Rick Steves Recommends These Apps To Help Plan And Manage Your Trip's Itinerary

Over-planners, rejoice! Nowadays, it's easier than ever to put together the perfect trip — all from the comfort of your smartphone. Whether it's booking flights, finding your accommodation, securing transportation, or even knowing where to go for a mouthwatering local feast, there are tons of mobile apps on the market designed to make vacation planning more enjoyable, straightforward, and effortless.

According to travel expert Rick Steves, there's a handy group of apps that will help you stay on top of everything you need while traveling — and still ensure you make the most of your travel experience while you're at it.

Keep in mind, though, that most of these apps will require an internet connection or your mobile data to work with your phone overseas. That said, make sure you plan accordingly by either purchasing a local SIM card with an active data plan or hopping online through the public Wi-Fi networks that are available in most parks, restaurants, and libraries. This way, you'll ensure you're always connected and ready to access your travel resources whenever you need them.

Preparing for your trip

Rick Steves notes on his website that dedicated travel booking apps — think Booking.com, Expedia, Kayak, or Priceline — are some of the best travel apps to download and keep handy throughout your trip. Not only are these free to download, but they also have pretty much everything you need in one place. Need to find a hotel? They'll show you properties that are currently available. Looking to book a flight? Choose your departure and return dates, along with your destination, and the app will display available flights across dozens of airlines. Want to make sure you have a car as soon as you land? They'll help you find the right one for your needs.

Alternatively, dedicated air travel apps like Skyscanner and Hopper are also powerful tools if you're looking to snag the perfect deal on flights. These apps help you keep track of flight prices — Hopper even allows you to set up notifications for when prices dip — so you can get the best deals before they're gone. And if you're set on traveling with a specific airline — which is especially great if you're looking to rack up those precious airline miles — you'll also be happy to know that most airlines nowadays have their own dedicated app that'll let you buy flights, check-in, and keep track of any itinerary changes in one place.

Keeping track of your trip

As for planning the perfect travel itinerary, Rick Steves recommends that travelers download apps like TripIt that take the guesswork out of where you need to be and when. How does it work? Simply email your hotel bookings and flight reservations to TripIt, and the service will put together a destination-specific itinerary with flight times, reservation codes, and hotel details that'll make sure you don't miss a beat while you're on the road. This means no more scouring through your screenshots, dealing with an overflowing email inbox, or setting dozens of calendar reminders that it's time to check out. With the help of TripIt, it's basically like having a personal travel agent in your pocket guiding you through your time away.

Then, there's the ever-lingering question of what to actually do once you land. For this, Steves recommends apps like TripAdvisor and Yelp. While the latter might not work that well outside of the United States, TripAdvisor is a global platform with millions of monthly users worldwide contributing reviews and ratings of restaurants and various tourist attractions. A treasure trove of information built on customer feedback, TripAdvisor can be incredibly helpful for putting together a plan once you're actually on the ground. With its help, you can explore new places with confidence, knowing you're getting tried and tested recommendations.