I like to think of myself as a bit of a holiday booking expert. I’ve been ‘in charge’ of bookings for several years because I organised my whole gap year myself (as I travelled alone) and since Paul and I have been together I seem to have taken the lead on the organising front! I love booking trips myself; I’m not really a fan of using travel agents or holiday companies. For me, there is a real thrill in searching, researching and planning elements of a trip. Whether it be a simple flight and apartment holiday or a multi-destination trip like our honeymoon to Thailand (coming soon!) I find it’s more satisfying to self-organise and you are more likely to find hidden, off the beaten track gems that way.
Plus, booking an entire trip yourself now is so easy. Truly. I now do most of it from my phone! There are some amazing apps on the market which you can use to help you book the best holiday ever. Here are six of my must-haves for making the process stress free and fun- and they’re all free!
LONELY PLANET GUIDES
I love the lonely planet guide books and still have a few of the paper versions at home, but who needs a guide book when you can have the same information at your fingertips! No, I agree, there is still magic in thumbing through a guidebook when your exploring, but to get quick access to advice and must-sees, as well as the off-the-tourist-trail recommendations and ‘Top 10’s’ that Lonely Planet are so famous for, the this app is really helpful.
The ultimate villa booking app and my new favourite.. They only deal in villas and apartments so if you are looking for an all inclusive then this isn’t for you. I, however, love having the ‘whole place’ for my holidays and staying in a villa with no one else about is dreamy. The app is user friendly and easy to book and converse with villa owners. They have literally every type of villa rental you can imagine ranging from budget, studio beach huts to luxury cribs in Ibiza. Even if your not planning a holiday, its fun to look up what you might rent one day when that lottery win comes in…
The old favourite. But you can’t beat it! I am an avid reviewer and I’m always amazed by how many people read them (I wish my blog got that many hits!). Written by travellers for other travellers based on first hand experience. I love the idea that customers took things into their own hands and want to give their genuine honest opinion in order to help and advise others. Take it with pinch of salt, one mans trash is another’s treasure, but I always use Trip Adviser to check hotels and trips before booking.
BOOKING.YEAH. I literally can’t help it. I love this app! It’s so easy, virtually every hotel, motel, hostel and apartment complex in the world is on here. They have budget, luxury, boutique, half board, self catering, all inclusive, adults only, child friendly, sporty, relaxing literally EVERYTHING you can possibly imagine. And the best thing is you can filter all the results by any of these parameters and more or any combination to find exactly what you want. Also, quite often you don’t have to pay until you arrive just putting card details as a deposit which is awesome if you are waiting for payday. Which I am most of the time.
I’ve bunched these because I prefer the overall comparison apps like cheap flights, to view all the different airlines on offer for your dates, but having the apps for the specific airlines is helpful too , particularly if you know which ones you use. I personally usually fly with easyjet and their app is great because you can view your upcoming flights, check in and even get your boarding pass on your phone. I know ryan air and other airlines have the same.
I don’t have loads of experience with Air BnB and have never used it abroad but I have friends who totally love it so I plan to use it for my next trip. It basically involves renting someones home for a few nights, whenever they are out of town and therefore it’s available. There are various security, deposit and checks in place to protect both parties and I know lots of people who have used it successfully. Very successfully in fact, several of them have ended up paying very reasonable prices for gorgeous apartments in the middle of cities or in fantastic locations. if you know what you’re looking for and you fancy something a bit different, this is the one for you.
For posts about my previous trips and adventures you can click here.