By LAURA MURPHY
We know the drill. Holidays are supposed to be an escape from it all, where you can finally sit back, relax and enjoy spending time with family and friends. It’s a time to explore places you’ve never been, eat new foods, and experience a new culture.
But without proper planning, not only can your holiday be stressful, it can also end up costing you more than it should. Everything seems to add up quickly – accommodations, airfare, car hire (however, Nova Car Hire does make reserving car hire more affordable), and other expenses on location.
Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of our top apps that will help save you money while traveling so you can put your money where it matters most – creating new experiences. Here are six apps we don’t think you should leave home without:
Available for the iPhone, Android, and HP phone, Currency helps you ensure you’re getting the most for your money when traveling abroad. The app features 128 currencies from 184 countries and provides up-to-date exchange rates so you always know the value of your money when traveling.
Pro Tip: Don’t use the exchange stations in the airport – they often charge a fee for exchanging your money and will end up costing you much more in the long run. Instead, go to a bank or ATM.
When you’re relaxing on a holiday, the last thing you need is an expensive speeding ticket to add to your day. If you’re renting a car at your destination, you won’t want to live without Trapster. It alerts you when you’re nearby a speed trap, red light camera, and other hazards. The app can also help you discover new destinations and map directions.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of the app’s speed feature that will alert you of changing speed limits so you’ll stay safe on the road.
Don’t spend your money on expensive guidebooks or translation dictionaries when you can have it all at the tip of your fingers. Babelingo helps you learn popular phrases in 11 different languages that are broken down by category like conversation, time, money, eating out, medical, and more.
Pro tip: Learn at least a few of the common phrases (greetings, please and thank you, etc.) before traveling to a new country. Locals will be much friendlier.
If you often misplace receipts, it’s easy to forget what you’ve spent your money on. Expensify puts everything in one place by syncing your credit card or bank account with the app so you’ll have a copy of most charges as soon as they happen. If your purchase is made with cash or isn’t eligible for an eReceipt, you can take a photo of the receipt and Expensify will manually enter it in your account.
Pro tip: Check with your bank before you leave the country to see what kind of fees you’ll be charged when you use your card internationally. Most are a small per cent but it never hurts to ask.
Who needs a travel agent when you have TripIt? Simply forward all air itineraries, hotel reservations, car rental confirmations, and more to your free TripIt.com account and the app will put your master itinerary at your fingertips. As a bonus, you can look at weather conditions in your destination before you leave (who hasn’t forgotten a jacket on a cold evening) and even access driving directions to your destination so you’ll know whether to skip the expensive cab and opt for public transportation instead.
Pro tip: Take advantage of the free alerts, which lets your spouse, business partner, and others get updates on your travel status.
Have you ever been in a new city, only to sit down at a restaurant and realize it’s way above your price range? Or, perhaps you wasted money on a terrible meal because you didn’t have access to real reviews before you got there? With the Yelp app, say goodbye to bad restaurants. You can search in your area by cuisine type, price range, distance, and rating to find the restaurant that’s right for you. And, it’s available for nearly every phone including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Palm Pre.
Pro tip: If you don’t want to read through full reviews, take a look at the “quick tips” which usually feature reviewer’s recommendations for great dishes.
Before you embark on your next holiday, make sure you’ve downloaded at least a couple of these apps. They’ll make your next trip more enjoyable – and even better, less expensive and stress-free.
Laura Murphy has lead the eclectic vagabond life, traveling here and there and now has settled into the perfect gig for the perpetual itinerant: writing for the money-saving gurus at http://www.novacarhire.com/ She’s learned a thing or two about saving money on travel and hopes you follow her on her quest to share her lessons with folks who have a traveler’s heart, if not the budget.