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Best Free Travel Apps for Saving Money

5 Free Travel Apps That Will Save You Money

Posted on 2/20/2013 12:00 EST
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Nearly everybody enjoys traveling. But the planning and spending? Not so much.


Photo by sxc.hu/clblood

As the saying goes, there's an app for that. In fact, there are several free travel apps for iPhones, iPads, and Androids that will save you time and money. An added bonus: You won't look like such a tourist.

Hotel Tonight: Go-to app for a last-minute hotel room.

Say you decide to take an impromptu road trip but neglected to book a hotel room. Hotel Tonight has you covered. While last minute room reservations usually mean higher rates, this free travel app guarantees the complete opposite -- book a room the same day and save up to 70 percent on the hotel's usual prices.
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With 4.5 stars on iTunes and 4.4 stars on Google Play, this app upends the usual "too good to be true" adage. One Android user had her doubts but became a believer after booking a room in a Harrah's Hotel in Reno, NV for $34 for the night. Note, however, that you can't purchase a deal until noon (although you can reserve anytime up until 2 a.m.), and you're told your room type only upon arrival.

Gasbuddy: Go-to app on a road trip.

Do you weep when it's time to fill up the gas tank? Make Gasbuddy your new friend. This app finds prices at gas stations near your location and indicates when they were last updated. It relies on users to report price changes, so be an active participant. Each week the free travel app offers a chance to win $250 worth of gas.

Frugal voyageurs who reviewed the Android version award it 4.6 stars and say it's a must-have whether you're near home or far. On iTunes reviewers gave this app a full 5 stars.

Kayak: Go-to app for a last-minute flight.

There are hundreds of travel sites -- Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Orbitz among the most well-known -- and it's impossible to sort through them all to find the best deals. That's where Kayak comes in. Kayak is a free travel app that lets users compare and then purchase the cheapest airline flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals. The app also creates an itinerary based on your selections.

The newest iTunes version 24.0.1 garners 4.5 stars and is praised for "coming through" when time is short. The Android app also merits 4.5 stars, according to users, who appreciate its functionality and user-friendly interface.

Gateguru 3.0: Go-to app when you're hungry and stuck at the airport.

As any traveler can attest, food is vastly overpriced in airports. Gateguru 3.0 helps you find the cheapest (and best) sandwich in the vicinity. The free travel app also offers the option of filtering results based on a pre- or post-security location. Fox News calls it the "Yelp for airports," with its up-to-date reviews on food, stores, and customer service.


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Personalize the free travel app by inputting your itinerary (through a Tripit or Kayak account, by adding it directly to the app, or if you're a registered user, by emailing the itinerary). Gateguru also informs users of flight changes and can save you big bucks when booking a last-minute rental car. Much of the grousing about the older version seems to have been addressed in Gateguru 3.0. The current version scores 4 stars compared to the older version's 3.

Scoutmob: Go-to app to avoid looking like a tourist.

Visiting a new city can be intimidating. Where to go? What to do? Scoutmob shows you boutiques, restaurants, spas, etc. along with reviews. Free deals through the travel app are available in 13 locales, including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Choose the deal that strikes your fancy and show it to the person helping you.

Android users reward this free travel app with 4.2 stars and proclaim its value even when exploring their hometowns and particularly when entertaining out-of-town guests. One user, who assigns it 5 stars, says the app saved her more than $50 in food, clothing, and accessories. The most current version of the app earns 3.5 stars on iTunes.

by Alyssa Goldman (Google+ Profile)


Filed in: Android, Apps, Frugal tips, Gas, Hotels, iPhone, Summer, Travel, Vacations
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