Everybody's working for the weekend. But after heading home on Friday evening, many of us just stay put, because we feel we can't afford to take that weekend getaway, much less that weeklong vacation, we've been daydreaming about. Sure, some people will charge up their credit cards or overdraft their bank accounts to pay for their dream vacation.
But money shouldn't be a barrier between you and your travel plans when a slew of travel apps offer the best deals on airfare, hotel rooms, car rentals, and even local attractions. Many of them promise mobile-only deals that aspiring travelers just can't find anywhere else. Read on to learn how to land great deals for your next getaway with the following iPhone and Android apps.
Airfare, hotel, and car rentals
The Expedia mobile app for Android and iPhone helps users save on hotels, flights, rental cars, and attractions (tours, shows, theme parks) with mobile-only deals. Bundle flights and hotels together and join the Expedia Rewards Program to save even more on your next trip. You'll also earn double Expedia Rewards points when booking through the app. Bonus: Expedia also promises that if your plans change that you can change or cancel almost any hotel reservation made in the app without penalty.
The award-winning Skyscanner mobile app for iPhone and Android also helps users find the best flight, hotel, and car rental deals for your next trip. For airfare, search by cheapest days to fly, cheapest flights from your nearest airport, or if you're feeling adventurous by cheapest flight prices to destinations around the world. You can also get price alerts when prices drop even further. For hotels, you can search from hundreds of thousands of hotels, resorts, apartments, and hostels near or far, far in the future or last minute.
For cars, you can choose from 30,000 airport or city locations and Skyscanner's Fair Fuel Policy flag will ensure you're not overcharged on gas.
Free app Kayak for iOS and Android searches and compares prices across hundreds of travel sites to serve you some of the lowest flight, hotel, and rental car rates around. It also offers even better deals and mobile-only rates that you can't find anywhere else, so you can book with confidence.
Hopper enables you to save up to 40 percent on airfare and hotel bookings by predicting whether the flight and hotel pricing you can't currently afford will drop to a price you can and notifying you when that happens. Then you can book quickly and easily in the free app for Android and iPhone.
Enter your destination in Hipmunk, scroll through featured destinations, or choose one by environment or activity. Then tap Search Flights (or Search Hotels) and Hipmunk will pull up some of the best deals available. On the flights screen, toggle the Agony bar to only see the cheapest, shortest, and most direct flights. Then, for added savings, create alerts for when flight prices drop further. Our favorite feature is Tonight Deals, which lists last-minute rooms for up to 60 percent off from such sites as Airbnb, Hotels.com, and Expedia.
Along with travel and hotel specials, Travelzoo offers a great selection of entertainment deals. Enable location, and you'll be taken to a list or a map view of deals, featuring categories like Restaurants, Entertainment (plays, concerts, and sporting events), Spas, and Activities (dinner cruises, bike rentals, culinary classes, and more) -- all for up to 65 percent off. Then tap the deal, read the fine print, and book.
TripAdvisor offers 500 million hotel, restaurant, and tourist attraction reviews and photos from travelers such as yourself, so you can uncover and book the best deals with just a couple of taps. Once you're at your destination, you can use the Near Me Now button to discover cool places nearby.
Momondo helps you find the best flight and hotel deals. The Price Calendar will show you the best (cheapest) days to book, so you can place your order with the assurance that you're getting the best possible rate. Then book your hotel with the confidence that if you find a cheaper rate on a competing site within 24 hours, you'll get the difference back. You can also find deals at the last minute from your location with the Near Me Tonight feature.
The highest-rated travel app, Booking.com is where to go first for hotel room, motel room, and vacation home deals. There are 27 million options to search by city, nearby landmarks or attractions, or hotel name; filter by cost, rating, and other amenities; and book for now or far in advance. Free bookings and cancellation on most rooms make Booking.com pretty close to perfect.
Need a last-minute hotel deal or one 100 days from now? Then search no further than HotelTonight. The HotelTonight app offers the best deals for your upcoming hotel room bookings, whether you're looking for basic, hip, or luxurious accommodations. When hotels can't fill their rooms, they drop their prices and pass these discounted rates along to HotelTonight, which then passes the savings onto you. Get the bonus location-based Geo Rate discount (marked in green) for added savings. The HT Perks program brings added deals to those who book more frequently. 24/7 customer support can handle any questions or issues.
If you'd rather stay in a home away from home, Airbnb offers 4 million-plus accommodations -- rooms, apartments, and houses -- to rent in locations around the world. Now you can also book cool travel experiences set up by local guides within the app. After booking, you can message your host with any questions within the app.
The VRBO Vacation Rentals app specializes in rentals of entire homes. If you're looking to book a condo, villa, cabin, or house for your family getaway or to party with your friends over Coachella weekend, you'll
find millions of rental properties here suitable for larger groups. Book in the app and communicate with the owners if there are any questions or issues.
FOLLOW Download.com on Twitter for all the latest app news.
Forget the long lines and pricey rates at the rental car companies. Turo simplifies things, allowing you to skip the queues, book, and schedule the delivery of your vehicle -- sedan, truck, even bus -- from over five-million registered owners in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Germany, for up to 30 percent off.
If you're in Alexandria, Arlington, Berkeley, Bethesda, Boston, Cambridge, Chicago, Evanston, Hoboken, Jersey City, Oakland, Portland, San Francisco, Silver Spring, or Washington, D.C., then you'd do well to test drive Getaround, another cost-cutting car-rental-on-demand service. Rather than dealing with the waits, paperwork, and premium prices associated with rental car companies, you can choose from thousands of cars to rent in the app for $5 an hour and up. Then just use your phone to unlock your vehicle.
- When traveling to Los Angeles, use these apps to guide you (Download.com)
- When traveling to New York City, use these apps to guide you (Download.com)
- When traveling to Seattle, use these apps to guide you (Download.com)
- The 7 best transit apps for the Bay Area (Download.com)
- Seattle, Orlando and Atlanta among best cities for gamers (CNET)
- A news app for car-bound commuters (ZDNet)
- Ditching Uber? 8 alternatives for professionals (TechRepublic)