How to Build an AI-driven Trip Planning App? Travel Planner App Development

The travel industry is changing at a breakneck speed. This twist is driven by evolving user preferences. A few years ago, most tourists relied on travel agencies, while now they plan trips on their own. Let’s take the adults from the US as an example – 83% of them state that they want to book their trips via the Internet (TravelPerk).

According to Statista, the worldwide income in the travel industry of the app market is predicted to rise by around 730 million U.S. dollars (59%) from 2023 through 2027. After four years of uninterrupted growth, the revenue is projected to hit a new high of two billion U.S. dollars in 2027.

In August 2022, global travellers were asked about their anticipated use of various trip-planning tools for the year 2033. More than half of them predicted they would depend on comprehensive travel apps for trip preparation. However, the survey conducted in March 2023 showed that almost 90% of travellers worldwide are frustrated while planning their trips online.

As you see, there’s a lot to be done in the travel apps area (especially when AI comes to play). That’s good news if you’re planning travel app development – there’s a lot of space in various niches for your app.

Now, let’s consider what to build and how to make your app successful in this ever-changing travel planning landscape. We’ll also review the best travel planner apps on the market to inspire you for your own research.

What is a Travel Planning App?

Travel planning app is a tool that makes holiday planning more enjoyable. It’s a buddy companion that supports users in organising the trip. That’s a general definition because it all depends on your idea of what people could actually do in your travel planning app.

From this perspective, we can distinguish two main types of modern travellers – those who want to plan everything and those who would like to explore the world freely. Each of these groups needs different features, which will make your app unique (I’ll describe a few audiences with feature ideas paired to them in a second) – you can build an app that will create a detailed itinerary (like the Trava app) or provide users with trips and hints, allowing them to explore the world spontaneously and on their conditions.

Whatever will be the goal you choose for your travel planning app, it should make the planning (or not-planning) process easier and streamlined. Users should be able to choose a particular destination (type, select or import from a booking app), create a trip and invite friends. What else they could do? We’ll explore those possibilities throughout the whole article (but if you can’t wait, jump to the section with the essential features and description).

Why Invest in Trip Planner App Development?

As I indicated at the very beginning, the online travel market is growing. People are more and more willing to book and plan trips on their own, without any help from traditional travel agencies. When they don’t buy pre-made packages where every day is planned in detail, they need to organise their time by themselves. That’s when your app is about to come in handy.

But what does it mean for your business?

Growing demand for travel planning apps

User needs are changing but in a predictable way. Almost half of the respondents would like to book everything (hotel, flight, taxi, etc.) via one app (Travelport). That also means they would like to use just one app for managing the whole trip (not only booking) – why not yours?

Imagine creating an app that allows them to book whatever they like – not only accommodation, flights or a taxi but also tickets for cinemas, museums or swimming pools – and then automatically includes that in their itinerary. What if your app becomes a hub for everything they need going on holiday? That’s something!

But this is the goal you can achieve after a few years of app development, so it’s best to start now. Build your app step-by-step, starting from unique features (you’ll find inspiration in this article if you stay with me) and anticipate users’ needs. Don’t be discouraged from integrating with external providers (e.g. in the case of booking) before you’ll be able (or willing) to build your own solutions.

That’s also what your competitors need to do – expand their solutions, sometimes rebuilding them significantly to reach the aim of complexity. You’re starting fresh; use this as a competitive advantage!

Better user experience

By building your trip planning app, you can not only grow your business but also affect people’s lives. You have a significant impact on their well-being and holiday experience.

As I mentioned before, people are not satisfied using apps that are currently on the market. Many of them offer too complicated or unintuitive processes, don’t address users’ needs or require too much manual work. Let’s review how Trava managed the niche.

Trava is an app that was brought to life because entrepreneurs realised that it’s really hard to suit everybody’s needs and preferences when creating trip itineraries. The more people, the harder to reach an agreement. Therefore, we (as Trava’s development partner) used Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to simplify the process and make it enjoyable, really. We’ve built a solution where everyone can vote for what they would like to do (and where to eat). Based on those co-travellers’ preferences, the app creates a logistically optimised itinerary to make everybody happy.

The revolutionary idea of Trava is not about developing another travel planning app. It’s about simplifying processes and removing unnecessary steps, allowing everyone to enjoy the process itself. At the end of the day, it resolves the most significant dilemma of how to suit everyone’s expectations.

Competitive advantage

Currently, the most searched apps in Google are booking apps, as people need to find a place to stay or a flight to go there. According to Statista, “hotel” was the most popular search term in UK Google in the penultimate quarter of 2022 (with over 18 mln searches). Why does that matter?

