8 Cool Travel Tools (Add to my list please!)

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I am not the most tech-y person under the sun, but this hobby (and blogging, honestly) has given me exposure to some tools that may be useful for all of you as well.

Some of these tools are handy for travel and some of them are handy for this miles & points hobby, but for each one I’ll give a little blurb as to why I think its neat, and why you might like it too.

Apps

1.) UnitsPlus

UnitPlus is a handy little app for conversions.  My friend tries to keep up his cross-fit routines as he travels, but obviously some gyms use different forms of measurement.  This app would be perfect for him.

But it’s also just handy to get an idea of what a currency conversion is in a given country.

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2.) TextMe

We’ve talked about TextMe before but I’ll mention it here again.  We like this app more because we like having free texting than because of it being an awesome app or anything.  What I mean to say is, this app can be a little bit buggy sometimes, but I’ve tried a lot of different free texting apps and so far this one still wins out as being less “spammy” with promotional texts and stuff.  Plus, a lot of the apps that advertise themselves as message apps only allow you to message other app users.

This one actually lets you text phones and assigns a unique phone number to you.

3.) Skype

I feel like this one doesn’t need much explanation.  We pay for a Skype phone number, but even on its own Skype would be great because so many people have Skype now.  So even without the call-to-a-phone ability it’s great just to be able to see my nephews!  They’re too young to have much attention for a phone call but when I Skype them, they genuinely get excited to see me. 🙂

Ignore my goofy face.  Just…ok…this photo is illustrating my nephew smiling at the ability to use Skype.  That is all.  Move along.

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We’re really not as super up-to-date when it comes to apps or I’d have more to share.  Plus we don’t have 4g or 3g or anything like that.  We just use our iPhones on wifi so we don’t go gaga over apps because half of them wouldn’t be usable outside the hotel anyway.

So here are the websites that I find really useful, either for travel in general or for this miles and points hobby.

Websites

1.) Award Mapper: 

This resource does a fairly good job of showing you what hotels exist in an area that can be acquired with points.  If you only collect hotel points with 1 brand, it’s not going to be all that useful but if you are planning a trip to a certain location and are trying to decide to whom you’ll transfer bank points or with whom to collect points in preparation, this is great.

Not 100% accurate apparently, but it will give you a good general idea.  For instance we are planning on going back to Kiev sometime this winter. This website gives me a nice little idea of which points I should be collecting.

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2.) GCmap.com: 

We use this site all the time to illustrate flights in the blog, but it’s also extremely useful when you want to estimate the price of any distance-based program.  For instance if we want to know about how many British Airways Avios a trip will cost us, this site lets you plug in the airport codes and see the actual flown mileage of the trip.  If you click the link provided, you can read more about that.

4.) Travel.state.gov’s required travel documents search engine:

Any time I am unsure about the vaccination or visa requirements of a country, this is my go-to resource.  There I can find out how many passport pages I’ll need empty, if there are restrictions as to countries visited previously, what kind of visa I can get, etc etc.

5.) Kayak.com

Kayak is useful for a number of things, but one of the most notable ones is its ability to make BRG’s a bit easier.  This Complete Guide to Hotel Best Rate Guarantees will tell you a bit more about that.  Basically it has a feature that allows you to search by hotel brand.  This helps speed up your search for a rivaling rate for a specific hotel.

Also, it’s just a pretty solid search aggregator when it comes to showing you the lowest prices.

Bonus: Travel Blogs

Since we’re on the topic of recommended apps and websites, might as well throw out a few unique travel blogs that I’ve come across and would love sharing.

1.) The Hitchhike Interviews

This guy is my friend, but I also genuinely like the project he’s working on.  The concept is pretty much explained in his title- he’s hitchhiking around the country interviewing those who pick him up.  Which is fascinating.

Would you pick up a hitchhiker?  Why or why not?

2.) TravelBloggerBuzz

I read this blog because of the great entertainment value.  It’s basically a website that overviews the various things going on in the miles and points blogosphere as well as in the hobby itself.  It is genuinely interesting to read not only what TBB himself has to say, but what his readers have to say.  Plus, I think it’s a great example of what community can look like on the internet.  It’s neat to know that e-community is possible!

 

Back to the tech-y stuff.

Now, like I said, I’m not that tech-y, so I’d love to hear any suggestions anyone else out there has for websites, web tools, or apps that help travelers and miles and points collectors.

Let’s hear em!

Peace,

Carrie

2 Comments on “8 Cool Travel Tools (Add to my list please!)

  1. What about WhatsApp for texting? Hands down the best you can have…especially since everyone else in the world aside from Americans use it.

    • Looks like a pretty good option for someone with a phone plan (as it uses your ordinary phone’s SMS number) but we don’t have a phone plan so we don’t have any phone number to provide it. (And I can’t seem to get things like this to work with other phone numbers I’ve been assigned via other apps).

      Also it looks like it still has most of its benefits in WhatsApp user to WhatsApp user. But A lot of the people I text, I have no idea whether or not they even have iPhones and the ability to get apps. So for me, an app that sends texts to a phone number and appears to come from a phone number (despite my iPhone having no phone number) is ideal.

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