Happy Monday and MLK Day everyone! I have the day off of work today and am just embracing my time at home with Kai. We didn't do a whole lot this weekend because we got hit with a huge blizzard on Friday/Saturday, so we've pretty much just been cozied up at home all weekend. We ventured out for a little bit yesterday to go to the Garfield Park Conservatory in the city to do Kai's 1 year old photos! I seriously can't wait to get them back, I just know they are going to be the most gorgeous set of photos. We did make a lot of progress on organizing our office though and it finally feels like a place I can work and be inspired in. In fact, I'm actually typing this at our desk in our office right now and it feels so good! I can't wait to show you all the full transformation of it soon!
Today I want to share with you all my most used travel apps I use on my phone. Using resources like books and apps are some of my best ways for planning and having a great time on our trips. I keep a little EXPLORE folder on my phone with all of my travel apps in it to keep them organized in a place where I can easily find them. And as an FYI, all these apps are free. Alright, so here we go!
I prefer Google Maps to Apple Maps (I have an iPhone), especially when we are traveling. Reason being is that I like to favorite all of the places we are planning on going when we are traveling and they show up as little yellow stars on my map when I open the app. This makes it so easy to find everything and map out routes on how to get from place to place, especially if you're walking. I can also just tap the star and the place will pop up for me to click for directions, too.
I do most of my hotel bookings through Expedia. I personally like the layout of the app the most compared to all the other ones out there like Kayak of Booking.com. I also just feel like I get the best deals through Expedia.
This app is Chicago specific. In order to get around Chicago via public transport, you need to have a Ventra card. This app allows me to refill my account and look up train schedules for all of the lines on the CTA. If you don't live in Chicago and are visiting, I highly suggest this one!
This app is a lifesaver and probably my favorite travel app ever. We use this app all the time to finding parking spots everywhere. We use it every time we drive in to Chicago or Milwaukee, we've used it in Portland and Seattle, etc. The way it works is you type in your destination and it finds you all the available parking lots or garages near your destination and gives you pricing for the time slot you've filled in. We've saved so much money using this app with parking in Chicago. They always have discounted rates for garages in Chicago...I'm talking like we pay $18 for a spot that would normally be $40! Best app ever.
This app is a little specific to us because we always fly Southwest. We personally feel like we always get the best rates through Southwest and like that there are no baggage fees or change of flight fees. I like having their app on my phone especially for checking in for our flights since we have to do it 24 hours in advance to get a good seat (well we don't HAVE to now thanks to family boarding). I also like it just simply for looking up flights for upcoming trips. However, whatever airline you prefer the most, I suggest downloading their app and having it in your travel folder on your phone so you can easily look up flights and check in for your flights on your phone, too.
Skyscanner is another cool one. This app helps you find the cheapest possible flights out there (including Southwest flights!) Apps like Expedia never include Southwest which is always a bummer since that's who we fly with the most! A lot of times though if I'm traveling alone I like to just look up the cheapest airfare and will deal with flying something else besides Southwest since they only fly out of Midway and we live a lot closer to O'Hare. But anyways, you can find some insane deals on this app. Another cool feature of it too is you can pick a date range or a month and "fly anywhere" and it will show you the cheapest rates to everywhere in the US. So if you're in the mood for a little getaway but you don't know where to go, this is a fun little feature to try out! It might spark an idea for a place you didn't even have on your radar.
We're more of a rent a car or take public transit people but if you need to hire a car, Lyft is great. We use Lyft over Uber because you have to go through Lyft for the Minnie vans at Disney World. (A Minnie van is those cute red with polk dot cars at Disney that take you from resort to resort or to the parks so you don't have to use the bus system). This is a great option to save time at Disney because their bus system doesn't take you from resort to resort.
Disney World (My Experience App)
Speaking of Disney...I always have the Disney World My Experience App on my phone. This app shows you everything for your Disney World trips from your hotel reservation, FastPasses, photos from your trip, and dining reservations. You can update all your trip info on the app, too, and make FastPass selections on it. One of the coolest things about the app too is you can see ride wait times! Plus there is a great map of all the parks on the app for easy navigating.
This app is a great one for making dining reservations. They have a huge network of restaurants all over! You can easily search for a specific restaurant or you can search in the area you're in and a whole list of restaurants will pop up. They have reviews and information on all restaurants and you can see most menus on the app, too. They give you all available times for reservations and ask if you need any special accommodations. The best part though is with each reservation you make and honor you rack up points, which eventually turns back in to money!
What is your all time favorite travel app that you have on your phone? Share with me below in the comments!
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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