By building a trip-planning app that allows users to easily book accommodation (with many relevant filtering and simple processes), you can address real needs and, therefore, distinguish your app from any other on the market.

Existing solutions might not be technically prepared to implement certain features (e.g. additional filtering) or need huge modifications in order to do that. Your app is a blank page to be filled up with incredible stories, and that’s a huge advantage and a great start.

Global audience

Mobile and web app development allows you to reach a global audience and offer your services around the world. That implies a huge amount of potential users and B2B partners for your trip planner app.

That also means that you can target people far away from your location if only you know how to solve their problems. For instance, you might build a trip-planning app for cuisine lovers that will guide them throughout the world of food or for movie enthusiasts who would like to follow the tracks of Frodo and Sam. You can even build an app for treasure or mysteries seekers to help them discover all the haunted locations! No matter where they are, they have a common need for themed discovery.

Deeper user understanding (data-driven)

There’s another benefit associated with building a trip-planning app: better user understanding. If you already have a travel-related business, you can gain insight into your app’s target group and improve your regular offer. If not, you can use the data to improve the app to gain more delighted users and grow your business.

Higher loyalty

This benefit is especially connected with mobile solutions, but some aspects of it can be achieved via desktop as well. I’m talking about gaining user loyalty, as mobile devices offer almost limitless possibilities in terms of communication with users simply because they can take it with them anywhere they go.

I’m not thinking about cross-selling or up-selling but about providing people with relevant and useful information depending on what they are doing, looking for or where they are. You can tell them a story about places they visit (based on localisation, you can even use an Augmented Reality!), suggest what they could see nearby or offer a discount to a local bakery or pizzeria.

You can make your travel planning app a document storage so they don’t need to look for plane or cinema tickets anymore. Your app could automatically order them a taxi each time they need to be somewhere on time or check the weather forecast a few days before the holiday to suggest what users should take with them on the trip. All of that makes your app a buddy, irreplaceable when it comes to trip planning.

Additional revenue stream

If you are already running a business (e.g. you’re one of the travel agencies that offers well-planned group trips or packages), you can diversify the revenue stream by building a trip-planning app. Thanks to this, you can grow your business by offering support also to people who tend to plan a trip on their own (and still, you can share all your trip-related knowledge with them via your app).

You can earn money on your app in multiple ways – from users and partners. By connecting with partners (e.g. in the case of providing discounts), you can earn some extra fees from companies whose services you promote – e.g. you can earn $0,5 from anyone who orders a meal with a discount or buy something in a local shop. I’ll get back to this later, discussing monetisation possibilities.

Shaping the future of travel

Last but not least, you can literally shape the future of travelling. There’s always someone who came up with a brilliant idea and revolutionised the world as we know it. Who knows, maybe you’ll shape the travel industry.

How Can a Trip Planner App Help its Users?

Your travel planning app can support users in many different ways. Now, I’ll discuss them, in short, to inspire you to search your own route.


First of all, travel planning apps are helpful in organising upcoming trips in a seamless manner. You can build an app that allows parents to look for children’s attractions, plan a business trip down to the minute or reconcile the conflicting interests of a group of friends. Whatever the goal is, the trip organising process must be smooth and intuitive.


Using a travel planning app is easier and more reliable than just thinking of what to do or making a decision after reaching the destination. Sometimes, an app can squeeze the process down to just a few minutes (like Trava).


Using a travel planning app that bases on each person’s preferences ensures that everyone will be pleased with the itinerary and schedule. At the same time, each person might receive suggestions and information based on their personal preferences (e.g. a history lover can have some insights into the story of a place while a culture geek might receive some updates about what movies were filmed in this place).

Seamless experience

Your travel planning app should provide users with a seamless user experience. That means it should not overcomplicate things but simplify the processes and decrease the number of steps required to reach the user’s goal. It is aimed at making life easier.

Your app should have a user-friendly and welcoming user interface. The days of Windows 95, which was ugly but useful, are long gone. Today it’s important not only what the travel app allows one to achieve, but also what it looks like. However, different target groups might have different tastes (or requirements), so make sure to adjust your travel app’s design to their preferences and needs!

Discovering local culture

You can think about your app as a guide through the exotic culture they’re visiting (or are about to visit). It can provide them with insights into local habits, preferences, food or communication patterns – everything that might be useful and welcoming to immerse into a foreign culture.


Your app can allow users to plan the trip together. You can do that in various ways. You can allow your users to assign a person for each day of the trip to plan it as they like or you can take into account the preferences of all members to generate a timetable that suits everybody’s needs each day. It’s up to you.

