Category Archives: Doodler of the Month

The best Travel Apps in 2017

May we introduce you to our #DoodlerOfTheMonth in August Turner Barr, who is working his way around the world. Traveling across the world he has been using different apps that simplified his organization radically. Doodle’s definitely been one of his secret weapons to easily catch up with people around the world:

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With smartphones and tablets and readily available Internet everywhere these days, travel has never been easier. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to worry about stepping in a puddle and being run over by a tuk-tuk whilst abroad, but by and large, there is an app that solves many of your travel woes before you even step foot on a plane. Part of me misses the glory days of lugging around a huge guidebook and looking like a helpless puppy in the street looking for accommodation, but then I snap back into reality and realize how much more time I get in a hammock or sipping piña coladas.

Below is my list of go-to travel apps that I have personally road tested. Most are free, some are paid, but having them and the peace of mind is well worth it.

Travel Planning Apps

TripIt
(FREE or $.99)
TripIt is a great tool for keeping yourself organized. You can organize departure times, booking codes, etc. To make it happen, all you do it forward you info to plans@tripit.com and they organize it all for you in one place. The Pro version includes reminders and flight status alert features.

Doodle
(FREE or Premium Plans)
Are you tired of the constant back and forth debate in email chains or WhatsApp messages? Doodle’s got your back. Doodle solves this problem by allowing you to get the date/time in a diary form with one message. All you have to do is suggest the possible date with the app, email or iMessage, and Doodle allows participants to vote. You can also run polls, which is a great way to create democracy instead of anarchy with loved ones.

Accommodation Booking Apps

Hotels.com
(FREE)
I have used hotels.com all over the world and scored some amazing minute deals. They even have a program that gives you the 10th stay free.

Priceline.com
(FREE)
Like hotels.com, Priceline offers some amazing hotels with great discounts. Likewise, they have some price matching guarantees that give you peace of mind.

Booking.com
(FREE)
Offers some cheaper hotel options that the former apps. You don’t have to pay ahead of time usually.

HostelWorld.com
(FREE)
The go to apps for finding hostels around the world. This puppy has made budget travel an entirely different beast by letting you reserve without headaches.

AirBnB.com 
(FREE)
One of the biggest travel game changers by making a category (VRBO) more accessible. I have stayed in some incredible places for a fraction of what a hotel would be. Live like a local.

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Flight Booking Apps

SkyScanner.
(FREE)
Probably the biggest flight comparison site out there. This aggregator allows you to find the cheapest flights out there by looing at a whole month at a time to find the cheapest dates.

Hopper
(FREE)
A wonderful little app for those who are looking for historical prices and figuring what is a good and what isn’t a good deal. Lifesaver.

 

Flight Tracker Apps

FlightRadar24
(FREE or FlightRadar24Pro $2.99)
More interesting than a must, you can live the life of an air traffic controller with this app. You can see live air traffic feeds from around the world and airplanes in real time on maps. Provides flight statuses, departures and arrival times.

 

Translator

iTranslate
(FREE, used to be $10)
I can’t tell you how many cab rides this one has saved me on before the days of Uber. Still a great way to talk to locals. Surprisingly accurate.

Currency Converter
(FREE)
Everyone needs a way to figure out you aren’t overspending on the vacay. This one is one of the main converters.

 

Maps

Google Maps
(FREE)
The standard bearer gets better and better. The public transport info with cities that have metros make it one of my favorite travel apps on the list.

WAZE
(FREE)
Great mapping app that is better at finding how to reduce your drive time and to find police and accidents on the road.

 

Food

YELP
(FREE)
More USA-centric, but one of the biggest restaurant review apps. Nothing spoils a night out more than a bad meal. YELP comes to the rescue.

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TripAdvisor
(FREE)
From activities to restaurants, TripAdvisor is the go-to app for figuring out what is a must see and worth a miss when traveling overseas. It is also really great at finding restaurants abroad more than YELP.

