10 Travel Mobile Apps You Should Be Using by 2020

There are thousands of travel-related mobile applications (apps) available nowadays and you can spend days on end trying to seek out the worthy ones. We wanted to take that stress away from you by offering our top 10 go-to travel applications. From helping with price comparison, cash saving, trip planning and getting around new destinations, your future trips won’t be the same with these must-have applications. 

1. Hopper

Hopper is the most recent travel mobile app that got us excited! It basically monitors prices for flights and hotels and predicts when the price is likely to increase or decrease. This means you can save money by booking before the price goes up or waiting patiently for the price to decrease. Hopper predicts prices with 95% accuracy up to 1 year in advance and is one of the easiest ways to save money on flights and hotels.   

2. TripIt

TripIt is the best trip-planning mobile app we have come across yet. It organises all your travel plans and creates a single itinerary for every trip. You can download it for free and simply forward your confirmation emails for your flight, hotel or car bookings to their email and they instantly add it to your trip that’s set up on the app.  

3. Hotel Tonight

If you are travelling in America, Europe or Australia, Hotel Tonight can help you find discounted hotel accommodation available for last minute bookings. Far too often, hotels take advantage of guests looking for a last-minute place to crash and more than double the standard per night rate. With Hotel Tonight, you can search for the most affordable accommodation, which will not only save you money, it will save you lots of time walking from hotel to hotel when you are tired from all the travel.

4. Skyscanner

Skyscanner is our go-to website for flight search and price comparison and the company’s mobile app makes it even easier to quickly search for flights at any time. It searches millions of flights from over 1,200 sources and then offers you the best option based on the cheapest or easiest route. The search usually returns pages of results for you to choose from so you can pick a more expensive yet convenient route, if that suits. We always recommend using the chart feature, which allows you to see the cheapest days to fly on. It’s surprising how altering your plans by one or two days can result in savings of up to hundreds of pounds. You can also set notifications for various routes so you are notified of the price changes immediately. 

5. AirBnB

The sharing economy is continuously growing and AirBnB are showing no signs of slowing down. You can always find affordable stays through this site and when hosted by a local, it offers the same benefits as hostels where you can meet local people and get some inside tips, yet with the privacy of your own place. AirBnB also has added services now where locals offer experiences and adventures and you can search local restaurants, so it’s definitely worth having the app on hand when exploring new places.  

6. Booking.com

Booking.com consistently offer the cheapest guesthouse and both budget and luxury hotel rates. We use them most of the time for booking accommodation and find that even when compared with booking direct with the hotel/hostel, booking.com will offer the same, if not cheaper rate. 

7. Google Maps

When exploring new places, Google Maps will be your best friend. We often use this app for searching nearby attractions and places to eat and you can even use if offline in locations where you don’t have roaming data. 

8. Lounge Buddy

Lounge Buddy is great for finding airport lounges that provide you access on the door for a fee. It even provides you with information on what to expect when you are in there, from the food and drinks on the menu to whether you can freshen up with a shower. 

9. XE Currency

XE is our go-to site for getting to grips with the local currency when travelling. It offers a simple conversion feature with any currency you can think of and also offers business-oriented features such as rates for precious metals and historic currency charts, if that’s your thing. The company’s app can even be accessed offline because it saves the last updated rates, which is great for locations where you don’t have roaming data or WIFI access.   

10. Google Translate

Google Translate is really useful for instantly translating words, phrases and web pages into your language when travelling. It can also translate audio, which means that you can communicate instantly via the app with other people, such as taxi drivers. The mobile app now has an integrated Augmented Reality (AR) feature, which means you can simply take a picture of a sign and it will translate the written text for you in real-time. 

The above travel apps will lead you to time and cost savings and help you travel further, for longer, and with more convenience. The world of mobile apps is constantly evolving and growing and especially in the travel industry, there are so many opportunities to integrate them into your travel journey. Take advantage of this technology and use it to your advantage.  These are currently our top 10 go-to mobile travel apps, yet with 2020 on the horizon, it’s anticipated that the new year will see a new wave of exciting apps to download!

3 Ways Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry

Virtual Reality (VR) is receiving increasing interest from tourism marketers globally. Combined with 360-degree video capture, VR can virtually transport you to travel destinations around the world and provide you with experiences beyond your wildest dreams, all without leaving your sofa. This technology has already begun to make an impact on the travel industry and this is just the beginning. Here, we have listed just three ways VR is transforming the travel industry and its potential future impact.    

1. Virtual Tours  

Virtual tours have become a popular marketing method, where tourism marketers can offer potential visitors an immersive insight into the destination. This novel method of marketing has been found to entice people to explore new destinations that they might not have previously, and influence them to actually visit the destinations in real life. 

Putting on the VR headset could transport you to a luxury hotel in Tokyo and within seconds, you could be enjoying a Bird’s Eye View of the Grand Canyon. Virtual tours are particularly useful for travel agents as they can allow customers to have a 360-degree view of different locations, which increases their trust and manages their expectations compared with browsing through traditional 2D media. Travel operators might choose to offer VR in-store or as a mobile application that users can access from home.  

Similar methods have been used by hotels with the likes of Marriott providing virtual tours of their international hotels with an aim to provide potential visitors with a realistic insight into their offerings and encourage people to visit. Putting on the VR headset allows hotel guests to experience a collection of travel destinations from Beijing to Chile, while experiencing the accommodation Marriott can provide in these destinations should they decide to visit. 

