Summer is already in full effect, and that means it's time to get your travel plans in motion before it's too late to snag the best deals. According to the travel experts at American Express, over 195 million people will hit the roads, airports, trains, and cruises this summer season, and we will spend on average $941 on each of our summer getaways.
While the average cost might come close to a thousand dollars, summer trips can run well into thousand-plus territory with the price of airfare skyrocketing, not to mention steep hotel prices in popular cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. While you're busy fine-tuning your travel budget, there are a few excellent apps and online sites that are poised to help you save money on your summer trip, so you can relax without having to bust your budget.
4 money saving apps for summer travel
If you're trying to find the cheapest time to fly for your summer travels, then the mobile app Hopper is a must have on your phone. Utilizing a large historical database of "zillions of flights," Hopper allows you to not only book your flight quickly but also find the exact sweet spot to score a deal on airfare. Their motto is, "Predict. Watch. Buy. Fly," and it's simply one of the best apps on the market to give you confidence that when you buy is the exact right time. Right now it's only available for IOS and Google Play, with fingers crossed that they will roll it out on other platforms soon due to its popularity.
Sure, you add all the usual costs to your travel budget – food, hotel, parking, Uber rides and such--but what about the extra costs you incur from data roaming? If you're anywhere in the world, WifiMapper will save you the unfortunate disaster of a monstrous cell phone bill upon your return.
Even when you think ahead and buy international coverage from your cell phone carrier, you can still go into shock when you see how much you've spent for a few minutes uploading photos to Facebook or Snapchatting your adventures. WifiMapper helps you find free wifi virtually anywhere with over 2,000,000 recommended free hotspots.
Turo (formally RelayRides)
If the idea of jumping into the backseat of an Uber or Lyft car doesn't exactly appeal to you, but you need a car on your next trip, check out Turo. Described as the Airbnb for car rental, Turo allows you to rent cars locally from private owners for either local pickup, city delivery or even airport delivery at up to 30% less than traditional rental agencies.
A simple search in Los Angeles for a week in the summer returned many different options of cars for rent, ranging from a Mazda 6 from $52 a day to a Porsche Cayman for $110 per day. Like traditional rental companies, Turo offers insurance options and customer service should you run into any issues. This might be your chance at driving the car of your dreams, even if it is just for a few days in a new city.
Luxury for Less
If your idea of summer travel looks like what you'd see on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but you have a budget that isn't quite as generous, you will love Luxury for Less by Travelex.
With an endless array of "deal" sites and options for summer travel, Luxury for Less is a unique site lets you just enter where you are flying from, when, for how many nights and then select your budget. From there, the site goes to work churning through their deal engines to return options all around the world that would meet your budget.
"We know that planning for vacations can often be daunting while trying to stick to a budget [...] With Luxury for Less, we're hoping to take the stress out of planning vacations by showing total vacation expenses – not just travel costs – to destinations around the world," according to Christopher McShane, head of retail for Travelex North America. "We want to inspire everyone to have the dream trip that they deserve at a total price that they can afford."
Whether your budget is $500 or $5,000, you can choose between options like a Chile Wine Tasting trip or a solo trip to Mexico City to enjoy the sites and colors of the city. When you've made your selection, you can easily book all your travel plans right on the site.
Photo: Julie Falk