Whether you travel for work or pleasure, frequent travelers are always up to date on how to avoid mistakes other, less-seasoned travelers might have made. However, there are always new cool things coming up that ease the not-so-fun parts of traveling: packing, flight and hotel booking, and last-minute cancelled flights, among others.
Here are some of the most recent online tools for travelers that are (or will be) available in 2016:
TripRebel – Hotel booking made fair
Ever made a hotel reservation online only to discover that you could have gotten it much cheaper if you had waited a little longer? Well, you can now stop worrying with TripRebel. TripRebel is an online platform where you can book hotel rooms and select more expensive hotels you would like to stay at if they happen to fall within your budget. If the price you paid for your hotel room drops anytime between your reservation and check-in, TripRebel cancels your previous booking and books the same room at the new price, refunding you the difference to your credit card. Cool, huh? Even more, if any of the hotels you liked but were too expensive, suddenly reduce their price to fit your budget, they will cancel your previous reservation and get you a new room at the more exclusive, expensive hotel you chose.
The best part? It’s all automatic. They send you an email every time your reservation gets cheaper or you receive a free upgrade. That means no more feeling like you are getting ripped off! Plus, you can now treat yourself at that cool restaurant you saw on TripAdvisor with the spare money you just saved.
Waynabox – Surprise weekend trips
How many times have you argued with your friends over where you all want to travel to next? We have all had those endless WhatsApp conversations. Or maybe you’re simply too busy to plan your next weekend getaway. It could be that you are just an adventurer and want to discover a new place you have never been before. If you fall under any of the previous categories, I’ve got some good news for you.
Waynabox is an online travel agency for weekend trips where you don’t find out where you are going until three days before your departure. You select the weekend when you want to travel, the number of travelers, pay the 150€ fee (includes flight and hotel reservation) and you have just booked yourself a weekend trip to an unknown destination in Europe or Northern Africa. Right now it is currently operating only from Madrid and Barcelona, but they are adding London to their list of departing airports by 2016.
Seeusoon – Travel getaways in your inbox
What initially started as a travel booking platform to find the best intermediate place for long distance couples and people who live away from their loved ones to meet, Seeusoon is now a way to discover unique travel packages. Starting in January 2016, every week they will send you the best curated travel combinations of flights, blabacars, trains and buses, together with Airbnbs, poshstels and hotels for destinations depending on your city of departure.
For now, all you have to do is to subscribe to their invitation-only mail list and every week you will receive the best deals to destinations near you. Removing the hassle of having to coordinate flights, trains, buses and hotels: it’s all figured out upfront. All you have to do is click “book”, sit back and enjoy the trip.
Freebird – A ticket out of airport hell
If you have ever had a flight cancelled last minute, or delayed for an insanely long time, you know what airport hell feels like. It is definitely one of a traveler’s worst nightmares. How much would you be willing to pay to get out of airport hell? Somewhere between $19 and $34?
Keep reading then.
Freebird is an insurance service for flights: in case of significant delays and cancellations, Freebird sends you a text letting you know about your new flight status and gives you the opportunity to book a new flight on any airline at no additional cost. This way, you can forget about waiting in line at the counter to yell at the poor soul who has little news and nothing to do with the problem besides having a nametag with the airline logo on it. Freebird started operating during Christmas 2015 and seems to have registered some good traction so far. I recently regretted not purchasing one of their insurance packages when my red-eye flight from Madrid to Sao Paulo got delayed for over 4 hours. I will have to keep it in mind next time.
Dufl – A private packer for busy travelers
Now this is definitely not a tool for low budget backpackers, but more for intensive business travelers. Dufl is a personal valet service that cleans, stores and ships your luggage so it arrives to your destination before you even get there. After you sign up, Dufl sends you a suitcase that you fill with your most common business attires. You then send the suitcase back to Dufl and they store your clothes in an “online” wardrobe that you can browse from your smartphone.
When the time comes to travel, you select the items you want to have for your next trip and Dufl cleans, folds, packs and ships your suitcase to your hotel before you arrive. Once you are flying back home, you just have to leave your suitcase by the front desk of the hotel and Dufl will pick it up for you, cleaning and storing your clothes once again for your next trip. How much does it cost? Dufl charges you a monthly $9.95 fee for managing your wardrobe and each US domestic trip costs $99. As of today, they still do not have much international coverage besides big business hubs in Europe, Asia and Australia; although they will start offering new destinations in 2016.