You can also provide all trip members with access to a trip document storage, allow them to see each one’s localisation or discuss with each other on a chat. Those are just examples, but the possibilities are limitless.

If you don’t know what to offer, ask your target group what they need!

Budget planning

Your app can help them to plan their budget, too. If you integrate your app with external solutions for booking or banking, your users can easily manage their finances straight from your app. They can set the limit for spending, categorise expenses or even exchange currencies with no need to open any other application!

How to Unleash the Potential of AI in Your Trip Planner App

Your goal is to build the best trip planner your users have ever seen. It should be unique among all the travel planning apps that are currently on the market. You can reach that point with AI! It might soon dominate not only the travel industry and travel app market but most digital products.

If you want to build AI trip planner, think about unique use cases. Your users could discuss with a virtual assistant to learn about current weather and ticket prices or gain support when your team is unavailable.

But you can go even further – you can analyse users’ behaviour (from multiple sources beyond the app itself) to discover patterns and make suggestions even before they ask for them! Why not suggest a nearby cafe in the morning when you know that at this time they tend to order some or a restaurant with their favourite type of food when it’s time when someone is usually eating?

Free your imagination and write down all the ideas that come to your mind (and what your users-to-be are saying, of course!). Don’t think that something is impossible just because it’s not implemented in any solution you know. Maybe that’s your competitive advantage! Experienced developers will help you bring your ideas to life (or suggest some changes to make it possible 🙂 ).

Best Trip Planning Apps on the Market – Introduction to Trip Planning Market Research

If you want to build the best trip-planning app, you need to be acknowledged with market trends. That means you need to analyse all the travel planning apps that are on the market in order to understand their advantages and disadvantages.

Now, I’ll review the most influential travel apps that allow one to plan their trip to provide you with a starting point for your own research.


If you’ve read my article attentively enough, you already know that Trava is a travel planning app that allows users to create a trip, invite friends and allows them to vote for activities and restaurants they would like to visit. Based on that, Trava creates a logistically optimised itinerary that suits everybody’s needs. And it’s free of charge.

The revolutionary idea of Trava lies in process optimisation. The users express their preferences, and the app does all the rest. It also allows its users to share their memories and experiences in the form of posts (it’s a social media feature, you can learn more about the Trava trip planning app from our portfolio).

Although Trava works well on both iOS and Android devices, the target audience is from the United States. That means that destinations that are not that popular in this country might not be perfectly addressed – you might not see any attractions or restaurants in Kołobrzeg as it is not a popular travel destination in the US. And that’s something your app might address!


TripIT has a different approach to trip planning. It builds an itinerary based on materials that were submitted through the app by the user. Each time users receive a booking confirmation email (e.g. according to accommodation, flight, rented car or anything else), they can forward the message to a particular email to see it as a part of a plan. It can be integrated with a calendar to allow users to see all the trip details together.

However, TripIT offers much more than that. It notifies and reminds users about their flights (delays, gate changes, cancellations), enriches users’ knowledge about the country they’re going to visit and shares trip details with others. It also provides a map view to visualise the destinations, locate nearby items, and provide document storage. Users can access it offline and can see stats on their previous trips.

TripIT has two subscription levels – free and Pro ($49/year).

Sygic Travel

Sygic Travel is a comprehensive travel app offering detailed offline maps and guides for over 20 million places worldwide (including famous sights, museums, restaurants, beaches, cafes, shopping malls, etc.). It enables users to plan custom trips (by selecting attractions and setting them in a particular order – but still they must do that manually) with estimated walking distances and travel times between attractions.

The app is integrated with popular booking platforms, allowing users to book accommodations, flights, and other travel services directly from the app. This integration streamlines the process and offers a seamless booking experience.

An offline-accessible map view allows users to navigate their destinations, view their itineraries, and discover nearby attractions even when they are not connected to the Internet. The app also provides guides on various aspects: sightseeing, dining, shopping, and nightlife, helping users make the most of their trip.

Additionally, it encourages collaborative trip planning and sharing among friends and integrates with popular booking platforms for a seamless experience. The app also allows users to record their travel statistics and memories.

There are two subscription tiers: free and paid (quarterly, yearly and lifetime – the last one costs around $30)


Roadtrippers is an app designed for comprehensive road trip planning for those who want to visit some places on the way. It enables the users to plan their routes by giving detailed directions, estimated travel times, and distances between stops. It offers a large database of points of interest, including landmarks, restaurants, and accommodations that users can add to their customisable, trip itineraries.

