (Android, iOS), TouristEye (Android, iOS) and tripwolf (Android, iOS) are some of the options you can explore for offline maps. Apart from maps, some of these apps also provide you with additional details like places to visit, recommendations and other travel related information, which you may find handy.
Plan every aspect of your trip
Things you may need
Apart from the apps mentioned above, which will help you plan your travel and make your bookings, there are several other apps that will come to your aid when you are vacationing. Before you set off on your vacation, there are several things you need to keep track of – checking on ticket bookings (if your tickets aren't confirmed), packing all the essentials and so on. Any.Do (Android, iOS) is a great reminder/to-do-list app that will ensure everything happens on time. Another great planner and organiser option is TripIt (Android, iOS). You can forward all your reservation emails, e-tickets and car rental details to TripIt and then access them anytime, anywhere.
Do away with the language barrier using Google Translate
Most of us avoid carrying a lot of cash when on vacation and tend to rely on credit/debit cards, but not all places will accept them. Moreover, locating an ATM could be very tedious in an unknown, new place. Fret not, as you can then use the ATM Locator (Android, iOS) app. When travelling abroad, you might also want to know the current exchange rates. XE Currency (Android, iOS) is a great mobile app that comes to your rescue by providing accurate exchange rates. Last but not the least, to break the language barrier, you have apps like Google Translate (Android) and Word Lens (Android, iOS).
Disclaimer: The apps mentioned herein are available for other mobile platforms as well, but we have provided links only for the Android and iOS platform.