By Jeremy Cleland

5 Travel Apps For Planning a Last-Minute Summer Vacation

Whitney Rosenfeld of Las Vegas has been a teacher in South Korea, traveled the globe on a budget, and even got married overseas in the Dominican Republic.

As a result, she knows how to score a travel deal—especially using the Internet.

When starting to look into a trip, Rosenfeld says some of her favorite sites include Airbnb for hotels, WorldNomads for travel insurance, WikiTravel guides for general information, and Anthony Bourdain’s section on The Travel Channel site to find good spots for food.

If you want a break this summer, but haven’t had time to plan a family getaway, here are some of the best free smartphone apps to help you score last-minute travel deals, just like Rosenfeld:

KAYAK

Traveler profile: Best for those who want to find last-minute hotel rooms, flights and car rentals at consistently low prices.
Why we love it: The site compares the rates and fares of more than 100 travel sites, like Expedia and Priceline.
Booking tip: Check out Kayak’s Low Fare Tip page, which offers insider tips, such as how to find a smaller alternative airport that may offer cheaper fares.

HotelTonight 

Traveler profile: Best for those who want to find an inexpensive hotel room to book tonight (or within seven days).
Why we love it: Check the app after 9 a.m. EST when new deals are posted for the same evening.
Booking tip: The name on the reservation always matches the profile of the person who booked through the app. So you may have to call the hotel directly to add more guests to the room if you’re checking in at different times.

Last Minute Travel

Traveler profile: Best for those who want to search a plethora of last-minute flights by price, stops, length of journey, or preferred airline or hotels by location on a map.
Why we love it: Once you find a room or fare, you can book in just three steps.
Booking tip: Check the Deals tab, where the site promises up to 70% off bookings.

Seat61

Traveler profile: Best for travelers who want to ride the rails. The Man in Seat 61 is an award-winning travel blog focused on how to travel by train.
Why we love it: Click the Buy Train Tickets tab for a listing of train ticket websites around the world.
Booking tip: Under the same tab, read his tips on how to choose a rail pass.

Travelzoo

Traveler profile: Best for those who want a carefully selected list of travel deals that come from experts. According to Travelzoo, “Our Test Booking Center confirms the accuracy and availability of every deal before the list goes out.”
Why we love it: Via Facebook, Google+ or email, sign up for the Travelzoo Top 20—the weekly travel deals are curated by more than 250 Deal Experts in 25 offices around the world.
Booking tip: Check out its last minute travel deals for all-inclusive packages or summer flight sales.


Jeremy Cleland has been a spokesperson for several Silicon Valley startups, like Tesla Motors, and spearheaded global stories about technology featured in media like Vice, Time magazine, Forbes and Wired.com. He’s also the dad to a 5-year-old who is already more tech-savvy than him.

This editorial content is brought to you by U.S. Cellular.

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