Our household is currently dealing with a serious case of Wanderlust. As with most people, the struggle is real and we’re having to take a really close look into our budget to see how far our money can take us, literally. I married a dreamer, and he a planner – which to most would seem like the ideal scenario for moments like this. And for all intensive purposes, I imagine it is ideal. But as said planner, being tasked with the challenge of taking us around the world for a year, while we both work full-time and have pets and a new car payment, or sell all of our possessions and caravan around the country, that’s a tough one.
Thankfully, el Senor internet has some great travel apps and sites to keep those creative Wanderlust juices flowing and encourage some more realistic thinking, and planning, when it comes time to choosing destinations and trips. Below you’ll find some of our favorite apps and a short ‘bucket’ list of places we’d like to visit in the near future.
Favorite Apps & Travel Websites
Lola Travel (New!)
Google Flights (Search & Book flights)
Orbitz (Book Flights)
Hopper App (Search & Track Flight Prices)
TripAdvisor (forums & city guides)
Kayak (car rentals)
Yelp (foodie finder)
Destination Short List
NYC (Booked for December 2016)
Working with these destinations in mind, the Hopper app allows you to track or ‘watch’ the flights to these destinations, and will alert you if the time is right to buy, or if you should wait a bit more. You can purchase through Hopper, or, I like to check out Google Flights, plug in the dates, find my flights and either book there or through my trusty Orbitz. With all of the booking sites out there (Kayak, Expedia, Priceline), Orbitz is my go-to. It may only save me a few cents, and perhaps I’m loyal because all of my info is saved for me, my husband, my mom and grandmother, but that’s typically where I end up purchasing flights.
Once you’ve booked the flight, it feels like the easy part is over. Now comes the task of finding a place to stay, in a fun, desirable neighborhood, walkable distances from fantastic sights and food. That’s where AirBnB comes in. I’m fairly certain that the last time I booked a hotel it was for a work trip, to Boston, in January (brrr). And it was through Orbitz. Otherwise, AirBnB hasn’t let me down yet. Cape May, NJ, New Orleans, San Diego, Austin, TX, to name a few.
For food, I’m a loyalist to Yelp. I know people say there are paid reviewers for Yelp, and therefore the credibility of star ratings and such is skewed, but with just a bit of digging, you can spot the legit reviews from honest folks, and be aware of what is important for your dining experience. Are you one for fantastic service over interesting dishes and craft cocktails? Or are you satisfied with an old-school Old Fashion served by a smart-ass bartender, as long as the ambiance is good and they have live music on Tuesdays. It’s your choice people, just look it up. I for one would rather a fantastic meal in the hole-in-the wall spot that the locals recommended than pay $60 per person for small plates and a margarita from a James Beard awarded chef. Fine for special occasions or the one splurge meal during the trip, but remember that budget I harped on earlier? What would Dave Ramsey do?
The rest is up to you. Activities, sights, tours (paid and unpaid), shows, historical landmarks. I’m always good for one main activity of the day and then see where the day takes us otherwise. TripAdvisor forums and city guides are great for this. I wish I was a good Grouponer, and thankfully I have travel buddies who will take the time to troll local deals, but I’m just not inclined to spend that time. It’s like clipping coupons to me, some people are great at it and save loads of money, while the rest of us go, ‘Wait, there was a coupon for this?’
My goal here is to share, from this point on, our itineraries and fav spots for our upcoming trips, so keep an eye out as we tackle this looming Wanderlust. Share in the comments section below on your favorite travel apps, destinations and recommendations for places to find a great Sunday Brunch!
Ciao for now!