Raise your hand if, like me, you spend more than a third of your day on your phone? 🖐  Great! Me to!  Now here’s how you can maximize some of that time to ensure a headache-free travel trip.

Planning a trip can be complicated and juggling flight reservations and hotel bookings are often only the starts of it. Now more than ever, Travel applications have made it easy to plan successful hassle-free trips from your smart devices within minutes. Travel apps are not only a source of inspiration but also extremely useful for booking and managing logistics — even making restaurant reservations or finding a great fitness class wherever in the world you’re flying to next to managing tour bookings and saving money with deals.

In this post, I share the five applications that have helped me curate ridiculously amazing trips like a boss.

SKYSCANNER

If you’ve ever asked yourself this question: How do I find super cheap flights? Then Skyscanner is the app for you. With over 100 Million monthly users, Skyscanner has cemented itself as an authority in the budget travel space. The app is quite possibly the easiest way to search for the cheapest flights (no kidding) compare prices and book international tickets from global service providers with a click of a button. Saving you endless hours of manual labor (if you had to do it yourself) and huge amounts of cash.

With functionalities that are second to none in the industry, the travel app allows you to instantly search for domestic and international flight deals from any airline in the world. Crack it open (or visit the web version) and put in your information (where you’re headed, where you’re traveling from, and travel dates) the app will source for amazing deals that’ll blow your socks off (how does a $400 round trip ticket to Ibiza sound?) The search functions are flexible and highly tailored, allowing you to refine your search by price; layovers, total flight time city (cause sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to another city, then continue on to make your way via domestic flight, train, or coach to your desired location.)

The highlight of the app is if, for example, you are a long-term traveler looking for a next destination or maybe you want to go somewhere for a weekend but don’t know where, the ”Everywhere” option is a lifesaver, Instead of a fixed destination, just select “everywhere” from the drop-down list. Skyscanner will now work its magic and bring you a list of possible destinations, starting with the cheapest place first. Each price will be the best they have available for that country/city.

Another great reason I love the app so much (actually, I think it’s what pulled me in) is the monthly feature. You can insert your destination and search for flight deals by the month. A graphic layout of each month with color-coded dates and ticket prices will show you the cheapest months and days to travel (a friend who I recommended the app to was able to score a $300 round trip ticket to Dubai this way.)

COUCHSURFING

I don’t know about you, but as a struggling gen z with an unhealthy thirst for adventure, saving money wherever possible has become the crux of my life. This is why every day, I bless the universe for giving the creators of Couchsurfing their amazing idea.

Couchsurfing is a service that connects members to a global community of travelers. Use Couchsurfing to find a place to stay or share your home and hometown with travelers. The app basically connects you with other wanderers across the globe who will offer you a place to stay in their home (and sometimes food) for free. This automatically cuts off the cost of getting a hotel out of your budget, saving you hundreds of dollars to invest in other aspects of your travel.

The community of couchsurfers is perhaps one of the greatest in the world (and I’m not just saying that… okay maybe I am.) I have never met a surfer that I am not still friends. Other than finding hosts in a new city or hosting someone, you can turn on your “hang out” feature to connect with surfers around your general location who would like to hang out for a beer, dinner, or explore a new site. Additionally, Couchsurfers organize regular events in 200,000 cities around the world, use the meetup feature to find a meetup or event happening near you, there’s always something to do and new friends to meet. In my opinion, this is the fastest way to make friends in a new city.

If you are in Abuja or Dubai, shoot me an email and I’ll connect you to the city’s Couchsurfing squad.

GOOGLE

From google maps to google translate and local guides, it’s really impossible not to mention this giant. Navigate your way through a new city with Maps, easily communicate with locals with google translate and find amazing recommendations (submitted by other travel enthusiasts) with local guides and backup pictures and videos on google drive (a dear friend lost her trip to India when her phone crashed, always backup your content on a daily basis.)

PAKCPOINT

Talk about a time saver! I have never been able to successfully pack my backpack or suitcase properly with all the items I need before this app. I always seem to either under/overpack, forget one too many essential items, or (and this is the worst) pack for the wrong weather. 

PackPoint is an intelligent packing app and travel packing list builder that tells you what you need to pack based on location; weather in your destination, length of stay, and (most importantly) what activities you’ll be engaging in.

Crack open the app and slam in your travel location, dates, and tentative itinerary and let the app work its magic. You first select your destination, the reason for the trip (business or leisure), sex, length of stay, and other key filters like baby, international, work, beach, laundry capabilities, and more. Then, voilà: a custom packing list is curated just for you. You’re able to modify the number of items (like two swimsuits instead of just one), add new items and hide items you don’t need and then check things you’ve packed off as you go. The premium version, which costs $2.99 (N1,231, AED10.98) in the App Store allows integration of other apps like Evernote and more functionalities, letting users add custom activities. Both the free and premium versions allow users to share the list with travel friends via email or social media.

TripIt

Remember that one time you missed your flight because you accidentally forgot your check-in time? Or maybe the flight was moved and didn’t get the email on time? Or how about that time you had to spend seven long hours doing nothing at the airport because your flight time got messed up. No? Didn’t happen to you? Just me? Okay…

If any or all of the unfortunate events listed above have happened to you or you’d rather it never happened to you, then TripIt is all you need. The app allows you to master and make sense of your travel planning. Create an itinerary for each trip and allow the app to keep you two steps ahead from planning to touch down. Once you have confirmed your bookings, shoot an email to plans@tripit.com and their magical elves will go about creating your travel itinerary and will keep adding anything you book. What’s more? The app can automatically update you on important information like if your flight has been moved, remind you of when to leave for the airport and what time to check-in, send terminal gate reminders and real-time security line alerts plus help you find your booking number faster, and with their new integration with Siri, you can do all these handsfree.

There you go! Please share in the comments which of these you are already using or will check out, and if you’re not doing so already, be sure to follow me on Instagram @thebensonekpo and shoot me a DM about whatever, I’d love to connect with you and share whatever tips I have to help you find your personal freedom. 

See you next post,

Benson Ekpo,

XOXO

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