Apps

5 apps that help you save money while traveling

Perfect for the budget traveler

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They say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. This is definitely true. While it can give you priceless moments and unforgettable experiences, we have to admit that it often comes with a pretty steep price. We can’t put a price tag on expanding your horizons, but we can definitely help you make it a little less expensive.

I started young with traveling and my years of experience has led me to some hacks that can keep you from extra expenses. Today, I’ll be sharing with you my nine favorite apps that I use to make sure I don’t overspend and even save a pretty penny while I’m exploring a place far from home.

Skiplagged

I truly believe that booking the most convenient flights while staying within your budget should be an Olympic sport. There are so many factors to consider — from someone’s schedule, the comfort that you get, down to the layovers. I use a lot of apps for this to check for the best rates. There’s Kayak and Skyscanner which I’m sure you already know about. And then, there’s Skiplagged. This app finds hidden-city tickets and can give you even more savings if you’re only looking for a short-haul flight.

What it actually does is it books you a cheaper, long-haul flight with a layover at your actual destination. Then, you simply skip the rest of the trip, exiting at the airport of your layover. In fact, the app is so good, it was sued by some airlines.

Tip: When using flight price comparison apps, always turn on the option to “watch” a flight you’re interested in and turn on notifications on your phone to get an alert right away. Sometimes, the prices can drop and you’d want to be the first person to grab that seat.

N26

This is an online banking app that has saved my wallet one too many times while traveling. Some cities can be quite notorious for their money changers that charge commission so high, it feels like legal robbery. N26 lets me withdraw my money for free in most cities and has one of the best exchange rates out there. I have control over my money on my phone and I can also stay on top of my purchases since I get notifications for each transaction. They also make shopping fun and an absolute breeze since they give you a free Mastercard that comes in a nifty, clear design.

One thing to take note of is that this bank doesn’t have a physical branch. You apply for an account online via video chat and you’ll need your passport to prove your identity. To put money in your account, you can transfer funds from your other bank accounts. For cash deposits, you can go to their partner establishments (they’re usually supermarkets or drugstores) to put your money in.

Tip: When swiping any card while traveling, always pay in the local currency. You only go through the conversion once, saving you money.

XE

We’re often told to stop converting currencies in our heads when traveling since it hinders the fun. Well, sometimes, it’s essential to do so. For this, I use XE which gives me up-to-date rates and in more than one currency at that.

Tip: Traveling to more than one country during your trip and eyeing that really cute top from & Other Stories? Price tags in EU countries often have the prices for Euro and countries that have their own currency, making it easier for you to see whether buying that top in Berlin is cheaper compared to buying it in Copenhagen or Stockholm. Save the currencies you’ll be using throughout the trip to make comparison a whole lot easier.

Trail Wallet

Expenses during your travels can creep up at you, especially while you’re enjoying a new place. From dining out to entrance fees for museums and major attractions, small expenses can accumulate rather quickly. This is why I set a daily budget every time I’m traveling. Sticking to it might be a more difficult task if I didn’t have Trail Wallet installed on my iPhone. It’s an oldie but definitely a goodie. I just set a daily budget and enter my expenses on the app. I can classify them by category (accommodation, food, etc.) and even add notes on them should I need to. It also allows me to set my home currency and that of the place I am traveling to so I know how much I’m actually spending. After a trip, it gives me — with colored graphs to boot — a comprehensive view of my spending, making it easier to plan for next time.

Tip: Enter your expenses as you go so you don’t forget to do it later on!

Yelp

Another app that’s been around for ages but has proven that it can stand the test of time. If you’re someone like me who takes food seriously, then you’d want to eat at places that are worth your money and the calories. Yelp helps you find a restaurant that has the food you’re craving and is within your budget. Using the map function and veering away from areas that are touristy, while taking reviews and prices into consideration, can even bring you to some hidden gems that are only popular among locals. Want more savings? Download apps like OpenTable and TheFork. Not only can you make your table reservations through these apps, you can also get discounts when you dine at certain times.

Tip: Different city, different dining discount app. While OpenTable and TheFork are popular in more than one city, some countries prefer their localized version. It’s best to research in advance which dining app is the best at your destination to maximize your discount potential.

So that’s it for my money-saving, travel apps! Do you have any recommendations for me too? Would love to learn about the ones that you use in the comments section below!

Apps

6 apps that help make travel stress-free

Don’t leave home without these!

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Photo by Ross Sneddon

In this crazy-busy world we live in, we often find ourselves in need of an escape. Travel provides that for me. Going away for a bit of a break is an absolute necessity. There’s nothing like coming back refreshed and ready to take on the stress brought by daily life — both the challenging and the mundane parts of it. Sometimes, however, the thing that’s supposed to help you destress can be the cause of it too. Planning and the actual journey just to get to your destination (and even coming home) can be pretty stressful.  

Years of traveling has taught me a couple of things to make trips like this easier both on my wallet and my stress levels. In a previous article, we discussed how to save money while traveling (link). This time, we’ll be talking about apps that help keep the stress away. Being ready and planning ahead is half the battle for any journey. Having these six apps on your phone will make sure you’re more than ready for it.

