Travel Planning Apps

person holding a smart phoneWith summer beckoning, you can’t ignore the call of the open road and the foaming ocean waves for much longer.

Are you tediously sifting through dozens of travel sites for the best prices on flights, car rentals and hotel rooms?

Hold up! Before you book anything, check out our list of travel-planning apps. With just one free download, you’ll have all the info you need at your fingertips.

Kayak logoKayak
Kayak is a favorite among vacation-goers – and with its super convenient features and easy-to-use interface, that comes as no surprise.

The travel planning app takes the stress out of your vacation by searching hundreds of travel sites until it finds the best prices on flights, car rentals and hotel stays. It also offers up exclusive deals you’ll only see on Kayak to help you save even more.

Not sure if you should book now or wait until the price drops further? Enter Kayak’s Price Forecast! This nifty feature takes a peek at what the price for your hotel room, car rental or flight will look like a week from now – or a month from today. This way, you can decide if you should grab the deal now, or wait. The app will notify you when the price on a booking you’re interested in has dropped so you can seal the deal while it’s still live.

  • Best features
    Kayak helps you plan your trip beyond the booking by letting you see important details, like your flight confirmation number and boarding gate, at a glance. You can also opt to get automatic updates on your flight statuses so you know about any delays before you set out on your trip. No more camping out at the airport!
  • Glaring glitches
    While Kayak does a fantastic job at providing you with details about flights, cars and hotel stays, you can’t actually book anything through the app. Instead, you’ll need to click on the embedded links to make your trip happen.

Hopper logoHopper
Are you ready to save up to 40 percent on your next flight? Then you might be ready to download Hopper.

Hopper brings sophisticated algorithms to the big wide world of air travel. The app has built an enormous database of billions of airline prices and flight trends to accurately predict when flight prices to any given location will be at their lowest. Hopper can also tell you when the price on any flight is likely to change, and the best time to buy a ticket for a specific date of travel and destination. And, it’s not just lucky guessing: Hopper prides itself on being accurate 95 percent of the time.

You can search the app for flights to your chosen destination and then choose to be notified if the price drops or rises so you can book when it’s cheapest.

  • Best Features
    Hopper prides itself on being your all-in-one airline travel app. Save your payment details on the app, and when your flight of choice is at its lowest price, you can book your flight in under 60 seconds. How’s that for convenience?
  • Glaring Glitches
    Hopper is a strictly airline travel-only app. You won’t be able to search for hotel stays, car rentals, or any entertainment avenues via Hopper.

Hipmunk logoHipmunk
What do you get when you take a bit of every travel-planning app and put it all together? Hipmunk, of course!

The Hipmunk app offers up a fast and easy way to plan your next getaway. With a powerful search engine that covers commercial airline flights, charter flights, train routes, hotel stays and vacation rentals, you can plan your entire trip in minutes. With just a few swipes, you’ll bring up prices from the best travels sites so you can comparison shop for the cheapest rates.

Air travel is about more than prices, though. To that end, Hipmunk flight searches include an “agony index” which measures factors like flight duration, stopovers and more.

  • Best Features
    Hipmunk lets you cash in on last-minute deals by letting you know about hot prices on hotel reservations near your vacation destination in real time. You can also relax to the max by checking out the app’s list of shopping, restaurants and entertainment venues near your hotel or vacation rental. It’s truly an all-in-one vacation app!
  • Glaring Glitches
    You can’t book anything through Hipmunk; you can only search for prices. Hipmunk also can’t predict when prices will drop for any given flight.

How they stack upApplication Feature Chart

Your Turn:
What’s your favorite app to help hack your travel planning? Tell us all about it in the comments!


Traveling with Cards

The last thing you think about doing as you’re getting ready to leave for a trip is calling the credit union. It may seem like an odd thing to do, but it really is something that should go on your to do list before you leave for any trip. The reason is that it can help ensure that your debit and credit Cardscards will work when you reach your destination.

The geographic area where your card is active is something that is tracked. When card purchases suddenly show up across the country, or in areas that are far away from where you usually make purchases, it can appear as if your card has been compromised. When atypical card usage is noted, an alert is generated, and many times a hold will be placed on the card. Then we have to get in contact with you to confirm that you were the one making the purchases before regular usage of the card can resume. Obviously that can be a major inconvenience for you, which is the last thing you, or we, want to have happen, especially while your on a trip.

Fortunately, this whole situation is easily avoided by a making a quick phone call. Simply let us know when you plan on using your card far from home and we’ll note it. That lets us protect your account and makes sure that you can use your card when and where you wish without any annoying interruptions.

This leads into one other important habit that you should get into with everyone that you have a card from. That habit is to make sure that your contact information is accurate. In the event that we do receive an alert and put a hold on your card, we need to know how to get in touch with you. So, the next time you’re in one of our lobbies, simply ask to have the teller review the contact information on file. Or give one of our friendly call center reps a call. Any of them are happy to update your information so that we can get in touch with you in case of emergency.

Finally, it’s also always a good idea to have at least a bit of cash, or traveler’s checks, on hand in addition to any cards you may plan on using. That way, if something does happen, whether it’s a disabled or broken card or simply non-functioning ATMs at your destination, you’re covered. Following these simple tips can make traveling a lot less stressful and ensure that you have a good trip.

We love to get feedback from our readers, so feel free to comment. We’ll do our best to answer any questions you may have. Got a topic you’d like us to cover? A question that you’d like to have answered? Comment or shoot us an email!