Phone apps can slash your vacation costs


You don't have to be tech-savvy to download a smartphone application. And in some cases, they can cut your bill in half, on everything from hotels to a tank of gas.

It's summertime and families are hitting the road for vacation. But before you gas up or make reservations, grab your smart phone and start shopping those applications.

"The most fun you can have with your smartphone I think is by saving money. There are amazing apps for saving money," money-saving expert Mary Caraccioli said.

Caraccioli knows all about helping people save. She is the host of "We Owe What" on ABC's Live Well Network. She says first thing's first, if it's a road trip and you're renting a car, there's an app called Car Rentals.

"It's a great way to screen for rates," Caraccioli said.

But she says keep in mind, the cheapest rate may be in larger cities.

"With this one, if you're going to a smaller town, you're not going to get necessarily the same amount of bids as you would traveling to a bigger city," Caraccioli said.

Next, fueling the car: Don't pull into a gas station before downloading the app Gas Buddy.

"Gas Buddy does all the work for you. It uses the GPS locator in your smartphone and tells where gas stations are close to you and how much they are charging within the hour," Caraccioli said.

Now for a place to stay, Caraccioli says if you want a big discount on hotel rooms, try Hotel Tonight.

"This app on your smartphone can save you up to 70 percent on your hotel room," Caraccioli said.

The only catch is you have to be willing to book reservations the same day as your stay.

"Hotel Tonight allows you to get a hotel wherever you are in the United States tonight," Caraccioli said. "It will tell you the best hotel price you can get wherever you are."

Lastly, when it comes to food, two of her favorite apps...

"Must have apps for the summer if you're traveling, Yelp and Trip Advisor," Caraccioli said.

And while both of those apps mainly focus on restaurant reviews and ratings, she says that advice can save you some money in the long run.

"It can be difficult choosing a place to eat in a new city so Yelp makes it a little bit easier for you so that you're getting the most for your money," Caraccioli said.

Our expert says it won't hurt to check out some money saving websites before you head out on that summer trip as well. One of them is It offers deep discounts on hotels by comparing prices for you.

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