Friday, August 3, 2012

Helpful Travel Tools

I am not sponsored or paid by any companies to say this. These are just travel tools that we've found helpful that I wanted to share in case other people might find them helpful. 

Planning a trip is a lot of work. Even if it's just a quick weekend getaway you have to think of a lot of things: Lodging, transportation, food, activities, budget. The list goes on and on!

So, when I sat down to plan this entire month-long several-country European adventure, I knew that I should try to make it as efficient as possible so I could make sure to cover my bases so we wouldn't end up in a foreign city wondering where we were going to sleep that night (although, that could be an adventure in itself!).

Here are some tools I found really helpful and invaluable to our planning process.

 

Tripit 

This website has saved my sanity! Seriously, it's so easy to use and does all the work of setting up an itinerary for you. Once you book a flight, hotel, tour, etc. you just forward the confirmation email to Tripit and it instantly makes an itinerary for it. You can also manually enter items too. 

The best part is it also gives you directions. Let's say you add a flight to Berlin airport and then add a hotel in the Berlin city centre. Tripit automatically includes directions on how to get from point a to point b.

It's saved me many times from buying plane or train tickets for the wrong day or not booking a hotel room for enough nights. It's also very popular for businesses because you can put multiple people's different itineraries on a calendar so everyone knows where everyone else is at any time.

 

Mint

Mint.com is a super great and user-friendly budgeting tool. It tracks all of your finances (bank accounts, loans, car payments, mortgage, debts, income, etc.) and helps you set up a monthly budget for necessary expenses all in a pretty little spreadsheet and graph!

And then, even better, you can set up a goal. Maybe you want to go on a vacation or buy a house or new car or maybe you need to pay off your student loans? Either way, you just tell Mint how much you want to save and it can track your spending and give you tips on how to save money and how long until you reach your goal.

We've been planning on taking this trip for a while so this has been super helpful in tracking our expenses to see where we can cut things and to be able to budget for our trip.

 

Credit Card Miles

A great way to save money on a trip is to use your credit card to earn frequent flier miles for you to use. Not every credit card does this so you definitely need to check into it to find out the details. I am not advocating you to sign up for a credit card unless you need it or were planning on signing up for one anyway. And if you do sign up for a new card, I highly recommend you do a fair amount of research about your options (I found this website very helpful). Since we were in the market for a credit card we could use abroad without incurring fees every time we used it and we knew we would be making big purchases this year (i.e. tuition, etc.), and we knew we would eventually need to fly back to the States at some point, we decided to make sure the card we picked earned us miles.

All in all, it paid off because we were able to pay for most of our plane tickets home using the miles we earned. But again, don't get the card and buy a bunch of things you can't pay for just so you can get miles!

SNL helped explain this theory a bit more :)


 

Pocket

Pocket is a great add-on you can use in Chrome or Firefox that allows you to save things to read them later. I've found this is especially helpful when I am browsing things to do in a certain city and want to save them to research later. You just click one little button your browser, tag it with a name if you want, and then viola! it's saved.


Hope you found some of these tips helpful.

Happy travels! Pin It

2 comments:

  1. ALL TIME FAVORITE SNL skit....I die laughing every time I see it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "So you mean if I don't have the money, I shouldn't buy it?!"

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