Anyone who has ever traveled with their best friends knows that group travel can be 5x the fun whether you’re hopping around a new city, road tripping across the US, or setting your sights abroad. But coordinating group travel can also be 5x the headache without the help of a few handy apps. You’ve now got more opinions and ideas with group trip planning, which can be a good thing, but you definitely need a way to organize it all and keep the days ahead flowing smoothly.
If you are someone who revels in the title, fame, and admiration of being crowned the Group Travel Guru, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite apps to make your job a little easier:
For Booking Flights (the Savvy Way) – Skiplagged
Expensive flights can be the reason many awesome group trips never take off. Here’s where Skiplagged comes into play – dubbed “the smart way to find cheap flights”. Skiplagged will have you looking at layovers as a blessing rather than a nuisance.
Skiplagged is built on a unique concept with the realization that many flights have various layovers before you reach your final destination. For example: Let’s say you want to fly LA to Denver, and a traditional flight search tells you the average one-way flight is $360. If you pop those destinations into Skiplagged, however, the app shows you all the possible flight combinations that include those two cities, as well as OTHER flights that have a convenient layover (wink).
This means that you might see a flight from LA to Chicago that’s a steal for $200 with a layover in Denver. You can then book the LA to Chicago ticket and hop off at your desired destination, Denver, for a fraction of the price if you would have booked LA to Denver. (Ahem, prepare for your group to thank you.) Just remember that you won’t be able to check any luggage, it has to be carry-on only, otherwise you and your luggage will most certainly end up in two different cities.
There’s one small risk though: When flights get canceled for unexpected reasons, like inclement weather, airlines are going to want to rebook you for a flight to your supposed “final” destination and may send you via a different hub, i.e., your layover and “real” destination may no longer be an option. If you fly with an airline that refunds tickets in full, you’ll likely be able to get your money back, but either way, it’s a small chance to take with potentially a big payoff (in savings).
For Organizing the Details – Guestboard
As the Group Travel Guru, once you’ve found the perfect flight, you need a place to share flight information as well as the rest of the details that go into group travel planning.
Instead of planning over a massive group text or email chain, Guestboard is a centralized platform that lets you organize different topics into various threads, keeping everything neat, organized, and all in one place—perfect for group travel. You can build your itinerary, share important resources, or even activate the Interactive Checklist feature to build a group packing list.
Simply send a customized link invitation to each member of your crew, and they’ll be able to join and collaborate on the group travel planning. Piece of cake.
Bonus: For finding a cheap place to stay, turn on the free “Accommodations” widget in Guestboard to see a map view of all hotels and Airbnbs (along with their prices) in the place you’re traveling to.
For Saying Hello – Google Translate
Traveling to locations where the spoken language is different than your own is an exciting part of traveling. It feels like you’re in a whole new world and experiencing things again for the first time. With that being said, it’s definitely helpful to be able to translate train signs, restaurant menus, or even chat with a local.
The Google Translate app has opened up the world of communication. It can translate text between 103 languages, translate images (like pictures of directions or menus) in 38 languages, and translate bilingual conversations on the fly.
In addition, many of the languages can be translated with no internet connection, meaning no expensive data charges. To ensure you’re not the sole translator, encourage the app to be downloaded by the entire group. Travel suddenly becomes so much easier.
For Finding Local Eats – Zomato
Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon) is a handy app for finding the best local eats when you’re in a new city. The interface is incredibly easy to navigate and clearly shows a restaurant’s local eats rating. If you tap on the restaurant for a closer look, you’re able to see samples of the menu as well as their prices, photos that give an idea of the ambiance, the average cost per meal, whether they accept card or cash, as well as reviews from other eaters.
This app can be used in the moment by accessing your current location, or you can search other cities before you travel and plan ahead, perfect for group trip planning.
One issue we always have when looking through dozens of restaurant listings is going back to one you finally settle on. Luckily, with Zomato you can also create your own private (or public) “collections” of places you’ve marked that you want to try.
For Connecting – Wifi Finder
Traveling is a great time to relax, get in touch with your inner self, and go off the grid for a while. But sometimes you just need a quick internet connection that doesn’t result in astronomical data charges to figure out where you’re at or let mom know you’re still alive.
Wifi Finder (iOS and Android), as well as Wifi Map are both free apps that do exactly what the name implies. With more than 2 million hotspots across the world, they will not only help you find nearby wifi hotspots, but will also automatically share with you the password of the café, restaurant, or museum, etc. if it is password protected.
This app is especially useful for traveling professionals (like photographers, bloggers, etc.) who need a stable internet connection to upload files or make video calls– both of which would be difficult (and expensive!) on a standard international roaming plan.
Ready to plan your next trip?
Traveling as a big group requires a lot of organization and communication. Ready to start organizing YOUR trip? Click here to set up your own Guestboard and get everyone on the same page!