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The old Apple slogan, “There’s an app for that,” has never rung more true, with more than 2 million of them in both the App Store and Google Play. At the touch of a screen, every facet of our lives can now be made easier, more efficient, more entertaining or enlightened at the touch of a screen—including all things travel. That’s why I set out to find the best of the best travel apps, to not only make traveling easier and more efficient, but to also save a few dollars in the process. From funding your travel fun to finding the cheapest parking, these tried and true apps are definitely home screen, first-page, worthy. Here are my top 5 money-saving travel apps and how much I actually saved.

RELATED: 7 fun, interactive family apps for the modern road trip

Spot Hero

Is that a space?! Nope. Fire hydrant. There’s one! Just kidding, there’s a Smart car parked there.” Sound familiar? From endless riding around in circles looking for a parking spot to eventually finding a garage 30 minutes later (and $20 poorer), parking sucks. SpotHero provides a map (or list) of parking garages and lot spaces so that you can cut down on time searching for a space, compare prices and save (spots are often discounted). You reserve your spot right on the app and simply show your reservation to the attendant on duty (or scan it upon entry). This really came in handy when I spent a day playing tourist in my home city of Atlanta touring top attractions I’d never visited. I pulled up the list of lots and spots and saw prices ranging from $7–$30. I picked the $7 garage, as it was the same walking distance to my destination from the next cheapest spot, which was $15, and it was covered, unlike the $15 lot. I visit Downtown Atlanta quite a bit, and prior to downloading SpotHero, generally pay between $15–$20 for parking. I even used the app when I went to an Atlanta Braves game, and found cheaper parking, not far from the field. This app is definitely a must-have!

Cost: Free
Money saved: $12–$17
Grade: A+

Digit

Ahh, yes. We all want to gallivant around the globe, checking off those wanderlust-worthy destinations one adventure at a time. Whether you’re dreaming of basking on a beautiful beach, sipping sumptuous sundowners or doing a simple weekend city break, you need the money to fund all this travel fun. That’s where Digit comes in. This money-saving app is the “set it and forget it” remedy to saving for all your travel ventures and everything in between. Here’s how it works: You connect your bank account and the app monitors your spending habits and saves money accordingly. So, for example, it may save $2.17 one day and $27.54 on another. It all depends on your balance and spending habits. Planning a trip to Belize? Set up personal goals and the app will ensure you meet your money-saving goal by your deadline. I downloaded this app and was able to save over $200 in 3 weeks, without even thinking about it. Digit does all the work for you.

Cost: Free for the first 100 days, then $2.99
Money saved: $217.77
Grade: A+

Gas Guru

Gas Guru is a fuel finder app that locates and lists nearby, major gas stations. It’s perfect for road trips, helping you to fill up for less. It was useful for me on a super fun family trip to Myrtle Beach. While I was busy burning bucks on the boardwalk, Gas Guru allowed me to save at least a few dollars on gas. This was a 6-hour trip each way so we had to stop and fill up a few times during the long weekend. Gas Guru showed us the cheapest stops along the way. With gas averaging $2.20 where I was traveling, every little bit helped. I was able to find prices as low as $2.11. The main downfall I found with Gas Guru is that prices were not always as up-to-date as with some other apps. Some of the most recent updates could be anywhere from 24 hours to 48 hours ago, which meant once I got to the gas station, the prices were often a few cents more than indicated on the app. Nonetheless, I was still able to save a few bucks, that I wouldn’t have saved otherwise.

Cost: Free
Money saved: Approx. $12
Grade: B

Turo

This app is the perfect for long layovers or if you’re just stopping through a city and want to explore on your own time. Turo is ride sharing meets Airbnb. Instead of someone else driving you around, you simply rent someone else’s vehicle and enjoy time on the town. This was perfect for me on a short weekend trip in Orlando . On a previous trip to the family-fun capital last year, I easily spent $105, just on Ubers alone. This time, I opted to use Turo for 2 days and was able to nab a Chevrolet Traverse for $27/day. This came to a grand total of $66.97, plus I had a $25 off promo code since it was my first trip so that brought the total down to $41.97. I chose this particular rental because not only did the owner have good ratings, but also there was no delivery fee—a huge perk compared to many of the other listings. The key was left in a lock box at the airport and once booked I received the instructions from the owner. In my search, I came across another listing, with the same per day price, but when I went to check out, there was actually a $120 delivery fee! I also noticed a lot of the other listings nickel and dime you with tons of add ons, from the delivery fee to a car wash fee, pre-paid fuel fees, toll fees, etc. So, while you may click on an awesome listing for $27/day, your total may end up being triple that. That’s the only downfall of this app. Overall, I loved my experience with Turo.

App cost: Free
Money saved: Approx. $28.03
Grade: A-

Restaurants.com

Dining out can be a huge expense while traveling, especially, if you’re like me and trying local dishes and restaurants is a favorite part of your travels. Reduce your dining costs with the restaurants.com app, where you’ll find amazing deals in your city, any anywhere you travel. I love this app for the savings, but also because you won’t find any chain restaurants here. These are all local restaurants. Here’s how it works: Simply download the app and purchase various deals. Some deals are as low as $2 for a $5 gift certificate, or the ones I typically purchase are $10 for $25. You can also sign up for the promo emails and get insane deals where you pay only $4 for $25 or even $2 for $25! These type of deals are generic gift certificates that you can later use at any of the listed restaurants. The only thing you have to be aware of is there is typically a minimum spend amount. For example, if you purchase a $10 for $25 gift certificate, there is usually a minimum purchase of $50 that is required at the restaurant. Also, there are sometimes restictions on when the gift certificates can be used. For instance, some restaurants won’t take them on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. Regardless of these caveats, being able to save half off an entire meal still feels like a win!

Cost: Free
Money saved: $23
Grade: A-

Orbitz, app, iPhone, travel, deals

Tagged: Feature

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