Travelling, especially its planning part, may turn into an unnecessary hassle if you don’t know where to start. Using following online travel tools may help you simplify the journey and enjoy the whole process a little more.
What I really appreciate about all of these is not only their great functionality but also nice, understandable and intuitive user interface which makes them easy to use.
Rome2Rio is a great tool to start with when planning your trip. It’s a simple and yet very effective search travel engine where you can find travel routes for practically any journey (as long as we talk about civilised world). Just type in where are you going from and what is your final destination and the search engine will return you all posibillities that it could find – train routes, buses, flights, ferry, if it’s involved and even driving options.
Not it’s not only the route itself that you’ll appreciate in Rome2Rio. The search engine also finds prices and time estimates for each route so you can compare which travel option is the right for you.
If you add specific dates, the search engine will find exact airfares and flight schedules for those dates (flight information comes from Skyscanner) so it also works as a flight ticket search engine.
Rome2Rio offers also additional hotel and car rental search but I haven’t experimented with these yet. The route finder alone is a strong enough incentive for me to have it in my browser regularly.
Tons of articles were written about how to find the cheapest flight ticket. New search engines pop out every few months. And yet the only one I rely on is Skyscanner and this one has never failed me.
Probably my most favourite function is searching flights over the course of the year (or a specific month) to all countries. When I don’t have a specific destination in mind but I feel I NEED to go somewhere new (you know the feeling, right?) I can get lots of inspirations for my next trip based on flight prices. This way I can be sure that I don’t spend necessarily too much on the flight and yet I can explore new places.
When searching a flight, there’s no need to put the exact cities – the country as a destination will do. This helps you widen your options when looking for the cheapest flight. What is also great about Skyscanner is that they search also little low cost carriers such as Easy Jet, Ryanair or Wizzair which makes it even better for searching European flights.
Some examples of lfights that I have been able to find with Skyscanner:
- London to New York (JFK) – round ticket from £318
- London to Cancun – round ticket from £347
- London to Bangkok – round ticket from £308
The only drawback is that sometimes when you actually select a flight and continue to booking the actual price might be higher. I’m not sure why this happens and from searching related forums it seems that it really is no priority of Skyscanner to fool travellers, so just be sure to double check the price before booking.
But even taking this into consideration, Skyscanner is the first choice for me among the flight search engines.
Now this might sound funny, but Accuweather really IS a great tool for planning trips. Anytime I think about going someplace new and don’t know much about local weather throughout the year, I head to Accuweather to check what is the best time to visit this particular destination. Or, when I’m really keen on booking a specific flight, this is a good way to make the last check and be sure that I’m not doing a mistake by going there during some horrible season.
Accuweather lets you check the weather forecast not only for the next week but for any month over the year. What’s more, it also shows the predictions for the year to come based on past years. You can even have a look at the data from the last year so you can get a pretty realistic picture of the usual weather situation in the chosen country or city.
Together with Skyscanner this is a great planning tool if you want to travel in specific time but don’t know where yet.
When you’ve finally booked everything and are just about starting your trip, Flightradar is a travel tool that may come in handy. Flightradar allows you to search for specific flights on the radar or look on scheduled flights at a particular airport. As you see the airplane’s exact position on the map you get an idea whether your flight will be on time or delayed. Following Flightradar on Twitter is a good idea too – you get an almost first hand information about lots of issues that happen in the air and plenty of interesting data about current flights.
There’s also a premium version of Flight radar but for basic info the free app is sufficient. A not so travel planning related tip – if you have loved ones who travel often by plane, Flightradar is a nice tool to check up on them during their flight for the peace of your mind.
I’ve heard a lot about Tripomatic but for some reason I got to try it only very recently. I’ve already regretted that I didn’t give it a chance earlier! This super-handy planning tool allows you to make a very detailed itinerary of your trip including accommodation, tours and attractions. Especially the attractions feature is great – the app collects data about local attractions so you can discover them easily on the app’s map instead of browsing through book guides or other sites.
The attraction info usually includes the address, a photo and a brief description. After finding something you want to see or visit you can easily add the attraction to your itinerary. After adding several attractions Tripomatic automatically adds time estimations for them so you can have an idea how much time of the day they will take.
Tripomatic also searches for accommodation or car rentals but I haven’t tried this functionality yet.
The best feature, however, is a PDF download. Yes, you can download your whole itinerary into a neat PDF and come back to it offline anytime you need! How sweet is that?
These were five travel tools that I can recommend to anyone for their great functionality and handy features.
Which of the above have you used when planning your travels?
Do you have any others to add to the list?