By Andrea Woroch, Clark.com
Summer is a busy travel season — and it can also be an expensive one. According to the Allianz Vacation Confidence Index, American households dish out nearly $1,800 on average for a summer vacation. While spending quality time with family and friends is priceless, consumers shouldn’t go into debt to afford their trip. Luckily, technology has made it easier than ever to cut costs on airfare, hotels and more.
Download these travel apps before you go to save big bucks on your summer getaway
Finding the lowest flight price can be tricky, thanks to dynamic pricing. That’s where Yapta comes in. The app alerts you when a flight you’re tracking drops in price so you can snag it at the lowest cost. It will also notify you when a flight you’ve already booked drops in price, so you know when to request an airline credit for the difference. When planning your trip, keep in mind that Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday tend to be cheaper days to fly.
Trying to find affordable parking when heading to the airport or exploring a new city can be a headache. With SpotHero, you can quickly access nearby parking spots, compare rates and book instantly through your phone to reserve a spot at the lowest available price.
Driving to your destination is a great way to reduce travel costs, but rising prices at the pump this summer can guzzle your budget. Thanks to GasBuddy, you can search for the cheapest gas prices along your route. The app pulls data on fuel prices nationwide and says drivers can save up to 41¢ a gallon.
Finding a reasonably-priced room during the busy travel season can be a challenge, but you don’t have to sacrifice a good night’s sleep for savings. The HotelTonight app helps you find luxury accommodations based on your location at up to 70% savings. This is a great tool for road-trippers who need to make a last minute reservation on the go. Alternatively, RoomerTravel is another helpful app that connects you with travelers who are stuck with a hotel reservation they can’t change, and facilitates your purchase of that reservation for up to 25% below market price. Enter the city or zip code you’re visiting to look for available reservations.
Warm summer nights make it the perfect time to camp! Not only is it a great way to bond with your family, but you can save a lot of money on accommodations. Use the Recreation.gov Camping app to find free and inexpensive camping spots in popular destinations. The apps offers filters to help you find an appropriate campsite, plus adds directions and photos, and allows you to make reservations for future and last minute trips.
Travelers look forward to exploring new restaurants and getting a break from cooking duties, but regular meals out can take a big bite out of your vacation budget. That’s why the Restaurant.com app is a necessary tool for your upcoming trip. It helps you locate restaurants offering deals and allows you to purchase discount restaurant certificates through the app.
There are plenty of free things you can do when traveling with your family, like a day at the beach, exploting art galleries or simply walking city streets. You can even skip pricey guided tours and use the GPSmyCity app for access to detailed offline city maps and self-guided walking tours for cities worldwide. The tours feature turn-by-turn directions from one cool site to another. All the articles and city guides included in this app operate offline without the need for a data plan or Internet connection, so you can avoid expensive roaming when traveling abroad.
With many of these amazing apps comes the worry of going over your data limit and owing pricey overage charges. For a family of four, that can happen quickly! Minding data usage is key to prevent such exorbitant fees. Use 3GWatchdog app to monitor data usage and set alerts when you’re nearing the threshold. Don’t forget to turn on your phone’s Wi-Fi locator to find free internet connections!
No matter how well you plan your budget, it’s easy to get carried away with spending when you’re having fun. Get ahead of this by tracking your expenses using TripCoin. The app provides a snapshot of your daily spending and identifies which categories are eating into your budget the most. By visualizing your purchases in real time, you’re more likely to cut back and make better decisions with your money so you don’t rack up unnecessary credit card debt.