The app encourages the discovery of less-known attractions and highlights roadside curiosities to enrich the travel experience. It allows for group planning and sharing, providing turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation for a smoother trip. Roadtrippers also offers offline access to maps and itineraries, making it useful in areas with limited connectivity. Moreover, it provides trip inspiration through curated travel guides for users seeking new adventures.

There are two subscription levels: free and plus ($35,99/year)

Roam Around

Roam Around is a free and simple AI-powered website that plans a basic travel itinerary within a few seconds. It simply allows users to enter their travel destination and generate a suggested itinerary for a 5-day trip.


Kayak is a free travel planning app that provides personalised travel recommendations based on users’ search preferences and previous travel data. It enables comprehensive searches for flights, hotels, and car rentals, comparing prices from various sources. The platform also offers vacation packages for combined deals and savings.

Price alerts inform the users about changes in rates to secure favourable deals. The “Explore” feature helps them discover new destinations based on budget and interests (desired flight durations and travel themes: beach, adventure, shopping, etc.), while the “Trips” section organises travel itineraries accessible offline. It also informs them about all delays, changes and cancellations.

Additionally, Kayak offers travel guides and tips for informed travelling (about attractions, local customs, transportation and more). The mobile app delivers extra functionalities like mobile-exclusive deals, mobile check-in and real-time trip updates. It also supports shared travel plans, keeping all trip participants up-to-date with vital information.

MVP or a Full App – What to Start With?

Once you know the competitors, let’s think about how to approach your app development. Let’s start with defining the MVP term (in short, the full description you’ll find in my article explaining the meaning of the MVP). It’s an abbreviation for Minimum Viable Product and means creating something that allows you to validate your app idea.

This term is often misunderstood as people see the MVP as the first version of an app. Well, it’s not necessarily an app. It can be anything that allows you to verify with the target audience whether you’re idea can succeed on the market – a social media campaign, video, landing page, prototype or, finally, the simplest version of your app.

In this article, we’re talking about app development, so remember that by saying MVP, I mean the first and the simplest version of the app.

So, what to start with – should we create the full app right away or start small, from an MVP? If you have a vast budget and much time, you can start building the whole app. However, I bet you don’t. You rather have limited funding and want to launch the app as soon as possible, am I right? Start from an MVP, then.

The MVP development process differs from building the whole app, and you can read more about it in my article about the MVP development process specifics. Now, let me just say that it’s about building the core and unique features of the app and providing some users with closed early access to gather feedback and improve the app accordingly. The app doesn’t need to be beautiful or flawless, but the core feature(s) must work as planned.

How to Define The Target Audience Right?

As you may notice, every target audience has different needs, habits and preferences when it comes to planning trips, so your app must suit them. Let’s examine three examples and explore how the app (a trip planner in each case!) might differ for each one of them:

  1. Students who aim to discover new places and experiencing them in full
  2. A group of women who seek an extraordinary getaway and do not want to be bothered with everyday stuff
  3. Parents who would like to rest, providing their children with exceptional memories at the same time
Students who want to discover the world on their own conditions

Nowadays, many young people are willing to discover the world in an unstructured manner. They might want to go to a random country (maybe even with random people) with no plan. They might want to discover those locations spontaneously. The question is: how a “trip-planning” app can help them “not-to-plan” their journey?

Let’s imagine a travel app that allows them to track places they would like to visit and draw a random one out of them on demand as a destination. The app could analyse people’s preferences and suggest potential travel buddies for going on a journey together. Of course, they can still invite their friends to join the trip. On the other hand, this travel app could propose destinations based on the most beneficial affordable plane ticket deals found online. There’s a summer sale on Ryanair’s website? Bring it on!

What about “planning”? How can you address that part if they don’t want to plan anything?

Let’s approach this aspect as if it were a street game. What if your app allows people to discover on their own but still is a companion who notifies them when some amazing landscapes, monuments or local shops are nearby, worthwhile to be visited? What if people could gain points by visiting those places and competing with other groups? Gain discounts or tickets to some amazing places if they win the competition? Maybe your app could inform where the nearest open shop is, where a local event is about to begin or that there’s a local dish worth to be tasted.

Why not go even further? If you could gain more details about people by integrating your travel app with social media or Google services, you could use AI to provide them with even more precise information and suggestions, sometimes even before they will request them. Let’s say you know from localisation tracking that they are always eating around 3 p.m. If your travel planning app could analyse their current route, it would be able to predict in advance that they will be heading in a particular direction and suggest the right place to eat right there.

Women on a girls trip

What about a group of women who would like to take some rest and not think about anything but relaxation? You can offer them the possibility to plan the journey in advance.

