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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

7 Money-Saving Vacay Apps

By Tanni Haas

Traveling in the summer can be very expensive, especially if you have a large family. Thankfully, there are many apps that can save you tons of money, whether you’re planning a fancy vacation abroad or a more modest road trip. Most people know about apps for Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Uber. But there are many other great travel apps. Here’s a list of some of the very best ones. They are all free, so download them before your next trip.

BestParking Apple App Store & Google Play. Road trips can be great fun but not when you can’t find a convenient and inexpensive place to park the car. BestParking helps you find the right spot wherever you travel throughout North America. Indicate where you’d like to park and for how long, and the app generates a list of available spots and rates for the nearest lots and garages. You can search by address, landmarks or sites, or by neighborhood.

Dayuse Apple App Store & Google Play. Sometimes after a long flight or day in the car you need a place to rest or regroup for a few hours. When that happens, Dayuse comes in handy. This app lets you search, book, and pay for hotel rooms for short stays. The cost can be up to 75 percent less than if you’d reserved a regular hotel room for the night. The app is available in Asia, Europe, and North America.

GasBuddy Apple App Store & Google Play On a road trip, you don’t just need convenient and inexpensive places to park the car, but you also need lots of gas. GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas at the nearest station. 

Rome2rio Apple App Store & Google Play. Whether you’re planning a domestic trip or a vacation abroad, there will be times when you can get to your destination in different ways. Rome2rio lets you compare different modes of transportation (bus, car, ferry, flight, train) and find the fastest and most inexpensive solution. All you have to do is to enter your location and ultimate destination, and the app will generate and compare all travel options. This app is available worldwide.

Transit Apple App Store & Google Play. If you want to save even more money on transportation costs, consider using public transportation whenever possible. For that, download Transit. This app saves you both money and time by letting you pull together departure times for all nearby buses and trains so you don’t have to look through individual schedules one at a time. Enter your desired destination, and the app displays all public transportation options as well as fares.

Turo Apple App Store & Google Play. If you need a car but don’t feel like renting one from one of the many, well-known car rental companies, consider getting one from Turo. Much like Airbnb for accommodations, this is a peer-to-peer car rental app, which lets you rent cars directly from other car owners. You can expect to pay about 35 percent less than if you rented a car from a commercial rental company. The app is available in Europe and North America.

WiFi Finder Apple App Store & Google Play. Whether you’re traveling at home or abroad, using your cell phone when Wi-Fi isn’t available can be very expensive, with high roaming charges. Get Wi-Fi Finder. Even if you’re not being charged extra for roaming on your phone, this app comes in handy—it helps you find places where you can use your tablet or laptop computer free of charge.  

Tanni Haas, PhD, is a college communications professor.