Note: Beginning of video contains language that may be offensive to some viewers.
When was the last time you thought, “I should just pack up and go somewhere“? Did you ever act on the thought? One Redditor actually did.
Only going by “zonz1,” they claim to be 26 and to have spent their life savings of roughly $20,000 to take a year off and travel the world. The list of stops is exhaustive and includes Peru, Bolivia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Ireland and Denmark.
When we review travel apps that actually do something, they often tap crowd-sourced information that is as rich (or not) as the number of users who have contributed their opinions or reviews. GPS-based travel apps take existing technology and manipulate it in one way or another to bring every thing from finding a friend on the road to creating a virtual journal of our travels, step by step. In the world of cruise travel, the number of apps available is limited compared to other modes of transportation but they are often highly specific, producing information not available elsewhere.
Norwegian Cruise Lines has a newly updated travel app that can be a helpful planning tool in advance of sailing with information about destinations, ships and special offers. Once on board Norwegian’s newest ships, even more helpful features are available.
The free download for iPhone, Android and Windows 7 features photo galleries and videos; ship information including deck plans and on-board amenities; stateroom descriptions, images and floor plans; 360-degree virtual ship tours and more.
On board Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Breakaway, passengers can log on, select an Internet package to buy then text and call others on the ship who are also connected, using time from their pre-paid plan. Free services include the ability to see previews of and book shore excursions, restaurants and other on-board products like spa services and shopping. Users can view their shipboard charge account as well as a list of daily activities at any time, also without using purchased Internet minutes.Sailing some other cruise line? Cruise Ship Mate ($1.99), can be even more helpful in the planning stages of cruise travel as it has the ability to see all itineraries of all major cruise lines. Included among features that do not need an Internet connection to use are deck plans, cruise ship information and a packing list. Connected, users get cruise ship deck cam links and a chat feature that enables passengers on a specific ship and sailing date to communicate in advance of and during sailing.
A unique feature on the Cruise Ship Mate app is a Cruise Ship Tracker. This one allows users to see the exact location of any ship at any time, using technology similar to that of CruiseCal, the long running subscriber-based website that pinpoints where ships are and which ships will be in port at the same time you are.
But maybe you are not really into apps but have some favorite travel websites that you would like to access quickly on your Apple iPhone or iPad?
iPhone 5 users can create quick links to their most-visited websites using the “add to home screen” option, like I did for the Gadling site. On your favorite site, in Safari, just tap the “Share” button at the bottom of the screen, tap the icon labeled “Add to Home Screen,” tap the “Add” button then launch the website from your Home screen by tapping its icon.
Looking for other helpful travel apps? Check this video for apps that tell us everything from what is going on at any given destination to where restrooms are located.
For many people, booking a round the world trip is a distant fantasy, up there with “win a Grammy” and “marry Ryan Gosling“. But as most seasoned travelers know, there isn’t just one way to travel, and global adventures can be had at multiple budgets.
On the low end of the per diem spectrum were Warren and Betsy, a married couple in their 40s who spent $34 per person per day on their round the world trip. They traveled through 11 countries in South America, Western Europe, and Thailand for 396 days, spending a grand total of $28,826. The couple stretched their dollar by using frequent flier miles to book tickets, and by taking a boat from South America to England. Their budgeting advice? “Take 2-3 minutes each day to track your expenses for the day. It will help you to know how much you are spending, but more importantly what you have left.”
Justin Troupe and his wife were a little less cautious about their spending, burning through $116 per person per day on their round the world trip through Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean. The 150-day, 24-country adventure cost a total of $35,000. Their speed of travel was admittedly one reason for the high cost. Justin advises, “Slow the pace down, my trip was quite expensive because we did 26 countries in 4 months. It was expensive if you look at the cost per day, but not it you look at it from a per country point of view. $30,000 divided by 26 countries works out to $1250 per country, which is not bad.”
He continues: “The craziest part of Round the World Travel is that so many people think it is out of reach for them. Yet people waste money constantly on things that don’t make them happy. In life, you can buy things or you can buy experiences. I have found that experiences make me much happier. For the cost of a used car, you can actually go see the world. All it takes is the courage to dream big and then set goals and make it happen.”
There are just two weeks left until Labor Day, but it’s not too late to plan a getaway for the holiday weekend. In fact, waiting until now to book your trip might even save you money with some of the great last-minute deals that are available.
American Airlines Flights American Airlines has several destinations on sale for Labor Day. Buy your tickets to Belize by August 28th and travel Monday through Thursday, starting September 1st, for as low as $217 each way. Book a trip to Jamaica by August 24th for travel any day of the week after September 1st, and prices will start at $84 each way. Tickets to Cancun, booked by August 25th for Saturday and Tuesday travel after September 1st, start at $88 each way.
United Airlines Flights If you can stretch your weekend until Tuesday (departing on Saturday), book tickets to destinations within the United States on United Airlines by August 25th to save. Prices vary by departure and destination cities, but sample fares include Chicago to New Orleans for $89 each way, Atlanta to Denver for $109 each way, and Miami to Washington Dulles for $69 each way.
Spirit Airlines Flights Spirit is well known for its near-constant sales to destinations within the United States, Central America and the Caribbean. It’s like the Gap of airlines – never pay retail because, just as the Gap will knock 50% off those jeans in two weeks, chances are that Spirit will soon offer a better deal for the flight you want. Their current sale ends tomorrow, August 25th, and discounts some of their more popular routes to as low as $33.90 each way. As with all of their sales, $9 Fare Club members and those in hub cities like Fort Lauderdale and Detroit save the most and have the most options. But even the rest of us can still get some good deals for Labor Day. For example, New York to Medellin, Colombia is $138.90 each way, Boston to Myrtle Beach is $68.90 each way, and Atlanta to San Jose, Costa Rica is $128.90 each way.
Expedia.com Deals Beyond flights, Expedia has deals on just about everything else – hotels, cars, cruises, package deals – for your Labor Day travels.Deals vary widely by location, but some of the highlights include discounts of up to 50% off hotels in Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago (among other cities) and 3-night Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruises for as low as $262 per person for an inside cabin.
If these deals don’t work for you, there’s still plenty of time to plan your perfect Labor Day vacation at a great price. Check out Hotwire’s Travel Ticker, peruse the sale list on Travelzoo and follow your favorite airlines on Twitter. JetBlue and Southwest regularly post their top deals on twitter, so you’ll be the first to know about great fares.