Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Making Travel Arrangements in the Digital Age

Planning a trip can be both exciting and stressful. On the one hand, you might be traveling to some place new, but traveling can come with complications like budgeting and arranging for things at home to be cared for while you’re gone. The good news, though, is that traveling and making travel plans is so much easier with technology. Travel agents still exist and can play an important role, but many of us now have the option of choosing to plan on our own.

This past month, I learned that I would be traveling back east for a wedding. Step one: find plane tickets. This can be easier said than done, but with a few apps, the choices can be less overwhelming. My favorite travel app that I have on my iPhone is “Kayak.” This app allows me to not only look up flights, hotels, car rentals, and more, but I can also book my travel plans in the same app. For me, the only downside to the app is that Southwest flights aren’t included. But if you don’t use that airline, Kayak is the way to go.

Once you have your flight, step two might be booking a hotel. As I mentioned, this can be done with Kayak, but I also really like Hotels.com. Their app is very accessible and when you’re going somewhere new, having access to all of your hotel options can be very important. It is important to note that if you choose to book hotels through an app, you may get charged at the time of your booking (I found that out the hard way). The nice thing about doing it in advance, though, is that you can just give the hotel their key back and be on your way when it’s time to go. It also means that a good part of your trip is already paid for before you travel.

Finally, comes the not so fun part of traveling–packing. There are numerous apps on the market that can help with making packing lists. My favorite is called “Pack the Bag.” It’s easy to set up a new packing list or just modify one you’ve created before. Then you simply go through the list after you’ve packed and check everything that you’ve tossed in your suitcase. This app has prevented me from forgetting crucial items before, so it’s worth it.

If you have favorite travel apps or travel tips, please share them in the Reader’s Forum.

Happy Travels!

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