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4 Travel Apps To Get You Where You Need To Go, And Help Once You're There

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Clockwise from top left: KAYAK, TripAdvisor, World Radar, Hotel Tonight

Way back when (you know, 10 years ago), travelers carried these things called guide books. Maybe some of them still do, but most of that information now lives in your smartphone. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has some favorites. Here they are:

1. KAYAK

What it does: The search website’s app lets you look for flights, car rentals, hotels and more.

Why Matthew likes it: It’s best for flying. But it’s also handy while you’re moving through the airport to check your flight status. That said, while the app is handy, the best policy on shopping for airfares is to shop around (more on that in a future segment).

2. TripAdvisor

What it does: Listings of services with consumer reviews.

Why Matthew likes it: The app provides quick access to restaurants and services. Need food in a new place? Done. Want a massage? Here you go. The reviews are handy, but also pay attention to what the majority of people are saying. There will always be someone who has something awful to say.

3. Hotel Tonight

What it does: Links you to discount rates at hotels well, um, tonight.

Why Matthew likes it: It allows for spontaneity, but you can also find rooms in a variety of hotels – from the budget to the sublime – for reasonable rates. It’s also makes it easy to cope with the unexpected, such as flight cancelations, or missing the last ferry back to Bainbridge Island. Not that that’s ever happened to Matthew.

4. World Radar

What it does: A glimpse at weather radar and current conditions around the world.

Why Matthew likes it: We were shocked to learn that flying is not our travel expert’s favorite thing in the world, especially when it gets turbulent. Being able to see what the plane is flying through provides Matthew with some peace of mind. But it’s also handy when you’re heading into any place where you might spend time outdoors.

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"Going Places" is KPLU's weekly exploration of travel topics. Matthew Brumley is the co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small-group travel to clients including KPLU. Have an app you can't live without while you're traveling? Tell us in the comments below.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.
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