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Streamlining Sports Travel: A Rundown of Apps, Sites and Platforms

10 Aug, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

If we’re honest, we can admit that multi-tasking is a myth. Event owners and rights holders for sports events are squeezed more tightly these days than ever before, and travel planning takes time. The rise of travel-related apps and search engines has helped cut through some of the red tape. Business Insider recently presented its list of favorites; a few of these can be helpful in the sports travel sector. Below are a few to recommend to athletes and attendees – and for you to use in your own business.

For favorable airfares, BI recommends ITA Matrix, Google Flights, Momondo, Hipmunk, JetRadar and SkyScanner. But if you want to be notified when a flight pattern hits a historical low, go to Airfare Watchdog. A 54-day window is seen as the average advance booking pattern.

In areas without a lot of infrastructure, Wikivoyage can be your new best friend, helping you find ways to get around, things to do, places to see, and things to eat — even in the most obscure places.

Need a data plan for international use? As sports tourism increases to areas outside the U.S., athletes and families will appreciate information on inexpensive prepaid data plans. (Many will work with their own carriers to make arrangements, but offering additional information can make you a hero.) One very convenient Wiki for this can tell you what prepaid SIM cards are available in any country, along with data, call and texting plans.

What vaccines will athletes need? Has there ever been a time when the subject of vaccinations, disease and immunities is as essential as it is now? Set athletes’ (or their families’) minds at ease by recommending the Centers for Disease Control's tool for vaccinations. Go to the site, enter the destination country and you’ll be presented with a list of suggested vaccinations. The tool even has some handy checkboxes in case you're pregnant or have any other outstanding conditions. And while no app, tool or site can replace a doctor’s advice, it can at least give a useful overview and help allow for appropriate planning.

Need a translator? Google Translate, available on the App Store or on Google Play, even allows for offline use, in case an international data plan isn’t available (or isn’t working for some reason.) Bonus point: It can read pictures, so you can take a photo of that directional sign and ask it to translate.

Need a travel guide and don’t know which to pick? Forget about the usual suspects like Yelp and Foursquare, and go to GuidePal which, according to its makers, uses local experts to curate interesting attractions in major cities. You can download the app on the App Store and Google Play.

Want your own app? Sports planners who are considering the development of an app for their event should allow plenty of time to investigate all options. A good discussion of how app development works can be found here. A discussion of the various types of apps being used in sports events today can be found here.

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