PackPoint

I’ve been using PackPoint since 2015. Back when we were still living in Kuala Lumpur, one of my friends who traveled often recommended it to me and it has been part of my life ever since. At that time, my husband and I were about to go visit my family in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Malmö with side trips to Paris, London, and Geneva. It was a three-week trip and I was going nuts with planning what to bring.

That friend saved me by introducing me to this app that comes up with a digital packing list that you can consult on the go. All you have to do is enter the place you’re going to along with the dates. It will then ask you what the trip is for (business or leisure?) and a few other basic questions. It will then give you your personalized packing list — from clothing to your electronics. Packpoint just figures everything out for you, making those days before a trip a little less stressful.

Spotted by Locals

When visiting a new place, we often make time to see the historical highlights. But what happens when you’re done with those? I always make sure I visit an interesting establishment, a café, or even a restaurant that’s local-approved. More authenticity, less overpriced. I often consult Spotted by Locals for this.

The app collates recommendations from locals in the city you’re visiting — from places to grab food in to interesting and alternative sites to see. Even though I live in Berlin, I make it to a point to look through this app for some recommendations here and it never disappoints. I often find something that piques my interest, like this GDR Cinema I plan to visit next week.

Google Maps

What I see on Spotted by Locals, I always save here on Google Maps. The option to save places on different lists such as “Favorites” or “Want to Go” is such a blessing for people like me who need to organize absolutely everything — even my thoughts and my eating plans. Whenever I feel hungry and I don’t know where to go, I just open it up and see the places that I’ve saved on my “Want to Go” list and pick the ones nearest to me. It solves the problem of having to keep going back and forth with your friends, deciding where to eat.

City Mapper

 

While Google Maps can already provide you with transportation options to get to where you want to go, City Mapper is an app I keep for more options. You get your usual routes via walking, taking the train and bus, or even driving there, but you also get ride-sharing options. It even tells you where the nearest Mobike (bike-sharing app) is so you can exercise a bit by cycling your way there.

Flio

I absolutely hate signing up for Wi-Fi in airports. The questionnaires just seem to go on forever, I end up wondering whether they will be asking me for my medical history next. Flio lets me sign in hassle-free. It also keeps my flight information, helping me keep track of my schedule and making sure I never miss a flight while browsing the Duty Free makeup aisle.

Flio also tells you which restaurants and shops are at the airport while giving you vouchers for them. We all know dining in airports can be pretty expensive so a discount is always welcome. Your phone’s battery running low? It also tells you where you can charge within the airport so you can keep posting stories on Instagram.

Google Translate

Save yourself the trouble of miming your way to get information. This app can translate a conversation as you go. Another fun feature is the camera which lets you snap a photo of signs and labels. It will then scan the photo for words and all you have to do is highlight the ones you need translated and press on the blue arrow. Et voila! You now know the flavor of jam you have inside that jar. This is such a lifesaver when grocery shopping abroad or looking at posters and announcements in a foreign language.

Got favorites of your own? Share them in the comments below! Would love to discover new apps that I can use in my next trips!

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Apps

Tinder’s new feature tells you when a lot of people are swiping in the area

You’re welcome, Tinderella!

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Dating app Tinder is finding more and more ways to get people swiping more.

Enter: The new Swipe Surge feature.

Let’s face it, not all areas or events are equal — in terms of swipe activity, that is. But, fret not. Tinder will now tell you if you’re in an area with a high swiping ratio to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun.

Wait, what fun exactly? Well, according to Tinder, during a Swipe Surge, activity on the app is 15 times higher than normal. This means that the chance of finding the love of your life (or the love of tonight 😉) is higher by 250 percent and even chatting up some cuties becomes 33 percent faster. Yep, those are some serious computations.

To get in on the fun, enable push notifications so that the app can notify you when a Swipe Surge is happening in real time. Once you’ve joined the Swipe Surge party, you’ll be put on top swiping priority. Tinder will even show you who’s actively swiping at that moment!

Oh, what fun! Swipe Surge is being tested on iOS in select cities. Unfortunately, we don’t know which ones, or when it’s coming to all users; if it even ever will.

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Spotify introduces its app for Apple Watch

Control music from your wrist

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Spotify has just launched its new mobile app for the Apple Watch. Users can now access and control their favorite music and podcasts while on the go.

The new app allows you to play music on the Apple Watch and control how it’s played on compatible devices. However, you can’t stream your favorite songs straight from the watch even if it’s via your connected phone. Instead, the app acts like a controller for Spotify Connect. This allows you to control your music and select playlists individually then play it on shuffle from your wrist.

The downside is there’s no offline playback yet so users still need to bring their phones when going for a run or listening on wireless headphones. Spotify guarantees that they have plans to make offline playback available in the future.

On the bright side, you can now do a lot of things with ease. You can play music even if your phone is in your pocket and you can switch songs when running without having to take your phone out of its running case. When you encounter a friend while your music is playing, you can just tap pause if you ever want to chat. You can skip tracks to match your mood or the activity you’re in, and rewind podcasts to catch details you missed. It’s all on the watch’s screen, accessible with just a single tap.

Spotify will be rolling out the new app to Apple Watch users over the coming week. It requires the latest version of Spotify. Make sure to download it on the App Store and look out for updates.

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