Even a good vacation takes a little work. If you don’t do at least some planning, you can end up wasting your precious time stuck in a place you’d rather not be. Chances are, the more you prepare before you go, the fewer logistics you have to deal with once you’re at your destination.
That said, there are ways to streamline the planning, and also to help your trip go smoothly once it’s begun. To that end, here are five services that may improve your summer travel, whatever form it takes.
If you’ve ever found yourself comparing flights across multiple browser tabs, moving your departure time up and down to see how it affects price, then you know there must be a better way to travel affordably. Jesse Neugarten, the founder of Dollar Flight Club, agrees: In his words, Dollar Flight Club “specializes in notifying subscribers when flights to awesome international destinations are really, really cheap,” which can save you time and money. The service also includes tips on using credit cards for travel savings and other useful travel hacks. In essence, Dollar Flight Club provides the benefits of an informed person combing the internet for travel deals all day long, without that person having to be you. No, you won’t fly for a dollar, but you’ll get closer to it than you could on your own.
Between different currencies, rules and rental options, hiring a car abroad can be confusing and time-consuming, but it’s a lot easier with Rentalcars.com. This website and app let you compare rental options and book cars in 160 different countries, all from your phone if you want. Rentalcars.com enable you to book ahead without a credit card and says that it makes cancellations painless. If that sounds better than haggling with the rental car guys at the airport after a long flight, that’s because it is.
Not every summer trip involves an airport. If you’re taking to the highway this year, RoadTrippers can help you turn a journey into a vacation. Tell RoadTrippers your start and end points, travel dates and interests, and the app will help you build a route and itinerary that takes in the attractions, museums, dining and accommodation options that combine where you need to go with what sites designed to make you happy along the way. Obviously, if your summer travel plans are an actual road trip, such as driving Route 66 from Chicago to New Orleans, then the app really comes into its own. Great summer travel can involve something as simple as hopping in the car, but it’ll be more fun if you do a little planning first.
Even on a relaxing trip, you want to get the most out of it, which is hard to do if you’ve been jetlagged into submission. A new app, Timeshifter, offers a solution. It turns out that jetlag works differently for each individual, so Timeshifter considers various factors, including your sleep patterns, age, itinerary and the nature of your travel – from a 24-hour business trip to a week-long vacation – to help adjust your body clock. The app can help you make changes before you even board your plane and it keeps working in-flight while your phone is in airplane mode. Timeshifter’s panel of experts includes Steven W. Lockley, Ph.D., an associate professor at Harvard Medical School’s division of sleep medicine, and retired NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría. All that means its “science-based circadian algorithm” is more effective than knocking yourself out with an in-flight chardonnay in a quest for rest.
When you booked your summer trip, you probably picked a place with good weather, but even good weather can have bad aspects. Hay fever, for example. Also, most lightning occurs in the tropics. Although your phone already has a basic weather app, WeatherBug can tell you anything from the pollen count to local storm warnings, and it provides detailed 18-day forecasting. You don’t want to worry about the weather when you’re on vacation, so consider getting an app that will do it for you, and will only send you notifications of what you need to know.
Michael Davis is a freelance writer and editor who has covered everything from fashion and music to parenting, work, and finance. He has been a chef, restaurateur and record label owner. Opinions are his own. Sponsored by Haven Life Insurance Agency.
Dollar Flight Club is a copyright of Dollar Flight Club LLC.
Rentalcars.com is a registered trademark of TravelJigsaw Limited.
Roadtrippers is a copyright of Roadtrippers LLC.
Timeshifter is a registered trademark of Timeshifter Inc.
WeatherBug is a copyright of GroundTruth.