Holiday Travel Tip #4: Get Half-priced Hotels
On an average night, hotels have empty rooms they want to fill. And they’re willing to drop their prices by as much as 70% to do it.
Most travelers never see these prices. But there’s a new smart phone app called Hotel Tonight that can help you find them. Open the app and it’ll detail all the closest discounts.
Hotel Tonight is great for last-minute bookings and it’s also great for finding hotels on the fly should you need to extend your stay because of flight cancellations or make a pit stop on the road because you’re tired of driving.
Extra Tip: Use the promo code TONIGHT when you sign up, and you’ll also get $25 towards your first stay.
And here are some other handy travel apps for smart phones:
** 1. TRIPIT
Email all of your trip itineraries and booking confirmations straight from your hotel, flight, rental car, or other travel sites to Tripit.com. Tripit puts everything together in one main itinerary. From there, you can access all of your confirmation numbers, flight times, hotel addresses, etc. — and share them with your travel partners, too.
If you sign up for Tripit Pro, it’ll also automatically notify you of delays and updates, help you track air miles, and more. Works on the web and with iPhone or BlackBerry.
** 2. MAPSWITHME
When you’re traveling abroad, you may not have mobile service… and therefore not be able to access your normal phone maps. But MapsWithMe lets you download maps to your phone. Usually, you can still use your GPS even when you’re not connected to mobile service… so you can still locate where you are on a map.
** 3. SKYPE
With Skype on your smart phone, you can make free calls to other Skype members using your Wi-Fi connection. You can also dial internationally for super-cheap prices. From Skype member to Skype member, both local and international calls are free.
** 4. SLEEP CYCLE ALARM CLOCK
Using your phone’s accelerometer (motion sensor), Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock records your movement when you sleep to determine your sleep cycles. It knows exactly when you should wake up to feel the most rested, and wakes you up at precisely that moment. You can try it to get over jet lag, perhaps. Or to wake up more rested early in the morning to do some writing or head out to take photos. It gets rave reviews.
** 5. HEARPLANET
These days, a plain old guidebook falls short. Instead, open the HearPlanet app on your smart phone, and it senses where you are, finds nearby attractions for you, and even plays Wikipedia descriptions of places out loud.
** 6. FLASHLIGHT
Navigating cobblestone streets in Europe after dusk? Can’t read your menu in the dimly lit restaurant? Need to find something in the bottom of your suitcase? Don’t get stuck in the dark. This free app saves the day (or night) in all of those situations plus many more.
** 7. AROUNDME
This app will let you sort by category — pharmacy, movie theater, café, ATM, restaurant — and will then pull up those places closest to you on a map. Click through for walking directions and you’ll always be heading in the right direction, no matter where in the world you are.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]