Travel Tuesday Part 2: Smartphone Travel App Reviews: Booking Accommodations

 

Our phones may be getting smaller, but the world is still a pretty big place. Whether you want to see it all, or you just need some pointers on how to effectively organize your next business trip: there’s an app for you. Flying to the Ritz in Rome? Backpacking Nepal with just one change of clothes? Driving to Grandma’s? We’ve got you covered.

The second step on your way to a better trip is making sure you have the perfect accommodations.

Hotels

For booking a proper hotel, check out the first review in this series, Booking Your Flight, for more in-depth review of the apps Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Kayak, which book both flights and hotels. Each of those apps is equipped with basic booking functions – type in your hoteltonight.jpgsearch terms, and it will provide you with a range of options that you can filter by price or star rating. Hint: If you’re into a clean, minimalist look, go with Kayak.

Another option for booking a hotel last minute is the app Hotel Tonight. This app is, as it states, only for booking same-day rooms. When you search by location, it brings up all of the hotels that still have rooms available, and their last-minute prices. One of the best features of Hotel Tonight is the tagging system. Each hotel in your search queue has a short descriptor like Hip, Luxe, or Basic, which is a fast and easy way to know if the hotel is a good fit for you. You can book the hotel right through the app and it couldn’t be easier.

 Hostelshostelworld.jpg

Perhaps you want to travel on a budget, or perhaps you’re looking for accommodations where you can meet new people – either way, not all hostels are created equally. The memories of your Euro-backpacking trip should be laid to rest – there’s a hostel for everyone nowadays.

One of the best apps for booking hostels is HostelWorld. The app lets you search by location, and pulls up a number of options labeled as Hostels, Homestays, or Bed & Breakfasts. The user rating and review system is an easy way to decide if a particular place is right for you – unbiased opinions of other patrons are the best indicator. Most places require a small deposit, which is very easy to pay through the app. The balance is usually due upon arrival of your destination. On the chance a hostel does not require a deposit, you can just make a simple reservation. Hostel World lives up to its name by featuring hostels on almost every continent except Antarctica.

Vacation Home Rental

Another option for accommodation while traveling is a vacation rental home. Often more airbnb.jpgcomfortable than a hotel and touting amenities like a full kitchen, a vacation home is perfect for longer stays. The foremost app for booking such rentals is AirBnB. A brand new app design rollout certainly makes them the most aesthetically pleasing app in this list. After searching by location, you can view the properties on a map, view pictures of each property, and read reviews of the place you’re staying. Another great feature is the ability to view a home owner’s profile: seeing what someone has written about themselves is pretty telling! Many properties are bookable through the app, though some are not (it is up to the homeowner’s discretion), and you can contact them through the app for a campfinder.jpgschedule and more details. If you’re not inspired by AirBnB, check out HomeAway, a similar app with different listings.

Camping

To find camping accommodations in the US there is a good and free camping app from Recreation.gov, but a far superior camping app, Camp Finder, is available for just $3.99. CampFinder has an extensive list of stateside campsites. You can search by location, and filter by amenities such as tent camping, WiFi, and RV hookups. You can view campsites on a map, find reviews & pictures of each site, as well as write your own review. You can also designate a site as your “favorite” to be put in an easily-accessible list. An additional (nice, but not necessary) feature of the app is a section full of articles about camping and travel that you can browse through as you travel.

Tune in next Tuesday when we talk about packing & apps to help you organize the details of your trip.

 

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