Usually, there is one person who leads the rest, so they might be able to create a trip in your app and invite friends. All trip members could vote for various attractions and dining places, and the app could provide them with a logistically optimised trip itinerary based on their preferences (like the Trava app). It could even modify the plan based on current weather (or social) conditions to make sure they won’t end up on a beach when it’s raining!

But what if you go even further? What if the same travel app allows them not only to plan but also to seamlessly book tables at restaurants, purchase tickets for museums or cinemas, and even arrange for taxi services? Instead of worrying about hotel reservations, and transportation, they could rely on the app to take care of these details. You don’t need to develop such a module by yourself; you can integrate your app with existing solutions that will help you reach your goals and simply develop the smart part of the app.

By integrating these functionalities, the app becomes an all-in-one tool for their relaxation journey (and that’s what people currently want). It removes the need for multiple apps or websites, improving the planning and booking process.


Now, imagine the parents wanting to plan a trip that balances relaxation for themselves and excitement for their children. Your travel app could help them plan their holiday in advance. They could select activities that adjust to their family’s unique interests, ensuring that everyone has a memorable time abroad.

How could you do that? Your app could allow them to browse through various family-friendly destinations, accommodations, and activities to provide exceptional experiences for kids. Users might also evaluate them upon the most relevant criteria. Picture this: the app provides recommendations for family-friendly dining options, suggesting restaurants with kid-friendly menus, playgrounds or feeding chairs for the youngest ones. It can even assist with booking tables and ensuring the family is well taken care of during their meals (being reviewed is an enormous motivation!).

But what if the app could go beyond just planning and offer additional features to make the trip even more seamless and enjoyable? Allowing the parents to hire a babysitter would relieve them for a few hours and let them relax on their vacation as well. That also means you could implement a feature for finding the right activities and places for spending a romantic time on their own – they don’t have much time to look for it!

As every parent is focused on their children’s safety, you might implement a social media feature where they can discuss with others how reliable babysitters are or even advise each other on different topics. You could even offer the possibility of searching for nearby families to meet them and spend some time together!

What Features Should Trip Planning Apps Have and How Much Does It Cost?

Now, let’s review a travel planning app’s functionality, considering both basic and premium features.

Remember that your trip planner doesn’t have to have all those listed app features. It’s about uniqueness, not bringing as many modules as you can. What is more, you don’t always have to create all of those systems from scratch; you can integrate your app with others. That will decrease the overall cost but still allow you to fulfil your goals.

I divided these features into three groups – admin, user and agency dashboard, because, depending on your app specifics, you might need to build two or three of them.

Admin dashboard

The admin dashboard is your place to manage your app. You need to consider the following aspects:

  • How will you manage users (and agencies)? How many user types and what access levels does your app require?
  • What payment options will be available, and how the billing process will be organised?
  • Will your app allow for advertising, and how will it be managed?
  • How will you communicate with the users, and what tools do you need for that?
  • What analytical tools will you implement? Do you need custom in-app reports?

That will define the core features of your administrative app and the overall management mechanisms.

User dashboard

By saying “user dashboard”, I mean the app that is provided to users, no matter whether it’s a mobile or web one. This app usually has different features than the admin dashboard in travel apps.

User profile management

Your travel app needs to offer a login feature and allow one to create a profile. It depends on your goals what elements will be included here, but the basis is a nickname and password (with password management).

The more details you have, the more data you collect and the deeper you understand your users. Therefore you might want to add:

  • country of origin
  • city
  • languages they speak (or/and are learning)
  • food preferences (cuisine, food allergies, etc.)
  • social platforms connection
  • bank account or credit card connection
  • places one has been to already
  • whether they prefer active trips or relaxing getaways

Planning feature (AI-driven)

In building a trip planner, planning is a must-have feature. Users should be able to plan trip details, make changes to their upcoming trips and invite friends. They should be able to review their journeys and gain access to all relevant information (depending on the features: documents, social posts, photos, maps, insights etc.).

Itinerary visualisation

While creating trip itineraries, it’s good to provide users with a visualisation of the schedule. It can be in the form of a calendar, timetable or a map – it all depends on your audience preferences. Or maybe you’d like to revolutionise this field as well? What about a linear representation which will change our view on travel apps?

Calendar synchronisation

There are many different ways in which one can refer to the calendar in your travel planner app. You can automatically send all the details from the travel planner app to the calendar or, in reverse – from the calendar to your app.

If you want to present the schedule in the form of a calendar, you might need to go through the verification process (e.g. the Google Calendar setup). Keep in mind that this might be an additional cost.

Reminders, notifications & alerts

Push notifications are one of the core features of every mobile app, as they allow users to engage and provide them with up-to-date information about their trips.

