Traveling can be a great experience, but it can also be a hassle sometimes.
Finding an inexpensive flight, booking the perfect hotel room, planning a fun itinerary, funding your trip — these are all things that make going on vacation more difficult than you'd like it to be. The good news is, there are plenty of businesses out there that can take the struggle out of planning a trip and navigating your way around a new city. Some can even turn your trip into the adventure of your dreams.
Ready to use some of your hard-earned vacation time? Don't book your flight just yet. Check out these cool travel businesses first to make your next vacation even less stressful — and more memorable!
Everyone likes to show off their vacation photos, so what if you could have a skilled, professional photographer document your trip for you? Flytographer makes it possible. According to the company's website, you can "meet with one of [the company's] local photographers around the world, have a stroll together and bring home the best souvenir possible — memories." Simply search for a photographer you like in the location you're traveling to and book a photo shoot via the company's website after you've finalized your trip details. When it's time for your shoot, your photographer will guide you around and take candid photos (though he or she will also take posed portraits, if you prefer).
Know where you want to go on your next vacation, but not sure what you want to do? Peek curates a selection of fun activities for you that you can book online or via the company's mobile app. You can also use Peek's Travel Guides to see an overview of the top things to see, or use the "Perfect Days" feature to book a complete itinerary with "insider tips and hidden gems from tastemakers," according to the website. Peek currently has offerings in top U.S. destinations like Boston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Hawaii, as well as in Mexico, London and Paris.
The Trip Tribe
If you're flying solo but would prefer to travel in a group or make new friends while on vacation, The Trip Tribe is here to help. The company allows members to create a profile and search for trips — they'll use your profile information to match you with other travelers who share your interests so you can book a trip with like-minded people. When you view trips on the site, you can see which other members are going, as well as the dates, price per person and other important details. Some of The Trip Tribe's featured trips include an eco retreat in Puerto Rico, a food and beer tour in Ireland, and a cycling and boating adventure in the Czech Republic. [22 Great Jobs for People Who Love to Travel ]
Welcome Beyond is dedicated to those travelers who prefer to forgo staying in a big-name hotel and would rather have a more unique vacation experience. According to the website, Welcome Beyond "hand picks small hotels and vacation rentals that are truly original." These exclusive rentals range from quirky to posh and are easy to search for and book — simply choose a country and region for your stay, and even search by interests like architecture and design, nature and ecotourism, and secluded retreats. You can also refine your search by accommodation type, with everything from boutique hotels to private islands available in over 30 different countries including the United States.
Want to arrive at your destination in style? Forget hiring a limo — just book yourself a seat on a private jet with BlackJet. According to the company's website, "BlackJet members enjoy the convenience, reliability and private jet experience at prices you would expect from American, Delta or United first class." As with all flights, costs vary depending on your origin and destination locations and the date of travel, but prices start around $1,000. BlackJet memberships are limited, but free until you book your first trip — after that, there's an annual fee.
Travelers with a spontaneous streak will love Triposo, an app that gives you personalized suggestions for things to do on your trip while you're on the go. Users can book tours and activities via the app, as well as learn important information about their destination's history, culture, currency and language. Before you go on your trip, just download Triposo's destination guide to your device, and then while you're there, you'll get real-time updates about what's going on nearby. Bonus: The app works offline too, so you don't need to search for Wi-Fi to find your next activity.
Weddings are expensive, and honeymoons can rack up costs fast, but Wanderable takes the stress out of planning (and paying for) your honeymoon. Rather than have your friends and relatives buy you towels, toasters or pots and pans, you can set up a registry with Wanderable where they can contribute to your honeymoon fund. But the company does more than just collect cash for your dream trip — Wanderable allows you to search destinations and curate your trip based on your interests. Wedding guests can also contribute to specific costs, like transportation, lodging and even special tours or events offered at your destination.
Want a way to keep track of your itinerary information and hotel confirmations without wasting paper? Traxo offers a free mobile app that keeps all of your travel information organized while you're on the go. According to the company's website, "Your complete itineraries, with confirmation numbers, addresses, maps and notes are always at hand" with Traxo. You can even see your flight status (including delays, cancellations and gate changes) in real time and track all of your loyalty points across accounts. And if you need to make a quick change to your itinerary, you can do so right from your mobile device.
If you've ever had to deal with a canceled flight or another airline issue that left you stranded, you know how frustrating air travel can be. In most cases, airlines will help you rebook your flight and accommodate you, but what happens when they don't, and you're out the money you paid for your tickets? AirHelp steps in. You can either use the company's online form or download its free mobile app to file a claim with your flight details, and AirHelp will take care of communicating with the airline for you so you can avoid feeling stressed and confused. The company will even file a lawsuit, if possible or necessary. If your claim is successful, the company will take a 25 percent service fee out of the money you're awarded as payment, but if you lose your claim and you don't get paid, you won't owe AirHelp anything.
Have you ever found the perfect flight, only to come back to it a day or two later when you're ready to purchase your tickets and find that it's sold out? Options Away can make sure that never happens to you again. Use Options Away's website to search for flights, and you can save them while you wait for your next paycheck or to finalize the rest of your plans. You can save flights for two, three, seven or 14 days, and doing so will also lock in the price of your tickets — if they go up, you can still purchase them for the price they were when you found them, but if the price of your airfare drops during the wait, you'll pay the lower price when you decide to purchase.
Want your vacation to be more like an adventure? Exploring a new city doesn't have to be about meandering around looking at tourist attractions. Turn your next trip into a real-life scavenger hunt with Stray Boots. Simply download the app and select and purchase the tour you want to go on, then activate it while you're connected to the Internet (you only need it to load beforehand, and it can be offline during play). The app will guide you through your chosen city — there are 18 cities to tour and more than 70 tours to choose from — while you and your friends or family members complete challenges, answer trivia questions, take fun photos and earn points. Along with many popular U.S. cities like New York and San Diego, you can also participate in scavenger hunts in London, Paris, Copenhagen and Tel Aviv.