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Five Essential Travel Booking Apps

As fun as apps like Words with Friends, Angry Birds, and Shazam may be, it’s often the practicality of an app that is most important to consumers. This couldn’t be any truer then when traveling. When flight delays, inclement weather, or spontaneity hits, you want a convenient app that you can book directly from. Today we feature five essential travel booking apps, all of which are based here in the Bay Area.

Hotel Tonight. Hotel Tonight is just as it sounds, a hotel booking app when you need last-minute accommodations. The draw to Hotel Tonight is that it features nice hotels at a price reduction of up to 70%. However, it’s a very limited selection, no more then a few hotels in large metropolitans, and the hotels go fast. Users can’t see what hotels are available and book until noon each day and most of the hotels are only for that night, although some may be available for longer stays.

Hipmunk. Maybe you’ve seen Hipmunk around San Francisco, with their jetsetting furry animal gracing the presence of billboards and buses around the Bay Area. While there aren’t the bells and whistles to Hipmunk that you’d find from many apps, it does, however, excel in practicality. The app’s strengths are in its flight search, which displays available flights on a time and price grid and sorts it by features like agony, price, and duration. There’s also a hotel search feature that similarly displays hotels.

Room 77. Room 77 is a hotel booking app that searches the web for the lowest price on hotels. Some of the app’s functionality includes a map that determines your location and pinpoints local hotels, displaying room prices. You can also view how many stars it has and read TripAdvisor ratings and reviews. While many of the hotels you can book directly through the app, some room rates are listed on their partner websites, which Room 77 directs you to.

Uber. It’s no secret that finding a cab in San Francisco leaves much to be desired. That’s where Uber comes in. Pull up the app, request a driver, and you can be picked up in as quick as a couple minutes. However, this is much more of an experience then a cab ride (Cars are sedans and SUVs with some having candy and bottles of water for passengers), so you can expect a higher rate. However, no more worrying about cash or tipping your driver – you don’t even have to hand over your credit card. After you’ve input your credit car information into the app, it automatically charges your card at the completion of each ride and emails you the receipt.

Airbnb. For those who prefer alternative accommodations to hotels, this is an app to have in your travel tool bag. The Airbnb app is an extension of their website for iOS and Android devices. Users can search and book accommodations and reach out to hosts to inquire about availability. Since these aren’t hotel rooms, some of the accommodations may first require you to contact the host about availability, although there is a feature for identifying last-minute accommodations.

What's your favorite travel app?