Taxis

Uber
(FREE)
You would have to be living under rock not to have Uber’d before. Some countries have outlawed them, but have their own, domestic versions. I have used it all over the world and it is super convenient to find a trusty ride in a world with some sketchy cabbies. If Uber is unavailable, it is usually worth downloading the local version.

 

Call Messaging Apps

WhatsApp
(FREE)
The most famous texting app and gold standard. Great way to connect with locals as everyone seems to have it.

Viber
(FREE)
Not as big as WhatsApp, but also has a voice feature. Comes in handy.

Skype
(FREE)
The original voice app. While calling home has gotten a lot cheaper, it still gives peace of mind calling from Skype and knowing the rates will be reasonable.

About the Author:
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Turner Barr is an American travel blogger and novel experience enthusiast. When he isn’t eating weird food in strange faraway lands or dishing out dating advice, he chronicles taking on odd jobs around the world on his blog – Around the World in 80 Jobs.

How to Plan a Backpacking Trip Through Europe

With summer upon us, it’s not too late to start planning your Europe backpacking journey with your friends. Organizing, especially amongst a group of friends, can be a pain. With so many countries, places, and bars to see across Europe with so little time, it can be a nightmare planning it all.

Here are a few things to keep in mind for your backpacking adventure…

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Planning your dates – With a continent to explore and everyone one of your friends having a different idea about what to see and do, Doodle can help you plan your travel schedule together. Doodle simplifies the process of agreeing on a date and time for a holiday with friends or family members cutting out the endless WhatsApp chats. Simply suggest the possible dates, send to the participants via the app, email or iMessage and then let them instantly vote on which options work for them. Doodle will do the rest, confirming the best time for everyone. The best times to travel in Europe are in the shoulder seasons of Spring and Autumn since European cities in the summertime can be packed tourists and cruise guests.

Transport – Getting around Europe can be a breeze, from cheap discount airlines like Ryanair offering £10 flights to bus companies such as Flixbus offering €5 bus fares between cities. Europe has it all. Despite the number of options, planning ahead will save you lots of money as fares in the summer can shoot up quickly last minute, especially if all your friends voted with Doodle on going to La Tomatina. Make sure to tackle landing cheap tickets as soon as possible so you avoid paying over-the-odds for transportation. Train travel is a great way to travel around Europe since you can purchase a Eurail pass that will allow you to travel to multiple countries using the one, global pass.

Festivals – No summer backpacking journey to Europe would be complete without attending one of Europe’s many festivals. From the world famous music festivals such as Tomorrowland to Spanish cultural festivals such as Las Fallas and Running of the Bulls – there is a festival in Europe for every occasion. But before diving head first into a festival, it is important to pack the proper gear. For example, if you plan to head to Oktoberfest in Munich, make sure you don’t forget to pack the lederhosen, or you will miss out on half the fun!

Budget – While running out of money happens to some, it is not in the life of Doodlers. Before you leave on your trip with your friends it is important to hash out your travel priorities, because there is nothing worse than getting to Paris than finding out you can’t afford to see any of its amazing museums. At the same time, while saving on accommodation can increase the longevity of your journey, don’t be afraid to splash out every now and then on experiences that you will never forget. Create a budget to stick to, and make use of apps such as Venmo or Splitwise to help you split your costs fairly.

Accommodation – There are many ways you can save money on accommodation, such as staying in hostels or booking an apartment on AirBnB and splitting the costs. Apartment shares are actually a great way to save money when you’re travelling in a group since you can buy groceries at the supermarket and cook your own meals at home.

Backpacking with your friends around Europe can be a life-changing experience that you’ll never forget. With the correct planning and communication with your friends, you can have an incredible journey. There may be a few unforeseen hiccups along the way, no doubt, but that is part of the entire travel experience.

 

About the Author

Victoria Brewood is owner of Life Hacks and Tips – a site offering life hacking tips for every situation. She has been travelling the world since 2008, visiting over 50 countries including Madagascar, Iceland and Japan to name just a few. Victoria’s favourite countries to backpack in Europe are Portugal and Montenegro.