How-To: Use a smartphone to save some cash on your next trip

A smartphone is a powerful tool you should use on every trip, if nothing to save some cash along the way. In addition to the must-have navigation apps and local guides from the likes of Lonely Planet, there are other applications that could help you save money while travelling. Here are the apps we suggest you to try out on your next trip:


You’ve probably heard about Groupon and may have also used it. The daily deals service is getting more and more users every day, despite facing a tough competition from the likes of Facebook and Google, with Nokia and Microsoft planning to join the race, too. Their mobile application is available for multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and they also have a mobile website for users of other mobile devices. To take advantage of Groupon, simply sign-up for the local version of the service (your travel destination) and wait for the great offers to come in. Then when you hit the ground, you can access your deals from your smartphone.

If you happen to travel to some place where Groupon still doesn’t existing, simply google “groupon alternative in [name of the city/country]” to access local daily deals sites.

Finally, if you’re not sure where you want to go, you can check out Groupon Getaways — which is a service developed in partnership with Expedia — that offers great deals on travel arrangements.

Public transportation apps

If you’re travelling to a big city in Europe or Asia it’s safe to bet it has a solid public transportation which is both cheap and can also be pretty effective (especially if we’re talking about subway/metro). For those places, it’s good to have some app that helps you get around the city. My personal favorite is MetrO, which is available for multiple platforms and supports hundreds of cities all around the world. If it can’t work on your smartphone, there could be other city-specific apps in the mobile app store you use. For instance, you could search for “Vienna metro” or “Paris metro” and see if that returns any good apps.

Get that flight for less

You can search for the flight either from your computer or from a smartphone. If you opt for the latter way, we suggest you trying out Orbitz and Kayak‘s mobile apps, using which you can search for and book flights while on the go. As far as I know there are no special deals for mobile users, but you can save some time using your phone when there’s nothing better to do.

Find a hotel

Two of the major hotel booking sites, and Expedia, both have their iPhone apps that enable users to find accommodation all around the world. You can easily browse through results until you find the perfect room for your needs.

However, you will save the most in the last minute deals provided by Hotel Tonight. It is worth mentioning that the app/service doesn’t work all around the world, but where it does — major U.S. metro areas — travelers can save a ton by booking their hotel on the spot.

Where to eat?

Two services instantly come to mind – Yelp and TripAdvisor, with the latter also being used for rating of hotels. With these two apps running on your smartphone, you’ll know whether you’re getting a good deal and what other folks think about some restaurant and the food it serves. Highly recommended!

Low-cost phone calls

Finally if you need to keep up with your spouse, parents or friends at home, it is suggested that you either grab a local SIM card and/or use a VoIP software like Skype, Nimbuzz, Truphone, Fring, etc. You can save a substantial amount of money if you just schedule calls and make them when in a hotspot. And if a person on the other end of the line can also be on Skype (or some other VoIP client) at the same time, you don’t have to call them on their landline or mobile number – it will be a free call.

Now, I’m eager to hear whether there are some other apps you use when travelling to other city or country. Comments form is all yours…

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