Trying to stay organized on your next vacation and have no idea where to begin? If you want to take control of your next family vacation, check out these 3 amazing travel apps for the organized traveler. If everything else in your life is organized, why shouldn’t your vacations be?!
Happy Thursday, friends! I’m so excited you decided to stop by the lake today and hang out with me. I actually could use a little company. With Spring Break over, and the family back into our normal routine, it can get a teeny bit lonely around here. So thank you for stopping by!
Spring Break was about two weeks ago and it was beyond amazing. It was so epic that I’m not sure I’ll be able to beat it ever again in my life. I was truly spoiled!
To start Spring Break off, Zach and I took a little day trip to St. Augustine to see the country duo, Dan and Shay. Have you heard of them before? They have many hits on the radio right now. Some of their songs are even mainstreaming onto regular radio stations these days.
The concert tickets were my Christmas present from Patrick. Unfortunately, he missed out on the concert because he had to work. Poor guy!
With Patrick working, it ended up being a Mother/Son Date Night which was pretty awesome.
On a side note, I highly recommend you taking the time to spend one-on-one time with your kiddos whenever possible. The time you spend is priceless!
We had the best time ever, and by pure luck, even got to meet Dan and Shay. Not too shabby of a start to our Spring Break!
That Sunday, we headed on a family vacation to Puerto Rico with my mom and stepdad, Frank. My mom turned 60 and the trip was our way of celebrating this birthday milestone with her. We ate, drank, saw all the sights, and had a wonderful time together while in Puerto Rico.
And if that wasn’t enough, Patrick had a work conference the following weekend in South Beach and I got to tag along with him. While he worked and learned all day long, I worked on my tan line and learned that cocktails by the pool in South Beach are ridiculously overpriced. I’m not kidding. I paid $69 for two drinks people…
When I say my Spring Break was action-packed, you now know I’m not lying. And although it was beyond fun and exciting, it did take a ton of planning and organization on my part to make it all workout seamlessly.
Leading up to Spring Break, while on Spring Break on my Instagram stories, and again when we got home in my most recent newsletter, I asked my Lake Life State of Mind community what things they wished they were better at when it came to traveling.
As much as I just want to sit here and talk about my vacation (I kind of already talked about it a little more than I probably should’ve), I’m no dummy to the fact that it will fall on deaf ears if you didn’t get anything out of it for yourself. Am I right?
So to make my vacation posts worth the read, I wanted to give you some useful answers to all your vacation questions. There will be more posts to follow with even more vacation tips soon!
3 Amazing Travel Apps for the Organized Traveler
Being organized on our family trips allows us to pack as much into our vacations as possible. This is so important to us because our family time is very few and far between. Patrick’s job is so consuming and the time we get to share together as a family is a time we truly treasure.
We want to maximize on every minute we can while on vacation.
This is where my job kicks in and I get to plan out our vacation days as best as possible. With each trip we take, I find myself getting better and better at the organization of it all. I share this with you because I don’t want you to become discouraged if your first attempt at being an organized traveler is a hot mess. Don’t give up. You’ve totally got this!
And of course, I’m here to help.
The 3 apps I will be sharing with you today are ones I use for pretty much every vacation we go on. They help me stay organized and allow me to utilize as much time as possible while on our trips. These 3 apps help me find the best hotels, book fun activities and discover the best restaurants around the area I’m traveling to.
All three of these apps have websites that go along with them. During the planning process, I find myself working primarily on the websites of these companies first. It is important that you create an account on each website so you can save all your trip information. When downloading the app, you simply log in using the account information you created and all your hard work will transfer right over to the app for you. Pretty cool, don’t you think?
With that out of the way, are you ready to hear what these 3 travel apps are? Let’s get started.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard of TripAdvisor before. If you’ve ever Googled something along the lines of “Best places to stay in Houston” or “Top 10 Things to do in Orlando”, results from TripAdvisor always seem to pop up right at the top.
Ever wonder why that is? Because so many people click and contribute to this site on a regular basis that Google knows the information you’ll find here is reputable. Google’s job is to help you find the answers you need so they send you to places like TripAdvisor for the best results.
TripAdvisor can help you find everything you could possibly ever need for your upcoming vacation from flights to hotels to things to do while you’re there.
Everything is based on 5 stars (technically circles). The stars/circles are calculated by reviews made by people who have experienced a particular service. They go online and leave their feedback. The hope is, that if and when you go to that same location, you too leave a review and ranking.
Although there are so many features, I find myself using TripAdvisor primarily when looking for hotels to stay at when I’m traveling. You can search pretty much any location in the world and find an abundance of accommodations ranked by things such as best value, best reviewed and lowest price.
Once you create an account, you’ll notice the ability to create a trip in the upper righthand corner of the webpage.
You can also do this directly from the app if you prefer to do everything there instead.
