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Every one of us wants to take a vacation and travel the world, only to have the circumstances of daily life put a spanner in the works. But what if there were a few tools that solved these problems? Let’s make a travel decision and find out where to go next.
All of these apps assume you’re a normal person with a regular routine. They’re meant for those who haven’t mastered travel hacking or other skills to travel more. If you’re already a pro at those, these won’t help you much.
1. Wander (Web): Set Your Budget, Find Where to Go
You know how much money you can spend on your travel and accommodation. Set that budget in Wander, along with your travel dates, and it will instantly spit out the best deals for you within that amount. And these are likely to be as good as it gets.
A few travel planning apps have been reliable for so long that they’re every frequent traveller’s first recommendation. Among these, you can’t go wrong with Skyscanner to find cheap airline tickets and Booking.com to get the best hotel deals. Wander searches both these databases simultaneously to find the best overall deal.
The results can be filtered by continent, price, and distance. You can also look at all of them on a map. Click any result to see the suggested Skyscanner and Booking.com recommendations.
Wander isn’t for the frugal traveler or someone who likes to do meticulous research. It’s for those who want to make a quick decision about a good destination and a decent place to stay.
2. VisaDB (Web): Where Can You Go Without a Visa?
International borders are getting softer by the day, and travelling to a new country is becoming easier. But there are still enough nations that require a visa. Yup, the diplomatic paperwork is a bit of a pain. So which countries can you go to without a visa, and which ones absolutely need it? VisaDB will tell you.
Key in the country your passport is from, and the purpose of your visit—currently, it supports “travel visa-free” and “startup abroad”. Finally, select a continent, and VisaDB will give you a list of all its countries where you can go without a visa. It also shows a quick comparison of costs and weather between your country and the target destination, which is nice travel information.
VisaDB gets its data from official sources, like the most useful U.S. government websites for travelers. The information is authentic, but it’s best to double-check since VisaDB is a third-party site after all.
3. RoadTrip America (Web): The Best Road Trip Planner in the U.S.
If the asphalt is calling out to you, RoadTrip America (RTA) is where you should plan it. From 1996, this old community of road travelers has guided newcomers and veterans on fantastic journeys.
Start off with the Map Wizard. Put the names of the cities where you want to start and end, and then choose how many miles off road you are willing to go for attractions. The smart app will create a route for you, complete with several RTA member-approved attractions on the way. The flags on the map show you what the attraction is all about, and if you don’t like it, simply remove it.
You’ll need to register to save and print the map, but hey, it’s free. And if you have other queries, RTA has a massive active community of road trip enthusiasts to answer anything. Of course, this is U.S.-only, so non-Americans might want to try some other road trip planner apps and tools.
4. Best Trip Choices (Web): Scientifically Find Your “Travel Personality” Type
Stanley C. Plog was a renowned travel and tourism research specialist. Over the years, Plog developed a travel personality test, which you can now take at this site.
It’s a series of 15 questions, where you choose a reaction from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Based on that, you’ll find your travel personality from one of six options: venturers, pioneers, voyagers, journeyers, sightseers, and traditionals.
Best Trip Choices has a deep explanation of what every personality type means, and a list of top destinations for each. Each destination also has a “value for money” score and a star rating, but I’m not sure how valid those are or when these were last updated. I wouldn’t put too much trust in that. After all, this is a fun and insightful psychological test, don’t let it be more than that.
5. Pack Up + Go (Web): How About a Surprise 3-Day Trip?
Pack Up + Go (PUG) is the coolest concept among all these travel tools to find cheap places. Here’s the idea. You fix a budget and pick a three-days-two-nights period. Then all you do is show up at the airport or train station. Your destination is going to be a complete surprise!
Don’t worry, PUG isn’t going to put you in a place you’ll hate, or make you uncomfortable. There’s a brief survey to learn your likes and dislikes, so the destination and its activities are tailored to your tastes. There’s also an email that tells you what to pack, so you are well prepared.
PUG only books your travel and accommodation, but it also gives you a full research packet of where to go, what to see, where to eat, and what to do. If travel is about a new adventure, what more can you ask for?
How Do You Choose Your Next Trip?
Each person’s constraints might be different, but in the end, we need to get out of those and set out on adventures. As Trevor Noah recently said, “If there’s one thing you won’t waste your money on, it’s traveling.”
When you want to travel, how do you choose where to go next? Does the budget dictate what you can do, or is it the thrill of travelling itself?