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9 Apps and Websites for Effortless Trip Planning for Your Next U.S.A. Adventure

Updated: Apr 27

Deciding on a vacation destination is fun and exciting, but let’s face it planning the itinerary can be overwhelming especially when deciding where to eat and where to stay. When I first started traveling, I didn’t know where to start with planning. I would be all over the web looking for information on the destination only to feel overwhelmed. Once I arrived at the destination I would end up eating at bad restaurants because I was fooled by the reviews on a site I thought was credible and overpaying for flights and hotels because I didn’t know it was the peak tourist season during my trip. After some trial and error, I found some great apps and websites that are now my go-to when I am planning a trip in the U.S.A.


1. Trip Advisor- This was the first ever travel resource I used and it is still one of my favorite resources. I like to use Trip Advisor when I am deciding on a hotel because the website makes it so easy to sort and filter a list of hotels. I am able to sort by price, location of the hotel, type of hotel (from budget to luxury), hotel brands, and amenities. The list goes on. When filtering by location, you can also see the walkability score. A higher score will mean that the hotel is within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and top tourist attractions. I also like that Trip Advisor allows guests to post photos from their stay so that you can get an idea of how the rooms look at the hotel. I have noticed that hotels will post their best-edited photos, and then when you check in to your room it looks nothing like the photo!



2. Expedia- This is my favorite site to use when I want to book a travel package (hotel + airfare). I like using Expedia because I find it very easy to use and I often find great deals when I bundle my flight and hotel. The site also offers other features where you can filter the location of the hotel by neighborhood, guest ratings, property type, accessibility, and more. Another feature that I like is after you select “packages”, and enter the departure and destination city, the site will provide you with a list of hotels, and on each hotel you can see the trip total (hotel+ flight). This feature is great for travelers trying to stay on budget because you can choose hotels and flights based on your set budget. One thing to note is that as you continue through the next few pages, you will have the option to select from different amenities, and adding amenities to your package may change or increase the price.

3. All Trails- If you are into hiking like me or maybe you enjoy a nice morning walk, this is the app for you. This is a great resource for finding trails near the city you are visiting. The All Trails app will provide the length of the trail in miles, the elevation gain, the average time it takes to complete the hike, and more!


4. Google Flights- I love using this website when I am searching for cheap flights to any destination. When using google flights, you can search months in advance and it will tell you if the flight price is high, low, or expected for your travel dates. My favorite part of this website is that you can enter the departing city, enter the dates you want to travel, and then add your destination city as “anywhere” and Google will show a map with flight prices to places all over the world. This option is excellent for flexible travelers that want to know where the cheapest destination to fly to is during their travel dates.



5. Yelp- I use this app when looking up restaurants in a destination. Over the years I have found that Yelp reviews seem to be more accurate when it comes to the taste and quality of food. When I first started traveling, I only used Google reviews all the time to find restaurants and I quickly realized that using multiple restaurant rating sites can be very beneficial. I also compare the reviews I see on Google with Yelp. Just a tip, If the ratings and the reviews match up, then most likely it's a good restaurant. Another thing I like to do on Yelp is create a “collection” for the destination I am traveling to. A “collection” is a list on Yelp where you can save all the restaurants you want to try. I recommend organizing the collections by city so you can easily keep track of where you went to eat.


6. Thrillist- Now this is a fun resource and is for all my foodies out there! When I travel I like to try food that I can only get in a specific destination or food that originated in that destination. For example, when you visit Maryland, you need to try the crab cakes! Trust me you won’t find crab cakes made like they make them in Maryland anywhere else in the U.S. If you search Thrillist you can find unique foods or dishes that are only found in or are really popular in that destination. They also offer other curated travel guides and lists that will assist you in finding activities to do on your trip.





7. Viator- This site is owned by Trip Advisor and can be a one-stop shop to find tours and activities in the city you're visiting. After typing in the destination and the travel dates, you can search through a wide range of options from food tours, site-seeing packages, outdoor activities, and more. I first used Viator when we traveled to Paris a few years ago. I booked a food tour with Secret Food Tours via Viator and it was simply amazing. We toured the beautiful neighborhood of Montmartre, nibbled on delicious chocolates, enjoyed crepes, and sampled delicious wine. When you add a tour to your trip it will only enhance the trip and create an unforgettable experience.


8. Eater- When I travel I like to eat locally and Eater is a great website resource to find local or trendy new restaurants. You can simply type in the destination, and you will find articles on the latest and greatest food scene happenings.


9. U.S. Travel News- This is a great all-in-one travel resource! Simply search for your destination on the site, and you can find a summary of the city, things to do, places to stay, the best time to visit, and getting around. I mostly use this site to get information on the best time to visit the destination. I have found that this site has the best breakdown of what to expect based on each month of the year and which festivals or events occur during those months. This is helpful information and can help you avoid traveling during peak season or at least be aware of when peak season begins at your desired destination.



I hope you find these resources useful and they assist you with planning your next adventure! Let me know in the comments if there is a resource that you find helpful not listed on this post!


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These tips are so helpful! There are a few apps I had not heard of. And of course you are correct about Maryland crab cakes!!! 🦀 There is nothing better than an authentic MD crab cake!!

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Stephanie
Stephanie
Jun 29, 2023
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Yay! Glad to hear this post is helpful! lol you are so right!

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