This is my first issue from my Travel Diary. Here in Publish0x, I have the idea to publish and cross-publish general articles (like Today) and summaries from my (and our) trips. In this article, I will describe tools, apps, and web pages, which I usually use (or used, or recommend to check) to plan and during my Travels.
1)Fintech Apps. (Banks, Cards, etc.)
Starting this year I use two cards with the possibility to have amounts of money in various currencies and cheap exchange between them. It is Revolt and ZEN. (Offer: ZEN by Kanga - it cost 0 for one year and it is integrated with crypto exchange Kanga.) Because of testing and promotion for ZEN, it is at least currently my main card for Travels. (Revolt is the backup one, in the past it was primary.)
I also have a traditional bank account with major currencies (EUR, USD, CHF, …), where I store a bigger amount of money and (sometimes) withdraw cash.
In addition to the above, exchange currencies I make in “Walutomat” polish fintech for Internet Currency Exchange. They have bank accounts in Polish banks. So… it is very cheap and comfortable for me because all transactions are internal (within one bank) and can be done directly from my bank account to my different accounts in different currencies and some use cases can be done without creating a deposit by Walutomat. (One risk less) This is a country-dependent solution. If you have something similar in your country you can create a such solution as well.
Please also be informed, that as an investor-amateur I have snowball in different currencies. It is a little bit also important as my last Travel to Swiss was cheaper for me, because I used mostly CHF received and bought from a long time, so my buy price was much lower as currently marked price. (Very high at the moment of Travel)
2)Airplane, Train, Bus, Car
Ok, we have ready our cards, and bank account and we know how to exchange currency in the best way. (…and maybe we have other bonuses) The next topic is how we should arrive at the destination place. Here I do not have special rules. Depending on the location I used different methods and programs. I will list all used by me in the past and some suggestions.
a)Miles&More - one of the programs used starting from my first flight till now. I live and visit mostly places, where operated by someone from Lufthansa Group or LOT. (Both are part of Star Alliance and participate in Miles&More) from my perspective standard program for someone with similar characteristics for flights.
I also have my primary Payback card integrated with the M&M program, so I can transfer points from this program and have more miles used for the next Plain Tickets buy. The process is tested and worked, but unfortunately, my Travel in 2020 was canceled.
If you are Travelling mostly by plain, then you can think about back to point 1 and maybe look for some special credit card offer, which could be integrated with the Miles&More program. I did not use it, as I Travel by different methods. I used instead of this Zen CashBack program (see point 1) - lufthansa.com is there available with 1.5% (status: 15 August 2022) cash-back.
Used in the past, currently on hold due to not Travelling with these providers:
b)bahn.bonus + BahnCard25 - it is Deutsche Bahn offer, which I like very much. It was a simple offer, if you buy BC25, then you have a 25% reduction on the ticket price for long-distance trains. (I am not sure about regional connection) In addition, you can collect Bahn.bonus points and later on use it for example for a free update to 1st class. You can order a probe card for 3 months or a 1-year card, but please remember, that it is extended automatically. You need to send a letter for cancellation at the proper time. Currently, I have my cards canceled due to the fact, that I do not Travel to Germany by Train now. If I will have a plan again to Travel there. I will back again to this program if Deutsche Bahn will not destroy it.
c)Sindbad Club - it is a Polish Bus Provider from Poland to a different location in Europe. I used it to Travel to neighboring Countries, when I had less budget for Travel and I need to reduce costs. For most of my connections, it is Traveling by night. At the time, when I used it, after reaching the proper level. I need only to provide tickets and then I sign on to the program: Next connections are cheaper. It is important to have all your tickets because even if you did not think at the beginning about joining, it is possible to print again Tickets and join at a later point.
I have experience with Sindbad only for Travel from/to Poland. I do not know if it is working in different connections. An alternative is to use “ZEN Cashback” (again see point 1). For Flixbus know more in Europe, there is a 6% Cashback for online ticket orders.
Do not use by me/no experience, but you can consider using it:
d)petrol/gas station programs. (Like Shell, Orlen, …) - I did not use it, as I am not Traveling by Car so much. I used instead Payback, which has integrated BP and much more shops used by me, but maybe for your, individual needs, some program can better fit for you. I do not know if this is true, but I heard, that the Shell program works in the whole of Europe in one card. There is no limitation, that Polish cards work only in Poland, Germany in Germany, etc. I am not sure if this is true, but if you can confirm it and you are using these stations. Maybe it is worth it for you.
