Not long ago, planning a vacation meant getting out the trusty atlas or an Encyclopedia Britannica and looking for interesting places to go, and the highways and byways that would get you there. Then, once you arrived at your location, you’d pick up some brochures in the motel lobby about local attractions and things to do.
These days, planning and enjoying a vacation is now easier than ever, thanks to some pretty amazing technological tools. From apps to websites and more, there are plenty of resources we can use to plan our getaway, all from our tablets, laptops or smartphones. Consider the following:
Before you hit the road or fly the skies, you’ll need to decide where you and your family are going. Travel and Leisure is an excellent website used by vacation planners; just click on the Trip Ideas tab, and a menu will pop up with all sorts of categories, including family vacations, luxury vacations, cruises, beach getaways and more. The website provides vacationers with plenty of inspiration and ideas of places they can go. Once you figure that out, a site like Trip Advisor will help you decide where you can stay. In addition to providing helpful reviews of various hotels, restaurants and things to do, the site also includes rate and reservation information and much more.
If you are flying to your vacation destination, sites like Hipmunk are super handy—not only does the site allow you to do the usual-yet-helpful things like compare and contrast various airfare prices and times, but it also lets you know if your particular flight has on-board WiFi. If you are flying with kiddos who want to use their tablets while on board—or if you do too—knowing ahead of time if WiFi is an option is super helpful. Finally, to help you find a nice place to stay at a price that won’t break the bank, check out a website like HotelCoupons.com; the site features information on hotel savings and deals as well as low prices on accommodations.
As BeWebSmart notes once you arrive at your destination, there are myriad of apps and other tech tools to help you have the best time possible on your vacation. Spend a bit of time researching your destination online, and bookmark various URLs that will be helpful during your stay. For example, if you and your family are headed to Wisconsin Dells for some fun and exciting times at amusement and water parks, Dells.com will provide you with way more event information, photos, coupons and more. Likewise, visitflorida.com’s beach finder tools allows you to pinpoint a desired beach and plan out activities. These resources will provide more detailed and specific information than generic databases.
If you will be driving during your vacation, Google Maps is a simple yet crucial tech tool to have; in addition to saving locations on the map, you can use a Google Maps app to check the various maps you have saved. Utilize the walking and biking directions when in an unfamiliar city. Another handy app to have on hand—or on phone, as the case may be—is called Rest Area Finder. When nature calls while on the open road, you can figure out how many more miles you have to go before the nearest rest stop.