You might notify users about:

  • flight details (luggage requirements, delays, cancellations, gate changes, when they should go home to be on time)
  • weather conditions and changes (e.g. suggesting what to pack)
  • new tourist attractions nearby the accommodation location
  • discounts for shops, restaurants and other attractions in the area
  • friends or other mind-like travellers that are nearby
  • new posts and updates from friends and followed contacts
  • budget-related information (usage, local shopping habits, lower currency exchange rate)
  • insights into the culture, cuisine, history and tradition
  • traffic ahead

Offer comparisons

If you’re connecting your app with any booking solutions (accommodation, flights, taxi, tickets – anything), your users might find it useful to have a price comparison within the app to choose the offer with the best value.

You might even go beyond comparing prices and, in addition, highlight all the differences between the options (like the distance from the ocean, shopping mall or swimming pool).

Travel guide & tips

You can encourage your users to discover the destination by providing them tips and insight into the culture, habits, history and communication specifics within your app. Modern travellers will appreciate it as they often want to immerse in localism.

Your travel planning app as a tour guide could inform tourists about local attractions and events according to their preferences.


You can integrate the app with payment solutions to allow users to make purchases directly from the app: pay for car rentals, tickets or accommodation. By connecting a bank account or a credit card, they might also gain access to budget management features!


If you want to engage users even more, you might consider implementing user-generated reviews. They can review places they visited, hotel rooms they booked or restaurants they dined in – everything they can hire or visit using the app.

You can enable reviews with comments, or a simpler version – star ratings.

Maps & navigation

Good travel apps do not skip maps. Map integration with e.g. Google Maps, the most popular solution of this kind, is crucial for every travel app. That allows users not only to plan road trips but also discover the nearest, best-rated or most interesting places and attractions in the area.

However, if you’re building a trip planner that allows one to go off the beaten track, keep in mind there might be no internet connection. Therefore, maps within your app should work offline, and it would be best if they were supported by GPS localisation tracking.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Nowadays, merging digital and analogue worlds is becoming more and more popular. Therefore, to enhance the travel experience, you might implement Augmented Reality solutions into your app. You can literally show people historical scenes that took place in the area they are in, reconstruct destroyed monuments or animate steady objects. The sky is the limit for your imagination.

Voice assistant

Depending on what features are crucial for your travel planner app, you might want to implement a voice assistant. It’s a must-have in navigation-based apps but not necessary when you offer just an itinerary planner with booking features.

Keep up with market trends, as you might discover that what you see as great is not necessary from your target audience’s perspective. According to Statista, only about 36% of people who use digital tools to plan their trips use voice-activated search engines.

Sharing and collaboration

Sharing is a must-have feature for everyone but solo travellers. If people are travelling together, they should have access to the same trip plan, but they might want to show it to their relatives and friends, too. Some of them might consider it as a safety feature as everybody knows where this person should be at the moment and can take action if they’re not there.

File storage

There might be a lot of necessary documentation when planning a trip – hotel rooms purchase confirmation, flight tickets, food allergies list, medicaments prescriptions… Therefore, file storage might come in handy to keep everything in one place and share those files with co-travellers. Just make sure to encourage users and make this feature easily accessible.

Packing checklist

For many, the worst nightmare when it comes to an upcoming trip is to pack bags. Everyone has forgotten about something at least once and knows how inconvenient it is to have a laptop without a charger. Your trip planner might help the users to pack themselves by providing a pre-made and editable list of items they should take with them based on location, weather or activities they have specified in the itinerary.

However, it’s more than a feature for the app than the app itself as a similar one already exists – check PackPoint (maybe you could even integrate with it!).

Stats & trip summaries

Some users might appreciate it if travel planning apps showed them where they were and what they visited, how many miles they travelled or how many points they collected during your in-app street games.

You may consider integrating your app with the most popular health apps that track steps and vitals as well as think about a smartwatch app. People love colourful charts, push notifications with achievements and goals to be beaten.

Booking and reservations

When people are planning their trip, they need to decide where to go and where to stay. For this reason, your app might offer hotel reservations and booking hotel rooms. Those might even be enriched by user-generated reviews that allow everyone to evaluate the accommodation quality. It can also show the nearby tourist attractions.

What might come in handy but is not common in existing apps is a comparison feature. Choosing a place, we’re considering more than one offer, and sometimes, those are details that matter – the distance to the beach, the location of the nearest shopping mall or a metro station. People might need to compare available children’s amenities or apartment equipment.

You could enhance users’ immersion in various locations by offering Virtual Reality Tours as well.

Keep in mind you’ll probably need an in-app purchases feature for booking solutions to work.