I am using for car Polish Payback (unfortunately working only in Poland, checked in Germany) and have here two use cases for Travelling: Transform on Miles&More points or pay for gas in BP Stations. (Both tested. Of course, there are much more use cases, but I do not use or it is not connected to Travelling.)
e)SBB Mobile - App for Travelling inside Swiss. There is a possibility for buy Tickets inside. I did not use it as I had an issue with integrating my ZEN Card with Apple Pay and it was the best possibility to pay for Tickets for me. Maybe in the future, I will try this app with a different Card or my ZEN will be integrated. On my last Swiss visit, I bought finally tickets onside at the Train station.
a)booking. Com - Currently my primary service, where I am booking my hotels. I used it in combination with ZEN Card. (4% Cashback) and Genius program within. (Currently, I am on level 2). It is working fine as well if I need to order more rooms when Travelling with friends or family and later on split payments. There is an option during booking to write for who, you are ordering room and you need to book rooms with payment option onside. Then directly with your Hotel, you can split costs.
b)Accor Hotels (currently Accor All) - currently for me on hold. When I was traveling more for work Travels. Accor Hotels were on recommended Hotel list. I open there a program and collect points for every visit. Currently, I do not have to use Accor Hotels anymore, I moved to booking. (See 3a)
c)Choice - I open an account for my US visit in 2020, which did not take place. All my Travels from this Hotel network were canceled and I do not have experience currently. For the booking, I was ok with it.
4)Additional Apps during Travel
a)FreeNOW/Uber - it is worth checking if Taxi service is available and which application you can use and prepare everything in advance. I have prepared as backup FreeNOW (payment method: Apple Pay) but could not check it.
If you would like to check FreeNOW, here is my affiliate link: LINK. It gives me and you 15 PLN (I do not know the equivalent in your country/currency)
b)SBB Mobile/DB Navigator/Jakdojade - Most used by me is App “jakdojade.pl". If you are Travelling to Poland you can check it. It is City Navigator with the possibility to buy tickets. (Not for all cities). You can check for alternatives for other countries, like DB Navigator (Germany) or SBB Mobile (Swiss)
c) Multi-provider loyalty card (DeutschlandCard, PayBack, …) - I use Polish Payback and used German DeutschlandCard. Use cases in case of Payback I already provided, I collecting point by providers, where I nevertheless buy something. If I know, that I will be frequently Travelling to some country/place and buying their daily things, then I also open local cards and later on think about how I can use them. If it cost me nothing, just to have it in addition to usual shopping, then I consider using it.
d)Too good to go - it is a nice app. Not necessary as a Travel app, but tested by us during our last Swiss visit and can be a good addition to shopping. The risk topic is, that we do not know, what we receive and we need to be in the shop at the exact hour. (Usually before closing time). We know only if it is fruit, vegetable, surprise package, or baked goods. All the rest is not known.
a)NextCloud Analytics - as described in my last article. I am starting to migrate my Travel data from OpenFlight.org to my NextCloud instance with the Analytics app. I am losing the social media sharing banner and map, but I had a problem with using this app to track my Train and Bus connection as well. As the primary function, I need only tables and Analytics is fine for it. This solution is for more technical people, but maybe OpenFlight.org or some similar tool will be for you fine.
b)Photo Album - I will be ordering here albums for the first time. It is a nice app. I did not order anything till now, but this summer we made some trips, which we would like to remember. I saw ready albums, as my friend recommend us this app and show us his albums. If you would like to check, you can use my affiliate link (I think you should open it with your mobile devices) or just skip my link and search for Journi Print App.
c)Mail client - I have for all my Travels created a folder in a mail client and all Trip-related e-mails moved there. Then, in any case, if something is needed I can easily find it. This helps me a lot in the past.
6)Summary apps and Affiliate links:
- "To good to go"
- Revolut: https://revolut.com/referral/paweli6v
- FreeNOW: https://mytaxi.onelink.me/HySP/77hsx8sa
- "Journi Print" App: https://books-alternate.app.link/RIsAWTqKvsb
- Kanga Exchange (+ZEN Card, later on, to order within exchange) https://trade.kanga.exchange/auth/register/?refToken=Vubmelh1aQoR
Mine “Travel 101" materials, which I started collecting you can find here. (Please bookmark the link as is here. Not destination as I will be developing it and the destination link will change in the future) If you are opening it shortly after publishing this article there might not be much information. (...or almost nothing) I am back from my Travels and step-by-step will be extending content in all places. (Also writing here in Publish0x more articles)
Thank you for reaching this part of the article. I hope I shared some inspiration with you, maybe you can use some knowledge as inspiration in your favorite Tool. If you would like to read more, feel free to follow me, then you will receive a notification about new Articles from Publish0x.