Since the pandemic, you need to plan your trips carefully. So many things can change in no time, and people, in general, are traveling more, so advance bookings are crucial. These travel planning apps will help you plot an itinerary and ensure you don’t miss out on any activities or attractions.
All the apps in this list come with maps that show all the locations you’re traveling to. It’s much better than using a Google Doc to write out your plan. Each app does something a little different or better than the others, so you’ll likely find exactly what you’re looking for in a travel planning app.
1. Scout (Web): Best Travel Planner for Cities With Detailed Map
When you’re planning a trip to a new city, either alone or as a group, you will usually list many places you want to visit. With Scout, you can add these in different sections and see them on a live map, thus making it easier to figure out which places are within close distance and create an itinerary.
When you start a new trip in Scout, you’ll first have to pick a city you’re visiting and set your arrival and departure dates. By default, you get sections for attractions, food, and accommodations. But you can always add more custom sections. Each section gets its colored pin marker (for example, all food places will show as blue pins). You can add a place by searching for it or typing out the full address. It’s powered by Google Maps, so it’ll be easy to find any place.
Once you’ve added the points of interest, open the itinerary view to see your dates. Drag-and-drop places from the first bar to any day’s itinerary. Once you add multiple places to a day, the map will automatically create a route for that day, linking all the places. You can rearrange them to find the best route to take.
You can also share your Scout trip with others, so that they can add their own points of interest and update the itinerary to create a group plan. It’s also a helpful way to get tips from locals, as they’ll be able to add recommendations directly to your map.
Scout also lets you publish your map or itinerary to its directory so that others can discover your helpful recommendations. And of course, you can browse the directory to find what others have recommended.
2. Puffin (Web): Find the Best Commute or Route for Your Travel Itinerary
Puffin is similar to Scout, with a few minor differences. When you create a new trip in Puffin and add a city, it automatically gives you a few recommendations for interesting and unique tourist spots, which show up as flowers on the map. Then, you start adding places of interest by searching for them in the left sidebar when set to Places, after which they’ll show up as pins on the map.
Once you’ve added all the pins you want, switch the sidebar from Places to Itinerary. Create a new “day” and drag places from the map to that day. Puffin will automatically create a commute for you in the order of the places. Rearrange the places to get a better commute. You can also set a custom color for all the places and routes for a day.
For a detailed view of your entire itinerary, toggle the “View Full Schedule” button at the top of the sidebar. This will show a kanban board-like view of all your days. You can quickly drag and drop places between different days.
Puffin trips can also be shared between friends to build a trip collaboratively. Other users can comment on any place, so you can have a chat within Puffin on whether that place is worth going to or not.
3. Travel Trove (Web): Detailed Travel Planner for Multi-City Trips
Travel Trove is an excellent app if you go to a new country and plan to visit multiple cities. First, add the country you’ll be going to, and then add the places you want to visit. For example, if you were going to Italy, search for the Colosseum and for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and add both. Then, in your sidebar, Travel Trove will automatically list them under the different cities of Rome and Pisa.
For every place you add, you can also put in a few notes about it. Travel Trove also automatically scrapes information from Google Maps like the website, timings, and address of that place.
Once you’ve added all the places, switch to itinerary mode (and select all the cities in your trip when prompted). Now you’ll be building a day-by-day itinerary for your visit. Each day has an “accommodation” slot and more slots for AM and PM to plan your holidays. Simply drag-and-drop your places to these slots to build the plan. You can also add notes for each day.
Travel Trove lets you quickly filter places by categories you have set while adding them, like must-visit, food, accommodation, etc. You can also add Packing Notes to your itinerary to ensure you don’t forget anything. Once you’re done with the travel plan, you can share it with others too.
4. Travel Mapper (Web): Google Sheets Travel Itinerary With Live Map
When you’re planning the itinerary for your next trip, you usually want to visualize it on Google Maps too. Travel Mapper is a custom Google Sheets template that lets you create your travel itinerary, share it with friends, and instantly add the locations to Google Maps.
Travel Mapper is simple to use. Once you download the add-on, open a new Google Sheet and go to Extensions > Travel Mapper > Start Here > Generate Template. Add the date, time, activity, location, links, costs, and any additional notes in the sheet. The sidebar shows the Google Map for your itinerary, which you can update when you make any changes.
The map is customizable. You can add color codes for different elements and filter activities to see your map differently. The Google Maps in the sidebar can also be used to discover other places of interest nearby to any location. It’s one of the best Google Maps hacks for travel trips.
Travel Mapper also includes a to-do list, a packing checklist, and a favorites list to ensure you don’t forget anything. You can also share your newly created sheet with friends, who can add their own locations to the map.
5. Plip (Web, Android, iOS): Mobile-First Collaborative Trip Planner With Maps
The apps mentioned above in this list are all made to be used on computers. However, Plip bucks the trend by being a mobile-first travel planning app so that you can plan your entire trip on your phone or tablet. Plip also has a web app if you want to use it on your laptop.
Register for an account once you create a new trip; otherwise, your travels won’t be saved. You can keep the trip private or share it with a group by adding others’ emails.
When you want to add a new entry, there are eight types of plans to choose from: plan (generic), flight, reservation, lodging, restaurant, event, vehicle rental, and transit. The default details to fill for any entry are the title, the location, the start and end date and time, and any notes if necessary. Certain plans have additional entries, like “Provider” in events or “Confirmation number” in lodgings.
You can quickly filter your entries by the type of plan to view them in a list. Otherwise, switch to the Map view to view all your places of interest marked on the map, and scroll through a pane at the bottom.
Download: Plip for Android | iOS (Free)
Plan Well, But Look for Last Minute Deals
These apps will help plan out your entire trip, giving you a clear idea of when and where you will be. But don’t yet rush to book it all.
The travel and hospitality industry has a lot of last-minute deals on flights, hotels, and tourist attractions. You should try to take advantage of these where you can. Since you will plan out your trip, add a few alternatives or flexible dates with flexible itineraries so that you can wait a bit more and benefit from these deals.