Traveling, like Life itself, is not a static thing. It never has been, physically or mentally. Technology has changed Traveling even more in the past decade, some say for the better, other’s disagree. You can’t argue though that it has made the whole experience a lot more convenient with research, routes, what to see, where to stay.
We no longer have to carry heavy guidebooks in our bags, can book Hotels/Flights/Cars with a click of a button from your laptop or even phone, without having to make a phone call. Today, Mobile Technology & Smartphones are a growing segment that changes the way we travel and makes it easier than ever to arrange everything without a travel agent, and inexpensively. Call it “Travel on Demand“.
In a recent interview I had with John Golicz, CEO of Travel & Adventure Show / Editor of 1000traveltips.com, he shares the Top 6 Travel Apps everyone should have.
“Back then when people in college went backpacking in Europe – they went on a whim and hoped they had some of mom and dad’s money, traveler check and went off. Mobile is now changing everything, flexibility when you want it.”
1. Hotel Tonight – On booking hotels/accommodations.
“Amazing last-minute deals at top-rated hotels, from tonight to seven days out”
App that can be used in any major city in the world where you can show up unannounced. Your phone will know your preference, and shows a list of hotels with rooms left at a significantly lower price and to your preference – such as pillows you like, etc. This way you don’t have to worry about booking way ahead of time and are flexible with your schedule.
I usually book the first night at the location I’m traveling to, and decide how many more days I’ll stay once I’m there depending on how fun/interesting my experience is. With this app, you don’t have to worry about not finding a hotel, or struggling with expensive hotel prices.
“People are preferential on what hotel they want to stay at, for Americans especially it’s harder. They go to Europe but are use to American bathrooms and don’t like it. This app will be able to narrow down your specific preferences.” – John Golicz
2. Uber – On getting around town.
“Catch a ride when we get there. You don’t have to worry about renting a car or parking fees.” No need to exchange money as your preferred credit card information is entered when you first register. This is especially convenient in a different country and you won’t have to worry about running out of the foreign currency.
3. Skyscanner – On booking flights.
Best site to look up flights, scan airlines on where to go, best flight times, ranking in cost/departure time/number of stops. You can book right there, use frequent flier miles and also separate inbound and outbound options, as well as different one way flights that may make more sense. Mobile boarding pass.
4. Rick Steves Audio Tour for Europe – On getting a tour in a new city.
The most organized guidebook/information for any traveller going to Europe, grab Rick Steve’s App which includes history, photos, maps that take you through the city. “It’s free, informative, drills down to details, best spots, ceremonies, photo taking issues, food, restaurants.”
The European economy’s not doing as well. As a result, the Euro is down 10-12% this year which is almost on par with the Dollar, it’s the best time to travel to Europe as an American. You can find high end hotels in Europe, with rates in the capital cheaper than the States.
“I highly recommend when arriving in any city to take a 3-4 hour walking Tour – see the highlights, acclimate to the surrounding, and take public transportation via busses, metro. Best way is to find a local to take you.”
5. Opentable – On Restaurant Reservations.
Restaurant reservation site and app which is easier than using a hotel concierge. You can find rating of restaurant from fellow foodies, gps to find a location near you, star rating, décor, and as a bonus, you can also build up points for a gift certificate, ie: 2500 points = 25$ gift certificate.
Airline Apps have been approving significantly and is a great way to organize your flights. Alerts come to you on your phone such as flight delays, gate change, baggage tracking and view frequent flier miles. You can also book and change flights.
6. Personal Data Vault – On Organizing Documents & Safety.
Safely organize, sync and use all of your info through “Cloud Sync”. Take a picture of your passport, credit card, license. “Personal Data Vault” encrypts and stores your photos, documents, key bank account info, credit cards, passport, frequent flier number, TSA program, medical records, so even if you lose phone and everything, anywhere with an internet connection, you can still access it through a cloud, and overall, it secures well.
You can also keep any every day information such as Attorney/Doctor phone number, prescription, as it’s not just a travel app, but every day use.
John Golicz not only knows the travel industry inside and out, he actually influences how people travel. In fact, the series of travel trade shows he created, The Travel & Adventure Show Series, attracts over 130,000 people annually and is the largest series of travel shows in the United States, appearing in seven major cities each year. As founder and CEO of Connecticut-based Unicomm, he and his team create a three-dimensional experience to educate and inspire travel enthusiasts to find, plan, book and take the trip of a lifetime.
Always staying on top of industry trends, John routinely takes meetings with Ministers of Tourism, tourism officers, and travel directors from around the world. Through his extensive experience and Unicomm’s tireless marketing research, which includes surveying over 400k American travelers to date, his knowledge and insights regarding consumer travel can only be matched by a handful of travel & tourism experts.
Before Unicomm, John spent many years producing technology trade shows, building an impressive portfolio which would become the #1 new trade show launch of the ‘90s. An entrepreneur and an avid traveler, John leveraged his trade show success to create The Travel & Adventure Shows, filling a void in the travel industry.
The show, now in its 13th year, gives travel enthusiasts the chance to dream, plan, and book trips with inside local information from thousands of experts that man the booths at the events.
The first show launched in January 2004 in New York City with attendance topping 26,000. After 60 shows and over 1 million attendees to date, Golicz and his company have influenced over $2.6 billion in travel decisions.
John resides in Madison, CT with his wife, Julie, with whom he has three grown children. He is active on local town boards and has coached youth football, baseball and basketball for 21 years. He enjoys boating, off-shore fishing, golfing and, of course, travel.