I like to make all my trips “private” because I add personal information about where I’m headed, the dates I’ll be there, and even confirmation numbers. If I were to set the trip to “public”, anyone looking on TripAdvisor could potentially see my vacation information.
So you know, there is a way to share your private trip with someone. This allows you to give permission to other people traveling with you to see and add things to the trip without making it public to the world.
In the beginning stages of researching hotels, I like to look at as many places as possible. What I really enjoy about TripAdvisor is the spot they have for you to keep notes when you save something. If I find a hotel that tweaks my interest, I’ll click the save button and file it in the trip folder it corresponds with.
Later on, I’ll go back and narrow down my search. You can simply delete the hotels that you decide against as you’re going through them.
You can then either book the hotel right through the TripAdvisor site or choose to go directly through the hotel. This part is completely up to you. For us, we go with whatever is the cheapest price, duh!
Oh, and remember where we placed our notes when we were searching for ideas on TripAdvisor? Once I secure my reservations, I add the dates, confirmation numbers, or any other important information that I want to remember in that notes section so I have it all in one place on my phone.
Note: If you make a reservation straight through TripAdvisor, your confirmation information will automatically save on your app account. It can be found by clicking the “bookings” section which can be seen under the “trips” tab.
Again, feel free to check out activities, restaurants, and much more while on TripAdvisor. All these things can be saved to the ideas in your trip. How little or how much you use this one program is completely up to you, but truly, the possibilities are endless.
I love using Viator when booking excursions for our trips. You’d be amazed at all the awesome activities available in the locations you’re traveling to. We’ve booked everything from food tours to bike tours to even ghost tours using this company.
Make sure to create an account with Viator before you start searching. Once you have an account, you can simply put items on your “wishlist” as you’re hunting for activities to do while on vacation.
What I like most about this company is that you can search the excursions based off you and your family’s interests. You’ll find categories such as food, wine, and nightlife, sightseeing tours, and half/full day tours. Note that some of the categories will change based on the location you are searching and what’s available there.
You can book your excursions right through the website and your tickets will populate directly to your phone app once you sign in. You can also book straight from the app as well. All the information for the activity, along with the tickets for it, will be right on your phone from that point forward. Awesome, right?!
I’ve used this app to book excursions pretty much everywhere we’ve ever traveled to; New Orleans, Alaska, Puerto Rico, etc. I’ve also used it to book activities while on cruises instead of doing it directly through the cruise ship. The group sizes are much smaller, the prices are way cheaper, and they guarantee to get you back to the boat before it sets sail.
Another fun idea, try checking your city on Viator for activities. It’s pretty cool to see the things that are offered in your own backyard. You’ll end up with some great ideas for family time activities and some awesome date nights too!
We are obsessed with Yelp in our family. We literally use it all the time. Yelp is an app that helps you search for restaurants within the area you are. Because we are total foodies, we always find ourselves looking for new restaurants to try in our own area.
Although you can find Yelp on the web, I prefer the app so much more. Specifically, I like the fact that you can make “collections” through the app version of Yelp so much easier than on the website. I just think the app is a little more user-friendly.
What are collections?
Similar to what I shared with you about making trips on TripAdvisor, the collections tab on Yelp allows you to create an event or topic and save restaurant ideas to it.
For our trip to Puerto Rico, I created a collection titled, “Places to try in Puerto Rico”. As I searched through Yelp, I saved restaurants to that collection so I had a good idea of places I wanted to eat at while on vacation.
You’ll notice that there is also a place to add notes to your saved restaurants or businesses. This feature really excited me because I was able to get even more organized when it came to planning our meals while in Puerto Rico.
Here’s what I did:
- I sat down with my itinerary in front of me so I knew exactly where we were staying and what activities we had planned for each day throughout our vacation.
- I went through the days and figured out what meals we would be eating and in what area we would be staying for that meal.
- I searched restaurants for that particular area and meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack) and added it to my collection, “Place to try in Puerto Rico”.
- In the note section of the restaurant I wrote what day we would be potentially going to that restaurant and for meal of the day the restaurant was good for.
- I made sure to have a couple of choices available so we could decide as a family what option sounded best.
This was super helpful, folks. Have you ever been on vacation and desperately trying to find a place to eat? Everyone is super cranky from being overly hungry and attitudes are flying left and right.
It stinks…I know because I’ve been there. Vacation is supposed to be enjoyable so help yourself out and alleviate all the stress you can ahead of time!
And there you have it. My 3 Amazing Travel Apps for the Organized Traveler to keep you in check while traveling with your family. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a ton of work to put in up front, but the reward of a restful and seamless vacation is totally worth it. I can promise you that.
Have you used any of these apps before? Are there any others you would recommend that I haven’t mentioned? Feel free to comment below.
If you’re looking for a great tropical getaway, check out my travel review of the Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas. You’ll be blown away by it! If road tripping is more your style, come take a peek at these adorable Road Trip Gift Baskets I made last summer.