5 Apps for Spontaneous Travel

You’ve let summer slip past you and now your favorite resort is booked until the leaves fall. Capitalize on the remaining days with a last-minute trip, using these helpful apps.

1. Where to Stay

For sheer range of options, you can’t beat the Airbnb app to help you book a private log cabin on five acres in Grand Marais, or a former brooding house for chickens converted into a guest cottage on a working organic farm in Montevideo. Or use the Hotel Tonight app to find great short-notice deals on luxe hotels such as Minneapolis’ Le Meridien Chambers.

2. What to Eat

Using your phone’s GPS, Yelp will find every restaurant in your area along with pictures, descriptions, and reader reviews. Driving through St. Cloud with a hankering for Mexican food and a desire to dine al fresco? Set a few filters, and Bravo Burritos will be on your radar in no time, complete with driving directions.

3. Cover your bases

Spontaneous travel shouldn’t just be for the untethered and carefree. Find a last minute dog sitter with DogVacay (or use BringFido to find dog-friendly accommodations and restaurants, such as Duluth’s Chester Creek Cafe). No time to mow the lawn before hitting the road? Use Mowz to hire someone to do it for you while you kick back on a pontoon boat.

4. Watch your Budget

The GasBuddy app finds the cheapest fuel in your vicinity, and Trail Wallet lets you set daily budgets, organized by trip or month, and helps you stay within them by easily tracking expenses as you go.

5. Spontaneous fun

No need to strap the bike rack on the car for a quick jaunt to the Windy City. Use Spinlister once you get to Chicago to find locals willing to rent out their bikes by the hour, day, or week. And when you take the inevitable selfie at the mirrored bean in Millennium Park, use Postagram make it into a personalized postcard that will be mailed (via real, physical snail mail) to your friends for 99 cents a pop.