Apps a globetrotter needs before even leaving home!

If you travel solo or in big groups, if you like to wander or overly plan everything, modern smartphones are a great way to gain independence when travelling or preparing for your trip.

This post will concentrate on the apps that help you prepare for your trip. Although I will tend to use the same apps that I will use later while travelling, they will be used in a different way and with a different purpose.

TripIt

TripIt helps you organise a timeline of events for your next trip and remember what you did, how much it cost, etc. on that trip to…

It was long back in the year 2009 that I started using TripIt to aid me in organising my trips. I was forced to use it on a group trip that I co-organised, but have been using it ever since and it has saved me from quite a few embarrassments.

Travel light, leave your papers at home! First and foremost, TripIt is a website that offers you a free or business version that allows you to keep all essential information on your bookings, tickets and other plans in one place. As it is basically a planning tool, it allows you to insert your flight/bus/train/transfer times and info, your hotel booking, evening shows, etc.

Why do I need this? Well, in business travelling and group trips it’s a great way to check if all plans are fluid and enough slack is given between them. For instance, you do not want to arrive to the airport past your check-in time or to be left at the airport because you didn’t have enough time to collect your luggage after your flight. If you plan your trips by yourself on a different or across time zones, you might end up overlapping something, which can be easily visible on TripIt.

Free? I’ve lived with the free version all these years and don’t really feel the need to upgrade, but the paid version does offer some extra features. The free version will still enable you to check some Travel Stats (Countries visited, Distance travelled, etc).

How does it work? You just need to forward the email with your plans to plans@tripit.com from the email account you signed up with and wait for them to be automatically imported. If the data is not correctly imported or you didn’t receive the info on your email, you can always add it through the website or mobile app.

Honestly, I thought this app would be superseded by the Wallet app that comes with iOS, but they do have different purposes.

PackPoint

This app prepares a list of stuff you should pack into your luggage according to your destination and activities you might take in.
Although I use it less often, it is still a good app to use when you are going to a new destination. It asks you to select from a few options and delivers you a list of stuff to pack for your trip.

I always tend to cut down on the final list, but it does help me not forget that essential thing that you do not usually take with you.

The app is pretty straightforward and easy to use. You just need to input your destination, travel dates and purpose of travel (business/leisure). Then you are asked which activities you expect to do and if you want to repeat clothes or do laundry along the way.

The final result is a list organised by topics from which you can hide all the items you do not want to bring.

I will write a later post with some tips and tricks on how to condense your baggage into one hand-luggage!

SeatGuru

This app helps you understand which seats you should try to get or avoid when choosing your plane seats. Although it makes more sense in bigger planes and generally on long-haul flights, it does have extensive information on most airlines and their different aircraft and floor layouts. Yes, beware that the same aircraft of the same airline might have different seating configurations.

In general, I avoid seats near the toilets due to smell and noise and choose wider legroom seats for long-haul flights, but those preferences are really up to you.

Booking apps

Whether you are booking a flight, hotel, car-rental, or train, there are a number of apps that you can use. Still, nothing beats using a browser for that purpose, as you can navigate incognito and avoid those price raising AI bots.

I will list some of the apps we usually use when booking on the go on the later post on that subject, but I do prefer their counterpart websites during the planning phase.

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