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The summer months are the perfect time to travel. But if you’re going away with a group, it can become a bit trickier to coordinate. You’ll need to work together to book flights, places to stay, events, and more. Trying to do all of this via email or text messaging is inefficient and downright frustrating.
Thankfully there are a number of free apps that make planning group travel much easier. Here’s our list of the most useful apps you’ll need to plan your next group vacation.
For Picking the Best Dates âœ…
Picking dates that work for everyone’s schedule is half of the battle. This is especially difficult if you’re traveling with a large group. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of everyone’s preferences via email or text message.
But Doodle puts everything in one place. Through the app, you can create a poll where everyone can participate in selecting dates. Then you’ll have a consensus of the times that work for everyone. Get the iOS app here
For Booking Flights âœ…
If you’re skipping the road trip to fly to a new destination, you’ll need to book flights. Typically this is a painstaking process of browsing every affordable site with daily deals to find something reasonable. But Hopper takes the pain out of this search.
You enter your destination and preferred dates into the mobile-only app and it does the rest. It will then send you a push notification when its the best time to buy a flight. You can also share this info with other travelers who are coming from your location. Hopper also includes flex dates as well as a dedicated hotel booking section. Get the iOS app here
For Coordinating Travel Arrangements âœ…
One of the biggest frustrations is making sure everyone knows the plans for vacation. Flights, hotels, dinner reservations, and more can easily get lost in the shuffle. It’s even more stressful when one person is in charge of everything.
TripIt allows everyone to see the plans without any confusion. Itineraries like flight info or restaurant reservations are auto-imported into the app. These can be added to a full trip itinerary that you can share with friends or family you’re traveling with. TripIt will then send you notifications, whether its a gate change for your upcoming flight or when you should leave for dinner. Get the iOS app here
For Finding a Place To Stay âœ…
Hotels are a thing of the past. Now travelers want to be fully immersed in the culture of whatever city or country they’re visiting. That’s why Airbnb has taken off: people want to experience the place as a local and not as a tourist.
Airbnb makes it easy to search for local places at your destination. There’s no limit to the types of places you can rent: tiny houses, single bedrooms, guest houses, lofts…the list goes on and on. Each Airbnb will tell you how many people it can host in addition to the amenities it comes with. And be sure to leave a review when your stay is over! Get the iOS app here
For Locating the Cheapest Gas âœ…
Sometimes you’ll want to take a road trip instead of jetting across the country. So you’ll pack your car full of bags and guests, turn up the music, and start driving to your destination. As you’re road tripping, you’ll want to find the places with the cheapest gas so you can spend money on other things like food, drinks, and entertainment. GasBuddy can help you with that.
GasBuddy has a user-friendly interface that lets you find the cheapest gas in proximity to your location. You’ll see the price per gallon in addition to when the price was last confirmed on the app. Simply click the gas option you want, then select “Directions” to get moving. GasBuddy also has select offers to help you save even more at the pump! Get the iOS app here.
For Group Messaging âœ…
iMessage has made it a lot easier to create a group message thread. But not everyone has an iPhone, which can make this a lot trickier. They won’t get the features that iPhone users have come to depend on. For these instances, you can use GroupMe.
GroupMe is a group messaging application that incorporates all of the best features: likes, polls, calendar events, and more. There are also multiple customizations available, like adding a group image or changing the group name. You can even mute the group notifications if you don’t want to receive certain group chat updates. Get the iOS app here.
For Splitting Transactions âœ…
Venmo is a mainstay in the peer-to-peer (P2P) payment world. It’s the easiest way to send and request money from contacts. But when it comes time to split something, doing the exact math can become a hassle. Splitwise makes it much, much easier.
Splitwise allows you to set up a custom group, add members to it, and then add all trip expenses. Each time you add a transaction, you get to add a description, the total cost, who paid, and how it is being split. You can do this over the course of the trip so that everyone can settle up at the end. Get the iOS app here.