Gone are the days of solely booking your holidays at a travel agent’s or from the comfort of your home office. More and more people do in fact book their holidays on the go, using their mobile phone or tablet to make the transaction that sends them off on their jollies. And why not? Travel apps and mobile-friendly website are making it so much easier for us to book city trips or our annual holiday via electronic devices.
While desktop bookings are still number one at the moment, new research carried out by Holiday Hypermarket predicts that the current trend will see tablet and mobile transactions overtake traditional bookings within a matter or years.
The rise of smartphones and travel apps
Holiday Hypermarket representative Craig Duncan says, “Travel companies have worked hard to improve the mobile booking experience for their customers. With the increased usage of smartphones boasting larger screens and the rise of travel apps, it’s made booking easier as consumers become more confident in mobile commerce.”
Duncan added, “We certainly expect to see mobile bookings increase exponentially in 2019 and soon surpass desktop. We know our customers like to use more than one device when exploring our site too, so our focus is on creating a frictionless booking journey experience for our users. This focus takes into account trends in voice search and represents the ongoing commitment we have to our customers in providing a modernised online shopping experience that is personalised, seamless and secure.”
The best travel apps
Looking back at my past booking experiences, I well and truly fall into the category of mobile phone booker. I love travel apps. Not just to do research before booking but also to actually book my trip. I have booked my trip to Rome via the Airbnb app, I’ve booked a trip to Iceland via German travel app TravelBird and I’ve done the same for trips to Berlin, Usedom and other city breaks.
Want to know which travel apps I use to research and book flights, accommodation, tickets and more? Read on because here they come:
Skyscanner is probably the most popular app when it comes to searching, comparing and booking flights and I’m a big fan, too, because everything is in one space. You don’t have to browse ten different airline websites and you can easily apply filters such as stop overs, travel time, class, departure and arrival times etc. to research flights that meet your needs.
Skyscanner also shows you the cheapest days to travel and sends you notifications if the price for a particular flight changes.
Airbnb was one of the first travel apps that I downloaded onto my phone. One because I’m incredibly nosey and love seeing how other people live and two because I love the idea of staying at someone’s home and getting to know a place through them. There are more than 5 million Airbnb properties listed in more than 81,000 cities in 191 countries and I love that I get to stay in a cool loft apartment or villa for the fraction of a standard hotel room.
You can search and bookmark properties or use the relatively new experience feature that allows you to discover live music, catch a surf with a local, take part in a workshop or class, or support a cause local to your destination. If you want to try out Airbnb for your next trip, you can use my affiliate link for £25 off your first booking.
Instagram might seem like a random choice for a travel app but ever since they launched the feature ‘save an image to private collection’, I love using it for travel planning. It’s super easy to set up folders full of top tips from locals or your favourite influencers. Simply create a folder with a certain destination name and save everything from quirky vintage shops to cool bars, photo locations or the best restaurants in the area. So easy and so much fun!
TripAdvisor is like the holy grail of travel apps and a fab place to start if you’ve got no idea what there is to do and see in a certain area. It features millions of reviews, videos and photos on just about anything from bars, restaurants, tourist attractions or hotels and has a really helpful forum full of like-minded people who love to share their knowledge.
CityMapper is a bit like Google Maps but it offers way more information, which is why it’s become a travel companion I wouldn’t want to miss. It covers over 39 cities all over the world and allows you to compare your travel options in real-time taking into consideration road closures, delays etc.
In London, CityMapper also offers SmartRide, a new form of shared transportation that’s kind of a mish-mash between a bus and a taxi. You can book your ride via the app, make your way to the pickup point and travel in comfort while doing something for the environment. The concept is fairly new but it’s an affordable and safe way to travel the city – especially at night.
If you want to avoid crowds at the airport or relax before your flight, Lounge Buddy is the perfect app for you. It allows you to book and browse premium airport lounges or give you fress access to them based on your personal information, such as any elite statuses, memberships, or premium credit cards you may have. Lounge access starts from £19 and generally covers food and drink, WiFi, shower rooms etc.
Do you sometimes get confused by all the booking numbers and confirmation emails you get when booking flights, hotels, rental cars or tickets for events and attractions? I don’t, at least not any longer. Trip It pulls together all my travel information in one place and automatically creates an itinerary for me. It’s super easy and saves me hours of searching my inbox for bookings I’ve made months ago. The app also lets you share your plans with friends and family which is super helpful if you’re planning a group trip.
Foodie app Eatwith, let’s you book food experiences in more than 110 countries all over the world – but not in bars and restaurants. No, connect with local foodies and visit them at home for dinner, a wine tasting or a cooking class. Don’t worry about creeps or criminals, though. All hosts have been carefully vetted by the Eatwith team, so this is a great way to get to know new people and enjoy some authentic and delicious food.
If you want to know what’s happening around you no matter where you are in the world, download Nearify. It lets you browse more than 20 million events worldwide, so you always know where to be when it comes to live music, shows, classes, networking events, festivals, workshops and more.
If you’re forever chasing the perfect sunset, PhotoPills is the perfect app for you. It tells you exactly when the sun, moon, sunset etc will be in a certain place, allowing you to plan and capture the perfect photo.
What are you favourite travel apps and do you book your holidays on your phone or via laptop?
This is a collaborative post