This “try-before-you-buy” type of experience empowers potential visitors with the ability to take a virtual walkthrough of the hotels facilities and room types, which can avoid any confusion and disappointment upon arrival. 

2. Accessibility

VR also makes certain trips and experiences accessible for all including those individuals who may have limitations with their travel ability or experience anxiety or fear due to heights or flying. In VR, you could find yourself skydiving off the empire state building or swimming with great white sharks, perhaps such experiences are ones you would never dream of having in real life. 

Also, VR can allow people to access sites that might be inaccessible due to safety or over tourism, hence, VR could also contribute to cultural preservation. For example, if the influx of tourism at a historic site is becoming too much for the grounds to take, then it is possible for tourists to view the site in VR. Not only will this contribute to preservation of historical sites, it will also allow for the history and culture to live on through time. 

3. In-flight entertainment 

Although not widespread yet, VR could really take off as a form of in-flight entertainment, especially for long-haul trips. Imagine taking a 14-hour flight from the UK to Hong Kong, popping on a VR headset and being immersed into a completely new world of your choice for hours on end rather than being present in the same plane. 

You could potentially play games in VR with friends from back home or others on the flight – that’s one way to keep the young ones occupied, that’s for sure! If gaming isn’t your thing, you could watch short movies, documentaries or TV shows in 360-degree, or even immerse into a deep meditation. If you have fear of flying, this could be one way to overcome this fear. 

In fact, earlier this year, British Airways announced they will be offering first class passengers on select international flights the opportunity to experience in-flight  VR entertainment and also therapeutic programmes such as meditation and sound therapy. 

Although there remains barriers before it becomes widespread on planes, that won’t stop companies such as Inflight VR from achieving their goal of enabling passengers to immerse in VR while up in the clouds. We are excited to see what the future holds for this innovative business venture! 

What are your thoughts on the impact VR will have on the travel industry? Is this a technology you will use now and/or in the future?

5 Technological Innovations that will Transform your Future Travel Experience

As technological advancements continue to progress, they are impacting the travel experience at all stages of the traveller journey. From viewing destinations in Virtual Reality (VR) before you leave to gaining enhanced information at top attractions using mobile-enabled Augmented Reality (AR) applications, the following five technologies are bound to influence the way you travel now and in the future.

1. Virtual Reality

VR offers a new and novel way to experience various destinations in a 360-degree immersive environment before you travel. You simply put on the VR headset and are immersed into the virtual world. This technology provides you with a feeling of being virtually present at the destination without having to leave your sofa.

You can explore various locations and activities within a specific destination, which can help you decide whether you want to visit and also allows you to better compare destinations. You can even take “virtual tours” of hotels so you can pick your favourite room and decide whether you like the hotel facilities.

There are many 360-degree virtual tours of destinations and travel experiences available on YouTube. Plus, you can pick up cheap VR headsets for as little as £5. With these headsets, you simply load up the 360-degree immersive VR video on your phone, pop your phone in the headset and become immersed into the virtual world. These type of headsets and content make VR and immersive travel experiences accessible to many.

Overall, VR has the potential to make the travel search phase much more exciting and informative because you can take a virtual walk-through of areas of interest and make more informed decisions on whether you would like to visit or not.

You can also re-live travel experiences back home by developing your own VR experience using your own video footage, or simply experiencing the destination in 360-degree immersive VR, just like you did before you left.

2. Augmented Reality

AR is mobile-enabled and often accessed through mobile applications on a smartphone. It blends (augments) virtual content on top of real world objects.

Therefore, when exploring a museum or destination for example, you simply load the AR application on your mobile device, point your device at the point of interest (e.g. Statue of Liberty), and virtual content such as images, text, video or audio will be overlaid on top of the real world.

By using AR applications, you can access more information and therefore become more educated on the destination, museum, art gallery etc. while having fun using an interactive and engaging application at the same time.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Travel-related companies such as hoteliers and tour operators are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide more personalised recommendations to travellers based on the huge amounts of data they have collected.

Hence, AI can benefit you as a traveller by providing more efficient, tailored and faster service through the traveller journey, which will likely enhance your overall trip. By having AI chatbots (e.g. direct messaging on hotel websites), you are guaranteed the ability to reach customer service around the clock too and often without being placed in a queue.

For companies, AI can save them money and time by conducting tasks traditionally undertaken by humans, which also eliminates human error and allows for tasks to be conducted at any time of the day or night.

4. Robots

Robots are mostly impacting the hotel sector and it is likely you will see more of them in the near future.  For example, there may be robot-staff ready to assist you with checking in or robot concierge, and you might even experience robots in travel agencies and airports.

Robots benefit companies in the travel industry because they are more cost effective over time as they don’t require a salary, breaks or holidays, and overall provide greater consistency and accuracy than humans.

However, they do require maintenance costs and there is the limitation of human encounter, which many people enjoy when travelling. For you as a traveller, robots can make the experience more exciting and unique, therefore making it more memorable. Yotel in Singapore is an example of a hotel integrating smart technologies such as robots.

5. Smart Rooms    

Smart rooms are the future of hotels. They are AI-enabled, which means you can potentially control the entire room with just your voice. The rooms listen and when you provide commands such as changing the lighting, music, blinds and temperature, the AI-enabled room can act accordingly. In China, smart rooms have already been implemented (e.g. InterContinental Hotels Groups (IHG)).

New technologies are constantly emerging and will continue to impact the travel industry including both travel companies and us as travellers. It’s exciting to think about the future travel experience and how we will be experiencing destinations in the future, don’t you think? Have you experienced any cool technologies while travelling recently?