Vacation Countdown: 7 Apps That Take the Pain Out of Vacation Planning

Updated 05/08/19
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It’s August, and if you’re not on vacation right now, there’s a good chance you’re wishing you were. Yes, while all of your friends are posting pictures of themselves lounging in the sun and frolicking on the beach, you’re counting down the days until your next getaway. But don’t wait until next summer—there’s still time to make the most of the warm weather and book one final sojourn.

If the thought of planning a last-minute trip stresses you out, a host of apps are available to help. From booking a flight and packing to finding a hotel on short notice and getting your bearings in a new city, these apps do the hard part so you can enjoy your PTO.

So grab your phone—your next vacation is just a few clicks away.

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Booking Your Flight

Booking a flight can seem like the biggest hurdle when planning a trip. There are so many theories on when to score the best deal, and sometimes you wait so long you never actually book it. Get the Flight Out (aka GTFO) is perfect for finding a last-minute flight for the right price. Since you’ll be booking a flight that departs today or tomorrow, you’ll need to act fast, but it also means your vacation starts ASAP.

Finding Your Hotel

Now that you’ve booked a spontaneous flight, you can apply the same quick thinking to your accommodation. One:Night celebrates “spontaneous living” by offering same-night stays at a curated group of hotels in major cities starting at 3 p.m. You will have access to amazing spots at the lowest possible rates. Luxe digs and new interiors are just a swipe away with this app.

Packing Your Bags

Does the thought of packing a suitcase send shivers down your spine? Bringing all the right things can be a challenge, particularly if you are going to a new destination where you’re unfamiliar with the weather and terrain. Pack Point asks you a few simple questions then generates a packing list based on location, activities, and time of year. It will help you bring the right gear and also avoid forgetting the obvious (hello, toothbrush).

Enjoying Your Flight

There’s nothing worse than getting on a flight without anything to read or watch on a screen. With Pocket, you can avoid this scenario and catch up on the content you’ve been meaning to read (ahem, those 40 articles open in your cell phone browser). The key is to sync the articles you want to read (to save them, just hit Pocket in the same menu where the social media and bookmarking tools are located), then hit download to make sure you can read your articles offline. It’s the perfect app to enrich your knowledge and also safeguard from boredom.

Getting Your Bearings

The founders of Sidekix created an app for people who “love walking and discovering new places.” Their program helps you navigate the city according to various preferences—fashion, food, culture, art, or nightlife—telling you the best places to go while you discover the city on foot. The app also offers influencer-curated routes for inspiration.

Planning an Itinerary

The convenience of using Pana is twofold. The app organizes your travel plans in one place; think flights, restaurants, car rentals, hotels, activities, and events all living in a live itinerary. It even checks into your flight for you!

Then if you’re too busy to actually plan the culinary, entertainment, and nightlife aspects of your trip, you can upgrade your membership to Pana Concierge. A world-class team helps you with your unique preferences to book the places and experiences you crave. It costs $49 a month but makes traveling so much easier—perfect for a frequent traveler.

Learning a Language

It’s best to arrive in any city knowing some language basics. After all, you don’t want to get stranded with no vocabulary at your disposal. Duolingo teaches you introductory words and phrases in a bite-size, interactive format. It’s easy to learn or brush up on a variety of languages with this app. It develops your written, verbal, and listening skills.

What tools do you use to make trip planning easier?

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