August is just around the corner, which means we beat the heat with a long, cool vacation.
Whether you travel by plane, train or car, there’s something for everyone in this collection of apps and tools – from cheap flights to great accommodations to road trip diversions and more.
Flight Penguin: book no-nonsense flight
With the free Flight Penguin flight search extension, it’s all about the visual grid.
Search results are presented based on a mishmash of how much the flight costs and how painful the journey would be: for example, a really cheap flight might appear at the bottom of the list if there are several long layovers. (The whole experience has some of the feel of the late, regretted Hipmunk—Flight Penguin comes from some of the same founders.)
Flight Penguin pulls in flights from other travel sites in real time to ensure you get the most up-to-date results, and scores huge points for not overloading the interface with a ton of ads, upsells, or gimmicks.
CozyCozy: one-stop accommodations
Instead of bouncing from site to site looking for a place to stay, just drop by Cozy Cozy.
You get results for hotel rooms, apartments, houses and everything in between. That’s because CozyCozy collects searches from just about every major booking site out there.
Results are then displayed in a simple map-plus-list view, making it easy to find potential pads based on price, location, or both.
PackPoint: suitcase serenity
And now we come to the worst part of travel: packing. Make short work of it PackPoint.
This $3 app is worth every penny: tell it how many days you’ll be gone, where you’re going, what activities you’d like to do, and it’ll put together a custom list of what to pack.
It even monitors the weather at your destination to make sure you don’t get caught in a downpour or find yourself in town on a chilly evening without a sweater.
Car: Location-Based Celebrity Audio Tours
Break through the monotony of a long road trip with the Car app.
Backed by Kevin Costner and with some of his celebrity friends, Autio senses your location and tells interesting facts, anecdotes and history about more than 9,000 places in the US
The app is unfortunately only for the iPhone, but you get the first five stories for free, after which you can choose monthly, annual or three-year subscriptions for $30, $35 or $70 respectively.
Positive: money back on gas
And if a road trip is indeed in your future, you might be worried about some soreness at the pump this summer. (At least prices are going in the right direction at the moment.)
Luckily the upside down app can help lessen the sting a bit by letting you earn some cash back from participating gas chains.
It’s not limited to gas, either: Upside partners with fast food chains, coffee chains, and more. Just launch the app when you get to a participating business, claim your reward, then check in with your location or snap a photo of your receipt.
You can then cash out to your bank account or PayPal, or choose a gift card from one of the many well-known stores instead.