10 Apps You Need For Your Next Trip

If you sometimes feel as if your Mobile travel appssmartphone is becoming your travel BFF, you’re not alone. Consider that nearly half of all travelers have used a mobile device to plan or book a trip, a 2016 global survey from Apteligent found. Mobile apps have also enabled travelers to find hotel deals, dine with locals, and even overcome jet lag.

Ready to load up your smartphone for your next trip? These 10 apps will address many of your most pressing travel needs.

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11 Things You Should Do the Day Before You Leave for a Vacation

It’s the eve of your departure — the day travel packing listbefore you leave for that long-overdue vacation you’ve been dreaming of for months. But before you embark on your trip, there are some important steps for you to take.

Here are 11 items to cross off your to-do list before you head out.

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‘Mini-moons’ give couples a vacation appetizer

After Kylie and Jacob Kemper got married roadtripin June in York, Pa., the newlyweds took only two days to unwind at a bed-and-breakfast on Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. Having closed on a house a month before their wedding, the couple was looking for an inexpensive way to celebrate their nuptials, so they planned a “mini-moon” to the scenic Lake Pointe Inn.

“We really wanted to take a full-blown honeymoon to a tropical all-inclusive resort,” said Kylie, 25. “We met with a travel agent and everything, but in the end we had to allocate our money to other things.”

Today, roughly 82% of newlyweds take a mini-moon after their wedding, according to The Knot’s 2016 Romance Travel Study. A typical mini-moon consists of a two- to five-day romantic getaway that’s within close proximity by drive or flight to a couple’s home or wedding venue, says Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief at The Knot.

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Beware of These Hidden Hotel Fees

Last year U.S. hotels collected more than Hotel service bell$2.5 billion in fees and surcharges, up from $2.45 billion in 2015 according to research by Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

Hanson credits the uptick to the nation’s thriving travel industry. “When times are financially difficult, hotels are more concerned about offending guests with extra charges, but when the economy is doing well hotels feel more confident about increasing their fees,” says Hanson, who has tracked U.S. hotel fees and surcharges data since 2000.

Unfortunately for travelers, many hotel fees are often buried in lengthy disclosure statements or tucked into bill summaries at checkout.

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How to Decode an Airbnb Review

The average Airbnb rating is a whopping 4.7 do-you-want-5-starsout of 5 stars, according to a recent study by Georgios Zervas, an assistant professor of marketing at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. That’s a surprisingly high number when compared to hotel reviews on TripAdvisor, where the average rating is only 3.9 out of 5 stars for hotels with more than 100 reviews, a Cornell survey found.

Zervas suspects there’s a psychological component at play. “People might feel bad leaving a negative review because they know that many hosts are using Airbnb to supplement their income and help support their family,” says Zervas.

Some Airbnb customers might also be hesitant to write a negative review because they fear repercussions. “Hosts also review guests, and future hosts can see every review you leave,” says Emily McNutt, an editor at ThePointsGuy.com. Translation: “if you write a scathing review, a future host might be less inclined to let you stay at their place,” McNutt says.

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Read This Before You Rent a Car

For consumers, the rental car counter can be bigstock-Suitcases-and-bags-in-trunk-of-101954126-800x534treacherous. “Rental car agents are paid on commission, so they’re incentivized to try to upsell you for everything,” says Jonathan Weinberg, creator of AutoSlash.com, a service that tracks rental price changes to help get consumers the best deals. “If you ask whether you need something, they’re going to say yes.”

Also, since many rental car companies are good at burying fees and surcharges in long rental agreements—you know, the paperwork you barely glance at before signing—the onus is on you to thoroughly research your options. Indeed, “when renting a car, it’s a ‘buyer beware’ transaction,” says Neil Abrams, president of the Abrams Consulting Group, which tracks the rental car industry.

Follow these steps to drive down the costs on your next rental car and enjoy a cheaper, happier road trip.

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8 jobs where you get paid to travel

We get it. The daily grind in Cubiclevilleitems-you-shouldnt-take-on-summer-holiday can take its toll—especially on those who love to travel. The good news: There are plenty of great jobs for people with wanderlust.

And chances are, the younger you are, the more pumped you are to find a job with travel perks. According to a recent survey by Hipmunk, 38% of millennials travel for business, compared to just 23% of Gen Xers and 8% of baby boomers.

So, if you’re looking for work where you get to see the world, consider these eight careers where travel is an essential part of the job.

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5 Affordable Fall Travel Destinations

Prime leaf-peeping season is fall-travelhere—and so are some great domestic fall travel deals. That should come as a relief to many consumers, given that Americans will spend an average of $2,836 per person to travel this fall—more than summer travel—according to travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth.

If you want to see the fall colors without spending a lot of money, plan a trip within driving distance of your home. The savings could be significant. According to financial research firm ValuePenguin, about 44 percent of travel costs for the typical U.S. family are for transportation.

Here are five fall travel destinations around the country that are affordable and offer some of the best fall foliage.

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7 Perfect Little Travel Accessories

Good vacations take time, particularly with the planning
stage. Nothing’s worse than arriving at your destination, only to remember that you’ve left some necessity — phone charger? favorite sunglasses? — behind.

For a story for The Huffington Post, I did product research on a number of travel items and settled on seven — including the thermal mug pictured here — that I thought were particularly useful. Be sure to pack what you need from the list of these perfect little travel accessories (yes, all budget-friendly!) and your next trip will run a whole lot smoother.

The Huffington Post: Who Makes The Best And Worst Airplane Food?

When you’re cruising at 600 miles an hour, gazing at the beautiful, puffy white clouds outside your window, the dining options don’t always match the view. Flying at a high altitude is one thing, but eating an in-flight meal that’s of equally high quality? That’s hard to find.

For a story for The Huffington Post’s travel vertical, I made the search for fine airline dining a little easier by rounding up airlines with some of the best — and worst — food. Come onboard and take a look through the slideshow of airlines, each judged on a scale of 1 (stick to the complimentary peanuts) to 5 (worthy of first class).