As an all-in-one trip planner tool, your app could also offer flight bookings, car rental or taxi ordering. You might also integrate with Google Maps to see where the taxi is or where to put the rental car.

You could also implement a public transportation itinerary tracking – buses, trains and metro – to help users to commute without the need to call a taxi.

Weather conditions

Your trip planner might offer a weather forecast feature to not only inform about the current weather in the chosen location but also to affect the list of items to pack in real-time. Your app can even dynamically modify the itinerary depending on the weather conditions to avoid laying on a beach during the pouring rain!

Emergency services

It might be worthwhile to implement map integration for tracking user localisation on Google Maps. You can also implement location sharing, an alarm button or even voice-activated procedures in the case of an emergency or dangerous threat!

In-app language translator

A good add-on for your app might be a connection with Google Translate, but your app might go even further. You can use a mobile camera to scan the surroundings and, using Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence, translate texts and place them on buildings or banners instead of the original ones.

Offline access

When you’re building a travel app, keep in mind that users might go off the beaten track and lose their Internet connection. Therefore, it’s best to ensure that users will be able to access many features offline – the most important ones are maps and navigation to find the way back in case they get lost.


Every travel planning app offers user support. It’s not only crucial to help users solve issues they encounter but also an amazing source of knowledge about what to improve in your app.

You can either go for a regular, human option or try using a bot!

Agency panel

Depending on your trip planner app development goals, intention and monetisation model you chose, you might need to develop an agency portal. In fact, it’s a must-have each time your travel planner app is about to offer 3rd party’s services. The agency panel allows your partners to manage their companies and their offering. It also allows to manage bookings and monitor the fee value.

The functionality of an agency or partner portal depends on the possibilities they should acquire within your app. You might need to develop a separate app for this purpose or use the admin panel with a bit more advanced access control management feature.

What Affects Trip Planning App Development Costs?

There are many factors that affect the final price of the app, and the most obvious are the hourly rates of developers (check Mike’s article about outsourcing to learn more). Aside from this, it’s important whether you’re building an MVP or a full product. If you would like to learn more about that, check my ultimate development cost guide and explanation of MVP costs (with a simple trip planning app cost example!). However, from my experience, you need around $30K to build a simple but sensible MVP.

However, keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to estimate the cost properly. It’s mostly because every project evolves, and therefore the scope of work is changing (and so are the costs). The second reason is that the estimations are based on the requirements provided to the developer, and that’s usually the very early stage. Unfortunately, at this stage (without going through a discovery phase), it’s hard to predict the exact app functionalities. If you want to learn more about what to expect, check my article on the specifics and challenges of estimations.

How to Monetise the App?

There are two main monetisation approaches you can choose – charge users or charge your partners. Let’s take a look at each solution.

Charge the users

You might want to offer your app free of charge to encourage users (especially at the beginning to gain any users or during the alfa and beta releases), but you might also choose one of the following monetisation models:

  • initial discounted promotional rates (including lifetime offer)
  • economical package combined with an existing product
  • freemium – complimentary access with restricted features and a free trial for all-inclusive features
  • flat rate – a single constant charge
  • per-user pricing, where payment depends on the number of users rather than features
  • pricing on a per-feature basis
  • in-app purchases when users pay for, e.g. one trip planned
  • tiered – multiple packages offering different features for distinct user segments (higher prices for premium features)
  • pay-as-you-go, which is a usage-dependent pricing model

Charge the partners

The second option is to charge partners in this kind of travel app – other companies that are allowed to promote their services and products within your app. You can offer them the following possibilities:

  • Subscription model when they pay a regular fee for being listed in your app
  • Advertising when partners can present their offer free of charge but pay for promoting it (via push messages with discounts, paid listings, etc.)
  • Commissions on sales when partners pay a stable fee or per cent from the transitions (e.g. room booked, in-app purchases of their products)

You can learn more about monetisation strategies in Katarzyna’s article. She goes into detail about app monetisation models, exploring their characteristics, benefits, and disadvantages. I recommend giving it a read!

What Tech Stack To Choose?

Now, you might be wondering what devices to address with your trip planner app – desktop or mobile. Both? iOS or Android?

This is a crucial decision when it comes to trip planner app development that will shape the project and should be driven by its essential features. If you don’t need advanced mobile device possibilities but you want to build your travel app for web and mobile, you might choose a Progressive Web App (PWA) or Responsive Web App (RWA). If you need a mobile app only, you can build a cross-platform (hybrid) one that works well on iOS and Android. However, all those types have their limitations when it comes to app features, which are absent in native apps (built for one mobile platform only – iOS or Android).

