Planning for future trips is proven to increase happiness and these apps help make it a breeze

With IATA announcing the likelihood of leisure travel returning later this year and a potential travel bubble between Singapore and Australia starting in July, now is the time to plan that well-deserved trip. Going on a trip will surely be more complicated than before Covid, so we've rounded up tools to ease the burden. Here are the apps that deserve some real estate on your phone.

HoteLux

Launching a travel app in a midst of a pandemic may seem ill-advised, but for HoteLux the timing was perfect. “Although travel is currently limited, it's the best time to launch our app. Staycations are the closest thing we have to travel at the moment, and people have more knowledge about hotels and booking than ever before,” says Yihao Shi, managing director of HoteLux.

The membership-based luxury hotel reservation app provides users with instant booking confirmation and exclusive benefits at hotels such as Four Seasons, St. Regis and the Conrad Centennial in Singapore. But its game-changing feature is that members can earn points from the loyalty programmes like Marriott Bonvoy along with HoteLux points. While initially only available in Singapore, it has plans to expand to the rest of Asia as they see regional travel bouncing back first. 

The app is available for download on Android and iOS devices

Headspace

Practising mindfulness and meditation has become an integral part of keeping our mental health in check especially during the pandemic. One of the original players is Headspace, which has almost 60 million users across 190 countries. In January 2021, it announced a wellbeing collaboration with another global player, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, to provide “mindfulness exercises, guided meditations and sleep content to employees, corporate customers and guests”.

This alliance rolls out in Hyatt properties in the next couple of months. Hotel guests get complimentary access to the app via in-room content including expert guidance from a former monk and Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe. Moreover, World of Hyatt members also get exclusive offers and content through the app.

(Related: Inside the World's First Hotel Suite Designed by Takashi Murakami at Grand Hyatt Tokyo)

Hipcamp

Being in the wild is no longer the preserve of serious adventurers. Experiencing lockdowns in cities has increased many people’s desire to spend time in nature, whether that be on a short, gentle hike or a days-long camping trip. For those in search of unique outdoor experiences, Hipcamp is a godsend.

Dubbed the “Airbnb of the outdoors”, Hipcamp makes it easier to book stays in parks, cabins, yurts, treehouses and RVs, as well as glamping experiences. Currently only operating in the US, it has acquired an Australian counterpart and recently raised US$57 million of investment to fund further international expansion. A noteworthy resource to tap into once we can get past our own borders.

(Related: The Most Scenic Nature Trails to Hike and Explore in Singapore)