I’ve always been one for pre-planning. Not to say that pre-planning is bad–because it sure does get rid of my anxiety–but immediately after I finished my final exam for my third year of university last month, I already started planning a trip to Niagara Falls without even telling my boyfriend we were going away in the first place. Not to mention, I started planning two months ahead of when I wanted to go away–June.

I think my biggest problem was how easy it was to plan a trip. It is almost effortless now because of how accommodating technology has made life. Today, I share with you My Top 4 Travel Apps for Planning An Amazing Summer Trip!

1) Airbnb. If you have yet to learn about Airbnb, it is a mobile phone app that allows you to rent rooms/apartments/homes from average people who have extra units or a spare home. I love staying at Airbnbs because they are so cozy and warm like staying at somebody’s home. They usually are a lot more inexpensive and are generally great for families or big groups. My friends and I rent an Airbnb every semester during our tournament weekend at the university, instead of a hotel, because we love the independence of having a whole apartment–with a Kitchen!!!–while still having basic hotel amenities like Complimentary Breakfast every morning. Not to promise that every Airbnb will promise these things, but if you do your research on the app, you may get very lucky while paying half the price you would have at a hotel.

2) Groupon. If you are really driven to stay at a hotel, why not give Groupon a quick check? They always have amazing deals on trips and accommodations that come in a package at a really good rate. You can even book your hotel directly on the app (with the specific dates you want to stay) and pay directly through the app as well. You can also find deals on flights for certain destinations. How convenient is that? This app also allows you to search by city, so you can also search for some fun activities to do while you are on vacation and pay directly on the app, again. Whether you are looking for deals on restaurants, local classes, wine tours, water park tickets or other fun adventures for the family–you are bound to find something on Groupon.

3) Ebates. If you do end up using apps like Groupon (or Wagjag/LivingSocial), you may want to consider making an Ebates account. Ebates is a cash back website/app that provides you with cash back for online purchases. Each store has a different percentage of cash back and you get a quarterly check mailed to you. When booking my trip to Niagara Falls, I got 15% cash back that is currently going to be mailed to me next month! How exciting is that?! You can also use this website to shop online for some vacation essentials like swimsuits, sun screen, sunglasses, a beach umbrella, etc., while receiving cash back for shopping.

4) Yelp. You probably have heard of this app before–but if you have not, it is an amazing app that lists the top restaurants and attractions in an area. This app is perfect for trying out new restaurants and adventures while you are on vacation. People can even leave reviews of their experiences so you can get another individual’s personal opinion of a place before you check it out. If you’re feeling really adventurous, why not make it a challenge of spending your whole trip trying out new places from the Yelp app?

These are my must have apps for planning a vacation! I hope you check some of these out while planning your summer trip this year!

About the Author

Jennifer Liwanag is a fourth year Legal Studies student minoring in Communications & Digital Media Studies at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology. While her childhood dream has been to pursue law, she has an undying love for writing, creativity, discovering new gadgets and learning new software. You can keep up to date with her digital and creative lifestyle on her personal blog (www.jennibearrxo.com/) where she shares her new favourite gadgets and crafty projects.