If you want to learn more about those types of apps, I suggest you check Robert’s article on cross-platform and native app development. He discusses not only the pros and cons of the above-mentioned solutions (including their influence on the app’s performance) but also particular technologies that come in handy.

How to Test The App and Collect User Feedback?

Gathering user feedback is a crucial step in building not only a travel app but any brand-new product. When you already have a marketed solution, you have the source of data and many opportunities to ask users what they do (or don’t) like.

In the case of the MVP, it’s quite different – you have nothing except some market insights based on a non-development MVP. You don’t have usage stats, a support team who receives complaints or a place for direct, even positive feedback. Your goal is to create one.

There are a few types of testing during the travel app development process that you can use at this stage. You can conduct a survey to assess whether the first designs match users’ expectations or conduct A/B testing to ask them to choose one out of two design options for some design elements. You can test the interactive prototype to define whether it’s easy and intuitive for users to navigate within the app and whether your app has a user-friendly interface.

However, those tests are useful when you’re designing the app to decide which way to go. When you have at least a part of the app developed, you can gain benefits from the MVP approach and offer the app to some users in a closed alfa and beta release. In this case, you create a viable version of the app (as a free travel app, of course!) with essential features only and release it immediately to people who are willing to participate in the testing stage and shape further development decisions. They are aware that the app is not perfect or flawless, but they are there to share user feedback and help you improve it.

Open your trip planning app to users as soon as possible. Listen to them and address their complaints and requests. Build the roadmap for your travel app based on their feedback to make sure that the app you’ll finally launch to market will suit your target audience perfectly. That’s the secret of successful travel apps.

How to Gain Users Even Before the Launch?

As you probably noticed, the MVP approach in app development with alfa and beta releases is an amazing opportunity to not only test the app but also to gain early adopters (that can soon might become your app’s ambassadors!).

However, you can start building your mailing list even before any release, even before you start the travel app development process. If you read my article on MVP types (if not, I suggest you check it out as it might be beneficial and inspiring), you probably noticed that some of those types are indeed focused on gaining an audience. You can validate your idea by building a landing page with a subscription form, which is actually very common in such cases.

Remember, though, that a sole landing page won’t bring you any results. You need to tell the world about it, which means investing in marketing activities. You can invest in Google Ads, social media ads (on platforms popular among your target audience only), building organic search visibility and many more.

All of this you can do even before you upload the app to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. In my opinion, it’s the hardest part – convincing users to plan their next trip with your app instead of a competitive one. But if you do your marketing homework, you’ll succeed. Keep in mind that most of us are willing the explore new possibilities if they suit our needs and preferences better.

The Key to Success in Building a Travel Planning App Is the Audience

The travel industry is growing, and so are online travel services and the demand for travel planning apps. People expect to have one app they can use to plan their whole trip – from booking apartments and flights to planning their activities – but almost everybody is frustrated at some point while planning their trips online. That means there’s a lot to be done in the travel apps area, and there’s room for your trip-planning app, too.

While setting up a startup travel business, start by investigating the target audience properly. Gather research conclusions about what annoys people the most and analyse what the audience is saying about competitive solutions (you can use some internet listening tools like Brand24).

Most importantly, the app should be useful in whatever you offer them to do – booking accommodation, planning their road trip, navigating or discovering local attractions and culture. To make that happen, you need to understand the people for whom you’re developing the travel planning app and provide them with exactly what they need.

I hope I’ll be able to plan my next trip in your app! Keep my fingers crossed for your travel app development! If you have any questions regarding travel apps, don’t hesitate to contact me via email or LinkedIn.

Lead Project Manager at TeaCode

Gabriela is a lead project manager and keeps in mind that the crucial thing in project management is always seeing the business objectives. She takes care of clients' business outcomes, and that's why clients usually give her a lot of independence.

As a web developer, she understands teammates, which is an asset in project management. UX designer background is handy when clients ask her for advice or consult their app ideas. Having this knowledge, she can address their confusedness or curiosity.

Data analysis and research have no secrets from her as she's a physicist. She knows how to discover data patterns and dependencies, which brings additional value to her everyday work.

Gabriela Jarzębska
Gabriela Jarzębska

Gabriela is a lead project manager and keeps in mind that the crucial thing in project management is always seeing the business objectives. She takes care of clients' business outcomes, and that's why clients usually give her a lot of independence. As a web developer, she understands teammates, which is an asset in project management. UX designer background is handy when clients ask her for advice or consult their app ideas. Having this knowledge, she can address their confusedness or curiosity. Data analysis and research have no secrets from her as she's a physicist. She knows how to discover data patterns and dependencies, which brings additional value to her everyday work.