4 Ways to Plan Your Trip Faster and Cheaper

Social Sharing Image, Asheville Connections, Asheville, NC, 2015, 5 Traveling AppsSo much to do, so little time 

We've entered a new age of evolution in the efficacy of humanity. We've survived stone, bronze, copper, dark and even space ages and now we are entering the Age of Technology. Gone are the clumsy tools that required almost as much work to use as they were saving; we are now surrounded by sleek machines that work faster than anything our forerunners could have dreamed of (and at smaller sizes). In fact, we're nearly overrun with it, every time we turn around there seem to be new updates and more devices. It can be completely overwhelming, or you can harness it and make it work for you. There are apps for every stage of your trip and you can use them as prominently or as sparingly as you want. After all, saving energy and keeping everyone on the same page is the ultimate goal for most people going on vacation, So, even if you're taking a break from technology while you're being reinvigorated by our mountain views and air, you can make it work for you during the packing and planning process before you leave.

1. Getting Ready Packing App, Asheville Connections, Asheville, NC, 2015

Packing can be a massive headache, especially if you're busy herding distractable children and spouse in addition to packing your own bags. Before you know it, you're at your vacation and you completely forgot those new hiking boots you bought for this trip or toothbrushes for everyone or that really great groupon (which also has an app) your were going to use for dinner later this week. It's frustrating for everyone and we've all found ourselves in that boat - but no more.
Packing Pro
(iOS only, 2.99)
is a comprehensive planning app that will help you remember everything from your favorite shirt to your plans for your trip! Though it comes at a slight cost, if you're the person who is constantly making lists for your own suitcase as well as coordinating with a group, it can be well worth it! It comes with templates for all the lists you need to make as well as the option for you to personalize your own template, and the same feature with lists (suggests lists for various types of trips and people going and the option to make your own). It also has an option for different categories for each trip, so you can have all your information for packing, traveling and planning all in one app. Probably one of the most used feature is that it is completely sharable - making it perfect for family reunions or trips with a large group.

2. ETA is....

If packing is a headache, getting a group or family through the airport can be a nightmare. However, fortunately there are a couple apps for that as well.
(Andriod, iOS, Kidle Fire, Windows Phone and Web, Free Version or Kayak Pro .99)
Kayak brings cheap flight, easy payment and flight info directly to you! If (like most people) you find that there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, this is a great app for you. You can compare different airlines and flight times to get the best deal on your tickets and even pay directly from the app. You can also use the app to keep track of your ticket information as you get ready and head to the airport or even rent a car for when you land in Asheville!
Gate Guru
Airport Into Lite
(Android and iOS, Free w/ one in-app purchase 1.99)
Once upon a time a girl trying desperately to get to her best friend's graduation ran like a maniac through the airport. When she finally got to the correct gate she realized she had read her ticket wrong and had two hours to fill and no idea what to do with them. Then that girl finished growing up and became a blogger. Fortunately, you don't have to repeat my mistakes and sit for two hours at the gate you will eventually depart from, finish your book and stare awkwardly at the walls and strangers. Airport Info Lite offers information about what is in and around the airport. So, regardless of if your friend had an emergency come up, or you just can't seem to read your tickets right, you can find anything you need from car rentals, to shopping, to somewhere good to eat in the airport. With the in-app purchase you can also keep tabs on your flight info with real-time updates!
Both of these apps are geared towards flights, but there's more than one way to travel. If you're bringing your family to Asheville with a road trip, check out our blog post with fun games and other ways of passing time in the car!

3. While You're Here

I talk about the importance of planning at least a couple highlights into your trip ahead of time on a regular basis. I also acknowledge that this can be tricky, since you don't typically live where you're visiting, so you don't always know the best things to do and places to go. We try to remedy that by posting pieces keeping you up to date on the more significant going's on of Asheville, but we can't possibly tell you about everything happening here! And as those who love to travel can attest, it's the "hole in the wall" kind of places that have the best food and atmosphere. Well, thanks to the apps below, you won't be at the mercy of searching, finding and reading a blog post to find something to do.
(iOS only, Free)
TripAdvisor provides you with an easy offline, guide to pretty much wherever you are. Looking for food, shopping, something to do, or just need to know where you are? Look no further, this is a great app with a four and a half star rating in the apple app store. This app also offers the same advantage as the website with other user review and ratings for anything you're curious about. 
(Android, iOS, Free w/ in-app purchase for offline maps)
This app is great for waking up in the morning and deciding what you want to that day (or week) and planning it out. You can put your itinerary together with the benefit of seeing exactly how far everything is to each other and having a realistic idea of what you can do each day. The downside of this app is that you do have to pay for offline maps, so unless you love this app, it may not be as ideal for taking it on the go as it is for planning where to go.
(Android, iOS, Free)
I know what you're thinking, "This is all really nice, but the title said cheaper and that's what I'm trying to get to here," well, scan no farther! Viator is a great app that will not only help you put together your plans for your trip but show you all the deals and specials that are available! This is the perfect app for large groups or people who want to stick to a budget. Not only can you see where you'll be when, but you can know exactly how much it will cost, and more importantly, exactly how much you saved!

4. A Hot Plate of Asheville

Finally, we are at everyone's favorite subject and, according to my brothers, the most important part of life. Food!
(Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, iOS and web, Free)
Open Table is a great app to take on the go with you in a new city (or really anywhere you eat); it brings the convenience of online reservations with you no matter where you are! You can see what restaurants are in the area, reviews, photos, the menu and in addition to receiving a confirmation notification upon reservation, you also can earn points through the app towards more great food!
Food Network on the Road
(Android, iOS, Free)
This app helps you find local restaurants that have been features on Food Network's shows! This is a really cool app to take with you, not only to Asheville, but everywhere with you to help you find the coolest, and sometimes hard to find, places that are totally worth it!
Technology can be difficult and stubborn, but it can also, help you take a day from disappointing to unforgettable! Fortunately, as frustrating as it can be, we're either already in the Matrix, or smart enough to stop it from happening.

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