Confession: I love planning a vacation almost as much as I enjoy actually being on vacation. From scouting out the best hotel deals to reading up on the destination and discovering restaurants frequented by locals, there's a certain thrill that comes with simply anticipating a trip.
As it turns out, I'm not the only one who relishes in "vacation anticipation." According to a study on how vacations affect happiness published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, "The largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation," reported The New York Times. "In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks." Read: If you're looking for an excuse to book that trip to Mexico, consider this it.
Convinced to reap the benefits of "vacation anticipation" and start planning your next getaway? After some trial and error, I've found that these are, without a doubt, the best travel itinerary apps for building anticipation before I board and making the most of every minute once I touch down at my destination.
How It'll Make Your Life Easier: TripIt makes it easy to compile your flight, hotel, car rental, and even restaurant reservations all in one place. After booking your travel plans, you simply forward the confirmation emails to TripIt to get a master itinerary. Consider desperately searching through your email inbox for flight confirmation numbers and hotel addresses a thing of the past.
iTunes Store Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (with over 69.2K ratings)
Why Users Love It: "Recently, one of my upcoming flights was delayed. TripIt informed me that I couldn't make my connecting flight and gave me a list of alternate flights. It was sooo easy to change my flight because I had all the information I needed."
How It'll Make Your Life Easier: Like TripIt, Google Trips curates a master itinerary from your travel reservations, but in addition to organizing your flights and hotel bookings, this app will help you find nearby things to do based on ratings from other travelers. Have half a day to explore a new city? Just hit the magic wand button for recommendations on which popular attractions are actually worth your time. As Google Trips' site aptly boasts, "It's a big world. Exploring it just got easier."
iTunes Store Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (with over 1.6K ratings)
Why Users Love It: "I absolutely love the download for offline mode and the ability to share itineraries with family members."
How It'll Make Your Life Easier: If you're hitting the road, then you should download Roadtrippers stat. This free travel planning app makes discovering local dinners, quirky roadside attractions, and scenic viewpoints easy. It's also one of the most popular apps on iTunes, ranking at #69 in the travel category.
iTunes Store Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (with over 11.9K ratings)
Why Users Love It: "Never have I ever felt it necessary to review an app, be it good or bad. But this app is so incredible that I felt obligated to tell everyone. It's SOOOO helpful. I did a road trip from CT to TN to TX to Nola to NC back to CT, and I used it every day for the entire trip. It offers so many things to do, everything from museums to abandoned houses that make for fun photo ops."
How It'll Make Your Life Easier: For visual planners, Sygic Travel makes it easy to plot out your itinerary on a map. You can curate your own custom city guide or search existing ones for tried-and-true recommendations. Like Google Trips, Sygic Travel also offers offline functionality so you can view your itinerary without needing to duck into a Starbucks or McDonalds for free WiFi while you're traveling abroad.
iTunes Store Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (with over 989 ratings)
Why Users Love It: "I recently traveled to Europe (Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and Bordeaux) and planned my trip with ease, all things to Sygic Travel. The number of places presented by the app of the top sights to see was really helpful in our decision making. I wish we traveled more so I could invest in the premiere features."
How It'll Make Your Life Easier: Although not a travel itinerary app per say, Rome2rio belongs on every traveler's smartphone. After you map out your plans with one of the aforementioned apps, you'll need to know how to get from point A to point B. Enter Rome2rio, which will help you discover the best way to get anywhere in the world—be it by plane, train, bus, ferry, or automobile.
iTunes Store Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (with over 378 ratings)
Why Users Love It: "My wife and I were sitting in Lisbon, Portugal, after I had planned out a trip with a specific itinerary. Sitting there in a square, we could see the Christ the King statue far away across the water. I had researched that Uber or public transit were the only ways to get there. I had a passing thought of Rome2rio and opened up the app. To my surprise, I had a detailed route including a ferry that I hadn't thought to look into before."
Ed. note: Reviews have been edited for length and clarity.
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