The short-term travel industry is booming at the moment, with companies like Airbnb and HomeAway becoming the go-to lodging sites for millions of travelers. Airbnb boasted 10 million active users in 2014 alone, reported Inc. What's more is that the site featured over 800,000 worldwide listings last year.
4 cool Airbnb services to try on your next trip
It comes as no surprise that more and more related apps and services are now getting in on the action. For the most part, the trend has heavily relied on meeting the needs of the hosts. Management services companies like Guesty, for example, do everything from screen potential guests to facilitate cleaning schedules.
But what about related services for the lodgers? More companies are now taking advantage of this opportunity, creating cool services that make short-term travel easier and easier for guests.
"My phone serves as my map, my tour guide, my translator and currency converter," says longtime travel writer Jennifer Stevens, who pens the food-slash-travel blog Adventurous Appetite. "The apps have saved me money and made traveling so much easier—especially for shorter trips where I don’t have the luxury to get lost for days on end."
Planning your next travel adventure? Here are a handful services that'll take the headache out of getting around in a new place.
FOR TRANSLATING, TRY ISTONE
Need to ask a Paris local to point you to a restroom? Looking to order another round of drinks from a waiter in Berlin? iStone Travel Translation App is stocked with hundreds of everyday phrases that make basic communication way easier. Having access to so many standard sayings will also make you feel like less of a dope when you don't speak the language.
iVoice Translator Pro is another good one that allows for text-to-speech translation by way of voice recognition.
FOR STOCKING UP ON ESSENTIALS, TRY TIMERESQ
After getting settled into an Airbnb, the last thing you'll want to do is go shopping for the essentials. TimeResQ is a concierge service that provides curated packages of goodies that are filled by locals. At-home comforts like toiletries, snacks and SIM cards can all be pre-ordered so that they're waiting for you at your destination.
"If you go abroad and don't speak the language, you don't want to spend time during your vacation hunting for a grocery store or buying diapers," says TimeResQ CEO Jeremy Bryant.
FOR ORGANIZING YOUR TRAVEL ITINERARY, TRY TRIPIT
If managing your travel details stresses you out, consider looking into TripIt. It basically compiles all your information into one app, which majorly streamlines the process. Instead of searching your inbox for your flight number, this app organizes it all for you—in one place.
"I really like the TripIt app since I am the least organized person on earth," says Stevens. "I can forward all of my travel emails and plans to the app’s email. Then, all of a sudden, I have an itinerary that I can access even when I’m not online."
FOR SHARING PHOTOS, TRY POSTAGRAM
Between Instagram and Facebook, most of us have no shortage of photo-sharing apps. Unfortunately, sending actual photos in the real-life mail has become a lost art.
Postagram is bringing it back
"The app lets you turn your phone, Instagram, Facebook and Dropbox photos into postcards, and then sends them by mail," says Stevens. "You don’t even have to go to the post office! I love that this app can make me look thoughtful while still being completely lazy."
Plus, who doesn't love getting a real postcard in the mail?