trip planner

Traveling in 2016? Don’t Do It Without These Trip Planner Tools

“Where to next?” is a question I ask on a regular basis.

My boyfriend’s typical response is, “What do you mean? We’re going to [insert country here] next month.”

But I always want to know where we’re going after that because having one trip planned is never enough for me. Despite knowing my next destination, there are places like Cuba and Finland and New Zealand that are calling my name. Places all over the world are listed on a never-ending bucket list that I am dying to experience.

If you also have this problem gift, that means there’s a lot of planning involved every year to make as many trips as possible become reality. All the work that goes into every trip you take can seem overwhelming – but it doesn’t need to be! With all the technology available today, it’s easy to find the right tools to make travel planning a breeze.

Which tools are the best for trip planning? That depends on your planning style! Find the category (or categories) you fit into below to find the tools that will work best for you to plan your 2016 dream trip!

Strategizing and thinking ahead is your specialty.

Have your heart set on a trip to Thailand and Singapore? Did you come across a photo or story that sparked an interest in Nicaragua? As soon as the idea comes into your mind, you are ready to put your planning cap on.

Before you even know when you want to take the trip, you can use a flight-tracker app like Hopper to find pricing trends for the entire year, making it easy to figure out when it’s cheapest to fly to your dream destination.

Once you decide on potential dates, put them into Hopper, and the app will help you get the best deals on airfare by notifying you when flight prices are low, or when to wait for a better deal.

I wouldn’t rely on Hopper 100%, though, as it may not include some budget airlines when determining average prices. Do some of your own digging with sites like Airfarewatchdog™ and Skiplagged, so you can book the best rate possible.

Hopper App Trip Planner
The Hopper App in action.

Want to keep your travel plans organized and get the best deals and latest flight updates? With Tripit® Pro, you can keep track of rewards points and miles; share your itinerary; and get notifications when your flight is delayed or cancelled, or your gate is changed — usually before the airline notifies you!

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#36adaf”]Wanderful member Jen Glass says, “TripIt Pro is my lifesaver.” [/mks_pullquote] It will even let you know if you are eligible for a flight refund, so you don’t have to do any extra work to make sure you’re not overpaying!

TripCase® is another tool that keeps all of your travel documents and itineraries in one place. It offers cool perks like getting driving directions and alternate flights quickly and easily when you’re on-the-go.

You love big family and friend group trips.

It’s one thing to plan must-see activities for a solo trip, but it’s another when you’re traveling with other people. Especially for family trips or larger groups traveling together, it can be challenging to coordinate amongst everyone.

Travefy is a brilliant solution to make plans for an entire group. You can search for things to do and places to eat and have a group discussion. It even includes the option to collect money for trip costs — all within the Travefy platform!

Also keep an eye on Centrigo and TripGrid®, two soon-to-launch startups that also help simplify travel planning and create itineraries.

Wanderful Trip With WHOA Travel in Costa Rica
Wanderful Trip with WHOA Travel in Costa Rica. Image courtesy of Beth Santos.

Connecting with locals is your favorite part of traveling.

I was psyched when I saw that Beth launched the Wanderful ambassador network last week for our community. With such a powerful group of women reading these articles and participating in our Wanderful Members group on Facebook, now we can really use our talents and expertise to help one another travel the world.

Here’s how it works: Wanderful ambassadors sign up to do one (or all three) of three things:

  1. Offer tips about your hometown for people planning to go there
  2. Make yourself available to actually meet up face-to-face with travelers and show them around (You could take them to a yoga class, meet them for coffee, show them a cool section of your neighborhood, whatever you like!)
  3. Host another female traveler in your home

Plus, as a pro member, you can be connected to any ambassador, so she can show you around and give you a local’s perspective. What’s better than that?

Right now, at $7 per month, membership is a steal. I’ve heard rumors that Beth is testing the price, so get in while the rate is cheap! Sign up is easy — just click here to join.

We already have ambassadors in the U.S.A., Canada, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and even Thailand!

You are a spontaneous and on-the-go traveler.

Set plans aren’t for everyone. If you’d rather just go and figure out the details later, there are trip planning tools that will give you things to do in the moment.

Searching for the best sushi? Craving a juicy burger? Foodspotting can help you find the best dishes in town, no matter what you have a taste for.

For events or things to do in an area, Musement and YPlan can help you find exactly what you’re looking for, and you can book right through the apps.

Still trying to figure out your way around a city? For only $4.99 you can purchase a full audio guide on TripScout to learn about the history, culture, and food in the area, all at your own pace. It even includes offline maps, so you don’t need to rely on WiFi or worry about using up your data!

trip planner
These streets could be yours to explore! Image by Flickr user GPS.

You dread planning your trips.

There is no doubt that travel planning is time consuming. If you’re too busy to plan your trip, don’t want to plan your friend’s trip who is not so travel-savvy, or if you simply don’t enjoy the planning portion of your trip, Pana gives you your own personal travel team right in your pocket.

You’ll always have access to a virtual travel agent whenever you need them, whether it’s to find the best flight, restaurant recommendation, or ground transportation options. That sounds like convenience at its finest!

Lola offers a similar service but hasn’t launched yet. It was created by the founders of Kayak, so I think this one will be good to keep an eye on!

You’re craving inspiration.

Ending with the more obvious tool, what better way is there to find travel tips and inspiration than Pinterest? Creating a board for each trip you are planning and for the dream trips on your bucket list keeps the best resources handy in one place for you to access when you need more information. Wanderful member Megan MacNee says she uses Pinterest when she returns home to find the recipes she loved while traveling. Yet another reason to keep us hooked on pinning!

Thanks to the countless resources out there, it’s only a matter of finding the right ones to make planning this year’s dream trip as painless as possible, no matter what travel personality you happen to have. Now that you have the trip planner tools you need, it’s time to start checking off your 2016 bucket list destinations!

Pin it!

The Top Trip Planner Tools for Your Travel Style | Wanderful

Where is your next destination? Let us know where you’re going and what trip planner tools you can’t live without!

Featured image by Flickr user Alexander Lyubavin

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