(KTLA) – So many travel plans were put on hold over the past year and a half, and that is making this summer a popular time to getaway. Here are the travel sites you can rely on for everything from the cheapest flights to the best activities in every city.
By far, this was the most popular travel tool cited in my informal Twitter poll. TripIt creates an entire itinerary of your trip by automatically importing booking confirmation from your email.
Basic functionally is free, but to really get the most use out of TripIt, you’ll want to go Pro for $49 a year. TripIt Proactively monitors your itinerary for any changes and can typically text you updates even before the airlines do.
If you’re shopping for a flight, look no further than Google Flights. This is my go-to method of finding the cheapest flights no matter where you want to go.
I start by entering my takeoff and arrival airports, then taking a glance at the calendar. The dates in green are the lowest fares available. Select those days to see the cheapest flight options available for your trip. Flexibility is key if you want to save the most money.
Google Flights also lets you keep track of flight prices. Just pick your exact flights and toggle the switch on to “Track prices.” You’ll get alerts when your price goes up or down or when Google predicts a major increase soon.
Keep in mind some airline prices aren’t represented so if you’re interested in a particular low-cost carrier you know services your destination be sure to check their website directly.
Once you have your flights, a website called FlightAware can help you track them. Travel enthusiasts love the detailed information the site has on just about every flight imaginable, but there’s one feature that’s super handy.
Pop in your flight number and look for the “Get Notifications” banner in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Here, you can enter in a friend’s email address so they can get an update on your progress!
FlightAware will send them a notification when your flight departs, arrives, and if it’s canceled, delayed, or diverted. Handy if someone is picking you up at the airport or just waiting for the minute you touchdown!
If you’re looking for the best activities at your destination, look no further than Google. In fact, this travel feature might be one of the best-kept secrets on the search engine.
To uncover it, go to Google and type in the name of the city you’re visiting along with the words “top sights.” For instance, “Miami top sights.”
Next, look for a box on the search results page that says Top Sights in Miami.
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Click or tap to expand this box and you can see all of the best things to do anywhere you want to go. You can also narrow it down by interests including outdoors, kid-friendly, museums and more.
Google is using lots of different data points to create these lists and I find that they are always spot on.
Here’s a waterfall we visited on a recent trip to NJ I found on Google’s Top Sights.
Once you’re on your way, breeze through toll roads using an app called Uproad. It’s an app that replaces toll road accounts, tags and transponders. Just sign up once, register your car and just drive through the EZ Pass Lane. Uproad will take care of the rest.
I tried this app out when it first launched and it worked like a charm. Since then, they’ve expanded the number of roads and states the app works in. Also, they’ve made payments even easier since you no longer need a balance in your account for the system to work.
Sadly, Uproad doesn’t work with rental cars. You will pay a convenience fee for the tolls you take using the app.
When you just want to get away but not necessarily stay somewhere overnight, check out a website called HotelsByDay. It lets you rent hotel rooms in blocks of 3 to 12 hours versus overnight.
There are over 2,000 properties to choose from and the website says there should be 6,500 on board by the end of the year.
“Use the pool, use the spa, use the sauna, use the gym, use the fitness room, use all the amenities the hotel has and yet having the possibility of going back to your room for a nap or a shower or to recharge and refresh and then go on with your day,” explained Yannis Moati, CEO of HotelsByDay via a Skype interview.
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