5 hot apps for summer travel
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Industry experts have had a steady stream of positive forecasts this year in the travel industry.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicted earlier this month that total U.S. business travel spending will grow by an impressive 7.1 percent in 2014 to a figure of around $293.3 billion. While that is hopeful news, Benchmark Hospitality International has also reported that around 75 percent of U.S. travelers will be traveling for leisure this year.
An increase in business travel — especially international travel — is a clear indicator of an improving economy. A Timetric report released this month has announced that the U.S. economy will see a growth of around 2.8 percent between now and 2017, and the number of domestic trips in the U.S. is expected to jump from 2.03 billion in 2012 to 2.19 billion by 2017.
All these figures will also lead to other developments like more investment in travel and tourism, and more tech and mobile applications — in other words, more travel apps.
So what are the travel apps that Americans will simply not be able to do without this year? Let's take a quick look at the latest roundups.
Ever since it has been introduced, TripIt has ruled the travel app industry. It has a simple and easy design to make traveling even more enjoyable for everyone. This mobile app is compatible with all Android and iPhone devices and helps travelers keep track of their itineraries all the way.
The moment travel plans are made, various kinds of travel information come pouring in — flights, trains, taxis, hotel reservations, rental cars, travel documents, etc. TripIt organizes all these documents and information so that everything is in one place and all updates are easily tracked.
What this wonderful organizer does is that it connects to your email accounts to all the above details and compiles the same automatically for quick and easy access. From confirmation numbers for rental cars, flights and hotel reservations to restaurant bookings and even driving directions, every single aspect of the travel itineraries are recorded and presented for ready use.
There is a free version, and there is also the paid Pro version that has real-time flight alerts. Depending on need, frequency and length of travel, one can decide on which version to opt for. The app also makes it easy to share travel plans, so if you have a travel partner or are traveling with a group, it is much easier to be in sync with others with TripIt.
OK, so the WhatsApp Messenger isn't exactly a "travel app," but the way it has infiltrated our lives, it's a given that people are going to use it when they are traveling. Global travel is on the rise, and with text and call rates being so expensive, something like Whatsapp has been manna for those who like to keep in touch.
Its popularity started with international citizens, but the app has now caught on with domestic users as well. All you need is a data plan when you are on the move and a Wi-Fi connection when you are stationary, and you have easy use of the WhatsApp Messenger.
Simply add everyone you want to connect with in your contacts list, and you are free to send unlimited texts, videos and messages to anywhere in the world. Now you will have no more worries about being out of touch whenever you are traveling.
3. XE Currency Converter
As mentioned above, global travel is going to be hot this year. With the XE Currency Converter app, you can instantly access live currency exchange rates no matter which country you are in. If you have plans to travel across multiple countries, this app will allow you to quickly change and convert the currency you have in hand to the local ones.
It can be tough to keep with the changing foreign currency rates and their daily fluctuations, and hence of your expenses. This handy tool features a wide variety of currencies — including Bitcoin — and saves the relevant info on the home page. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows and Firefox OS, thus helping all travelers calculate their expenses on the go.
4. Hotel Tonight
Another popular app that is slated to become even more so this year is the Hotel Tonight app. It allows users to make same-day reservations starting off as early as 9 a.m. Use their Snapchat feature to take photos of the hotel you are in and share with the Hotel Tonight community globally.
The app is free for Android and iPhone and even offers users access to the top luxury suites around the globe with their "HighRoller" feature. The app now helps travelers connect with 17 countries and more than 250 destinations and has partnered with more than 5,000 hotels worldwide. Latest reports show more bookings through apps since they are so handy and quick, which means Hotel Tonight will see more users signing up in 2014 and onward.
This free iPhone app is a veritable cushion for comfort for all travelers, especially frequent travelers. Getting this app would mean instant access to a database of more than 1,200 free and paid airport lounges in more than 200 of the world's busiest airports.
Each lounge featured shows all relevant details like Wi-Fi access, food options, kiddie areas, shower and all other amenities that might be needed. All these details also come with photos of the lounges and user reviews to provide bona fide feedback on which can best suit each traveler.
Your profile is matched with your current itinerary, your loyalty programs, all your travel-related memberships and your credit cards so that you are taken to the best lounges as soon as you land. It also tells frequent fliers which luxury lounges they can use with a one-time fee for access in case they are unhappy with the regular ones at any particular airport.
The popularity of these apps is not a surprise. They are handy, up to date and a great way to stay organized on the road.
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