*None of these are sponsored. I just happen to like them and think they’re valuable.*

As a person who is constantly glued to my smartphone (for better and for worse) I’ve installed and uninstalled too many apps to count. Here are a few travel related apps that have made the cut and gotten to stay on my phone besides the obvious ones like Airbnb, Booking.com, and airline apps.

TripIt – TripIt offers automatic tracking of all trip information from an email account. I’ve found this SUPER helpful. It’s almost like a digital personal assistant that says “Hey Amy, remember that trip you booked, it’s coming up and so this is what airport you need to be at and here’s where you’re picking up that rental car for a few days and look you booked this tour too!” Thanks TripIt!

Hitlist – This is a trip tracking app for cheap deals. I mark what places I’m interested in traveling too and it notifies me of deals that it comes across. This can also be used together with a travel agent if you give them the information they can see if they can do better for you!

The next two are admittedly a bit unconventional but I like actually going to things the locals are into vs just things that are for tourists.

Eventbrite – Eventbrite is an AWESOME way to figure out what events are happening not only in your hometown but for when you travel to other places! It’s international and an easy way to find something last minute to do for the day/night.

Meetup.com – Similar to Eventbrite, Meetup.com offers local activities geared towards locals. I find it’s a really fun and easy way to meet locals without much pressure. Added bonus? You’re somewhat of an oddity in a good way so people always want to know how you found your way to “x event” and what made you come to their hometown.

 

Good luck with your travels and remember to have fun!

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this, “Travel alone?! Are you crazy?! You’re gonna wind up just like that movie Taken!” To which my response is usually something like, “haha, um, naw, pretty sure I’m not and I’ve done it a lot. It’s fantastic!”

I remember my first trip alone was to Ireland. I didn’t know anyone and was going solo. International travel as a young woman can be incredibly intimidating. I remember my parents dropping me off at the airport and starting to panic thinking “what am I doing? What have I gotten myself into? Is it lame if I just go back home and pretend I didn’t plan this?”  I think I may have even cried a bit saying goodbye to my parents and them looking at me like this could be the last time they see me.  Ahhhh the drama of being me and headed on a big adventure. The continuation of that story is I met someone very nice on the plane and then was so excited I couldn’t wipe the huge smile off my face even if I’d stubbed my toe on a metal table.  We all know how bad that hurts!

I landed in Dublin, Ireland and managed to make it to my hostel without any majors problems. Thus began the adventure of a lifetime. I ended up driving a manual car on the wrong side of the road, dancing traditional Irish partner dancing until I couldn’t stand anymore, meeting long distance relatives who quickly became family to me, and meeting so many fun people along the way that I was forever hooked on solo travel. Don’t get me wrong I love traveling with other people too but there will always be space for me to travel solo. It’s rewarding and refilling like nothing else I know of.  Next time you see a place you wanna go and no one else can afford the time or money, consider taking the adventure on your own! I bet you’ll like it!

And don’t forget! Booking a tour is always a great way to meet people and make new friends!

Often when I travel I find myself thinking what in the world would I do without my smartphone. Whether it be looking for the coolest place to have a coffee and sit on a patio or the best art museum with the weirdest stuff to post to Instagram. One thing I’ve learned over the years of traveling internationally and nationally is that booking a tour is totally worth it.

Surprise surprise, Google doesn’t always know local history, nor does it have a way to make it really feel alive. Guide books are great but that’s nothing compared to a real life human being with the knowledge and passion for their local history or activity that they are giving a tour on. So while I may be a penny pincher on flights and accommodations I always put money down on a good tour. It’s a great way to meet people (especially when traveling solo) and it provides enlightening context for the places we travel to.

Consider booking a tour through OPOS Tours. You won’t be disappointed.