Mobile Travel Apps for the Spontaneous, Creative and Thrifty

Whether you’re dreaming of Paris next spring, planning to escape the cold next month or booking a spur-of-the-moment trip, mobile technology is there when the idea strikes.

PC Mag recently published an article on the 15 best travel apps for tasks such as booking airfare, car rentals and hotels and city guides that rate attractions and review restaurants. But what about apps that help you discover something off the beaten path?

Airbnb, a vacation rental app, offers non-traditional stays such as “Airstream Glamping” in Andalusía or an Owl House in the U.K. to help you think outside the tourist box. Part of the so-called “sharing economy,” Airbnb offers diverse lodging in 192 countries, from apartments and villas to castles. In fact, if you have space to rent that travelers might enjoy, you could earn a second income. 

If you’re a procrastinator or just want to let the road be your guide, the Hotel Tonight app offers last-minute deals in North America and Europe. You can search hotels and room rates and make same-day reservations, adding spontaneity and surprise to your vacation.

Planning to hit the open road? Apps like VZ Navigator not only provide driving directions and points of interest along the way, but they also offer price information on nearby gas stations to help save at the pump. Similarly, GasBuddy uses a price hike alert system to display and compare prices between nearby gas stations.

For flights, check out Kayak on your smartphone or tablet to search for deals, book and manage itineraries and view status. Hipmunk, another mobile travel app, lets you search flights based on cost and convenience, noting the flight duration and number of layovers to help save you money and time.

The next time you travel don’t forget to pack your smartphone or tablet with apps.