All without ever leaving your couch
A great trip away from home is about more than racking up frequent flyer miles or going somewhere you haven’t been before. Travel broadens our horizons, lowers blood pressure, and expands the mind in ways that just reading about exotic locales could never do.
Almost everyone wants to travel more, but the same obstacles keep popping up: time and money.
While we can’t give you more time, we can help you find the best deals on travel—all without ever leaving your couch. Here are our favorite phone apps for finding the best travel deals. Also, check out our other post on other ways you can beat the airlines to get cheap tickets.
TravelPirates is the app for the website TravelPirates.com. The app consistently boasts some of the best deals we’ve ever seen, and if you enable push notifications it will alert you to the latest and greatest finds. As an example, some of the recent deals include one-way flights to Europe through JetBlue for $49 and a six-night trip in Paris from $583.
TravelPirates aggregates the best deals from various sources into one easy-to-find place. The app gives you details about the deal and then sends you to the proper booking site so you can reserve your travel with as little hassle as possible.
Skyscanner is one of the best tools available for finding cheap flights, hotels, and car rentals. It helps find the most affordable options for flights; you can search between two locations, or you can choose the Explore option and look for the best options within a given time frame.
For example, you may have a trip planned two weeks ahead, but Skyscanner could hypothetically show that returning a day early could save $80 on the flight.
The “Explore” function is also available for hotels, but it’s more limited in flights. However, it will show any special price deals in the city you choose. If you’re flexible and open to random or last-minute trips, then Skyscanner is a great tool to just browse and look through.
After flights, hotel stays are usually the second largest expense of any trip. If you take a lot of road trips, it can be tough to know exactly what city you might stop in for the evening. Maybe you’ll be in Biloxi, Mississippi—or maybe you will push a little bit harder and reach New Orleans. Without knowing exactly where you are going to be, it can be tough to plan ahead and snag a hotel.
That’s where Hotel Tonight comes in. Hotels lose money on a nightly basis for any rooms that aren’t filled, so they often offer discounted prices the day of in order to fill as many rooms as possible. Keeping the app ready helps you find affordable rooms at the last minute, but you can also use it to find hotel deals and promotions ahead of time.
4. LoungeBuddy (iOS)
Let’s face it: no one likes to spend more time in an airport than strictly necessary. On the other hand, airport layovers are less painful if you have access to a swanky lounge where you can put your feet up. Even if you aren’t a member of airline rewards programs that grant access to these lounges, LoungeBuddy can help you find discounts on day passes.
Although the app is, unfortunately, not available for Android users, LoungeBuddy does have a well-optimized mobile site. Just search for the airport you’re going to be in, look for the available lounges, and make a reservation. LoungeBuddy helps you find the best price for any given day.
Travel can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right combination of tools, you can travel like a king—on the budget of a peasant. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Be flexible. The more open you are to varied arrival and departure times, the lower the prices you will find.
- Last-minute works in your favor. Waiting till the last minute can be a stressful experience, but it can sometimes help you find the best deals on hotels, flights, and much more. Of course, don’t wait till the last minute to book an important flight—you may not be able to find one.
- Keep an open mind. If a great deal comes up on a destination you’ve never thought about, don’t brush it off. You may find a travel deal to a less-known locale that becomes one of your favorite destinations.
Patrick is an Atlanta-based technology writer with a background in programming and smart home technology. When he isn’t writing, nose to the grindstone, he can be found keeping up with the latest developments in the tech world and upping his coffee game. Read Patrick's Full Bio