We give you the lowdown on which to use
reservations, booking hotels, and renting a car can be both frustrating and
time consuming. Fortunately, there are free travel apps that can not only
consolidate all of these tasks but also give you tips on your travel
Of all the travel
apps out there, which one is best for you? How do you know which to use? There
are several options, but we’ve narrowed it down to two: Google Trips and
Here’s a list of
must-haves when it comes to choosing the right service:
- Easy to use and mostly automatic
- The ability to share an itinerary
- Automatic updates for flight
- Data synchronization across
- Smooth and easy-to-use user
Tip: You might also like to use a travel app that helps you find travel deals.
TripIt provides both a free and paid service ($49 a year) for those who travel frequently. TripIt Pro includes a few extra features like real-time flight alerts, seat tracking, and an alternate flight finder. However, for most of us, the free version should be enough.
straightforward in its execution. Simply forward to TripIt all confirmation
emails from the services you’ve purchased (e.g., hotels, car rentals, tours),
and the app will instantly create a travel schedule that’s right for you. You
can also have it scan your email for new confirmations so that it can auto-add
and organize them into trips in the app.
The TripIt travel app
not only consolidates all services into one place, but also tells you when to
arrive at your flight gate, when to pick up your car rental, and when you’re
able to check in at your hotel. TripIt even keeps all of your restaurant
reservations in one place!
We also really like
the alerts you can enable in the TripIt app. You can receive notifications for
when booking emails have been received, when an upcoming trip is approaching
(as if you’d forget!), and for when the trip itinerary has been shared.
There’s also a neat
calendar subscription feature built-in to TripIt so that you can share your
travel calendar (as an ICS file) with anyone, and all they have to do is add
your feed URL to their calendar. It’s as simple as that to share your travel
plans via calendar events.
Google joined in with their own “personalized
tour guide in a pocket” app known as Google Trips. When you sign up with Google
Trips, Google automatically synchronizes the app with your Gmail account, so
reservations are added to your travel schedule immediately, which is super
handy. You can also enter your own reservations manually.
The Google Trips app
also has an offline mode that lets you open your schedule even when there’s no
internet connection, which is perfect when you don’t have cell service or
Wi-Fi, and doubles as a battery saver when needed. Offline mode works for your
entire destination guide, too.
This is all starting
to sound similar right? The big stand out with Google Trips is their
combination of data from Google Maps and crowdsourced contributions from what
people post about restaurants, tourist attractions, points of interest, and
more. The Things to do tab shows
local sites such as historical sites, museums, parks, shopping, and
kid-friendly places of interest.
Google Trips also has
useful information on transportation, including walking routes, ride sharing
services, and public transportation. While you’re searching for a ride, you can
access information over local dining venues, bars, and clubs, or even a place
to get a good cup of coffee.
As an added bonus, Google
Trips includes a discount tab, its items of which vary depending on the
destination but might include money off things like car rentals, plane tickets,
tours, events, and even select restaurants.
If you’re not sure
whether you really want to visit any particular place while on your trip, just
mark it as a location that you might
want to visit, and it’ll be stored in Saved
places. This is a great way to plan a rough trip without feeling like
you’re tied down to a super-strict schedule. All of your saved places can be
browsed on Google Maps for an awesome overlook of all your potential visits.
stopping you from using both services, but a key difference between TripIt and
Google Trips is their travel itinerary features, or Google’s lack thereof. For
example, TripIt lets you add an extra traveler who can share suggestions and
edit trips, which is extremely useful if you’re bringing someone with you but
they have ideas for the trip, too.
Trips does bring to the table is their ability to pull together suggested day
trips with a Google Maps plan. This lets you see sites on interesting listings,
making the service feel more like a personal e-guidebook.
Trips is simply easier to use. You can install the app, log in with your Google
account, and see all your past and upcoming trips in literally seconds. Quickly
finding things to do in a new town and locating restaurants on the fly will be
what you walk away with when you use Google Trips.
TripIt includes an auto-add feature from email, too, but it doesn’t seem as streamlined. However, it’s a bit more customizable and includes easy-to-use web access (Google Trips can be used online, too). If you like to be hands-on with your trip and store specific details like your passport and driver’s license, you’ll enjoy that app.
and Google Trips are available on Android, and iOS and are absolutely
compatible with each other. In other words, you can use both apps at the same
time without feeling like they’re tripping over each other.