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Best Travel Apps

How many people take their smart phones with them when they travel? Well, everyone. Smartphones can be of so much benefit when traveling, not only for staying in touch but they can also help us have a productive and smoother trip. In this article, I will share some of my favorite apps and/or websites I constantly use while planning a trip or during my travels.

How to find Cheap Airfare

Skyscanner - Skyscanner is a search engine which finds you the cheapest airfare possible for your destination. If you feel adventurous, you also have the opportunity of searching airfare to the destination where it is the cheapest for the specific dates or month you're searching. This app will find airlines which you don't even know exist. You can also save your search and schedule alerts for when prices change. You can either use their website or download their app.

Momondo - Similar to Skyscanner, Momondo is also a search engine that allows you to find cheap airfare, no matter the destination and or travel dates. It also provides the option of getting alerted when your flights change price. You can either download the app or use their website.

Going (Formerly known as Scott's Cheap Flights) - Going works a little differently from Skyscanner & Momondo. Going mostly provides you with flight deals based on your home departure airport. After signing up, you will receive emails alerting you of any deals based on your preferences. You can get domestic and international deals, weekend getaways, mistake fares from your airport and/or all U.S. airports. When you get alerted about a deal, you will receive the destination, months/days for which the deal is valid, departure airport (if you selected more than one home airport), airlines and prices.

They have a free membership, which gives you access to limited amount of domestic deals (economy class) and you'll get them 1-2 days after the deal has come out. Their Premium membership gives you access to a lot of international & domestic deals, as well as mistake fares, and you will be in their "first to know" bunch. These deals will also be just in economy class. Their Elite membership provides the same benefits as the Free and Premium membership, but you get deals in all seating classes and you also control the types of deals you want to receive. They do not have an app for download, but you can join via their website.

Hopper - This is an app that allows you to search for a destination at a specific date range and allows you to keep track of the flights price fluctuations. It will alert you when prices go up, down or when they recommend it's the right time to book your flights.

How to find Airport Lounges

Lounge Buddy - If you're the type of traveler that likes to wait in airport lounges, then this is the app for you. With Lounge Buddy you can search for airport lounges by airport. Once you enter the airport, you will see a list of the lounges available at your time of travel and it will list for each lounge: Terminal/location of the lounge, times of operation, amenities it provides, booking requirements and restrictions, as well as the price.

How to Organize your Trip

TripIt - The TripIt app organizes and creates a travel itinerary based on the email confirmations you receive whether it be flight confirmations, hotel reservations, cruises confirmation, etc. You also have the option of forwarding your confirmation emails to a specific, but as of now, I've never had the need to do it. In addition to creating your itinerary, it provides you with flight alerts when there are any changes on your reservation such as gate changes or delays. It also reminds you when it's time to head to the airport and many more goodies. There is a free and a paid subscription, and you can either use their website or download their app.

How to get Help Packing

Packr - This is a great app that helps you get organized when it comes to packing for your trips. You can create different types of lists whether it be for a specific destination, a specific season or a specific member of the family. Each type of trip entails you packing certain specific items, for example, you won't pack the same things for a sky trip and a cruise, or tropical island and a trip to Europe. They a have variety of pre-generated lists that you can always customize to your needs. It is a very handy app for those who are bad at packing.

Express VPN - This an important app that many people do not take into consideration when traveling. When you travel, special abroad, you need to be connected to public WiFi, unless you have an amazing data plan with your mobile carrier. When you get connected to public WiFi, you may come into contact with hackers you want to steal your private information. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps you keep your information safe by establishing a secure (encrypted) connection between your device and the internet. This will help avoid hackers from gaining access to your information. Another good use for VPNs is you gaining access to streaming platforms when you are out of the country. There is certain content made for a specific audience in a specific country. Example, if you're going to Europe there may be some programming you won't be able to watch while you're connected to WiFi in Europe. With a VPN you reroute your connection to a server on your home location and, voila!, you'll be able to watch all of your programming as if you were at home.

Mobile Passport Control - This app you will definitely use when returning to your home airport from an international destination. For those who do not participate of the Trusted Traveler Program, Global Entry, I HIGHLY recommend you have this app on your phone. This app is affiliated with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and I allows you to use the expedited customs lane when arriving at your home airport. You have to create a profile with your passport and personal information, enter the flight information, take a selfie and answer a few CBP inspection-related questions. When you complete this, which should be done at the time of arrival at the airport, you will get a QR code receipt which you will show the CBP Officer upon you exiting customs. This allows you to go through the MUCH SHORTER line with Global Entry participants.

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