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Planning and taking a family vacation require a lot of logistics. Luckily these days, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are a lot of apps for that.
Travel-related apps are a dime a dozen. I’ve tried many over the years. Here are the ones that I’ve found particularly helpful for all travelers – but in particular travelers with kids.
Best Travel Apps for Families
Who doesn’t want to earn cash back for travel they are already doing? Dosh lets you just that. Dosh is an app where users can earn cash back for dining out, local attractions, and hotel bookings. To save on dining, simply link your credit card and the cash are awarded automatically when you pay – there’s nothing to track. I love that because I have enough to track in my life.
To save on hotels, search for options in the app and book there. Hotel are almost always always available at lower price than all the major hotel booking sites. Dosh then offers you cash back on top of those savings when you complete the stay. It probably goes without saying that this is a smart place to check for substantially discounted hotels, especially on last minute trips.
Don’t believe the flight delay information your airline is giving you? You shouldn’t! Instead, track your flight with FlightAware. It will give you much more real-time information about your likely departure time when delays strike. You can even track the incoming flight that is using your flight’s aircraft to know better how long you need to entertain or feed the kiddos before you will finally be on your way.
Any frequent traveler (and your kids!) should be a member of a lot of travel loyalty programs – airline frequent flyer miles, hotel points, etc. Track all of these accounts with AwardWallet. The mobile app always has your membership number at the ready when you check into a hotel. And it saves your login information for all your programs so it is great when you need to log in to your airline’s app to change a flight or get a boarding pass.
Tried and true TripAdvisor is still going strong. Use the app to select activities, points of interest, your hotel and more and build a custom itinerary for your family vacation. Best of all, you can download the itinerary and information to your phone to access offline.
5. Uber & Lyft
Ride-sharing is all the rage these days. Frugal traveling families should pay special mind to Uber and Lyft because of all the cash they save compared to taxis or car services. Savvy travelers should have both to save time and money (always compare wait times, surge pricing, etc.). While it can be a bit tricky to take Uber and Lyft with kids if you have younger kids of car seat age, ride-sharing can and does work for certain kinds of trips for families of all types.
6. City Maps 2 Go
No one carries maps and guidebooks anymore – we rely on our phones, But what happens when you don’t have service to look at the map on your phone? We’re all lost. Before you visit a city where you might have data service issues (or simply won’t be using your phone due to international roaming concerns), use this app to download maps to your phone so you have them even when you don’t have WiFi or data service.
Want to make friends and family back home jealous of your awesome vacation? You need an awesome photo editing tool to make your family vacation photos look their best on Facebook, Instagram, and beyond. The features in Snapseed work well for any skill level, from beginners to professional photographers.
On the average family trip, you probably have flight reservations for multiple people. a hotel room or two, a rental car, and maybe also activities or restaurant reservations. Keeping track of all these moving pieces can be a battle. TripIt lets you track them all in one place. Just forward your reservations to a designated email address and watch the app piece it all together into an itinerary you can rely upon.
Traveling internationally and need to stay in touch? As long as you can find WiFi, you can text and call without incurring large international data and cell roaming costs that many travelers still contend with. I’ve used the app to book a car service in Panama and my husband regularly uses it to keep in touch with friends he has made around the world.
10. Amazon Prime Now
Don’t think of this one as a travel app? Think again. Amazon Prime Now lets you order groceries and other basic household supplies in most major cities for delivery within a few hours. Prices are very competitive – all you pay extra is a tip or a small surcharge if you prefer 1 hour delivery. My family used Amazon Prime Now on a trip to Walt Disney World earlier this year to order groceries for our hotel room. And now Amazon Prime Now has expanded into restaurants so you can order takeout to your hotel room and save on the pricey room service fees.
11. Parking Panda
Ever been in a new and strange city circling in the car forever trying to find parking? Parking Panda solves that problem. It helps you find garages with space available and reserve and pay for a space on the app. It’s now in over 40 US and Canadian cities (the major cities with parking problems, naturally).