The holiday season is full of joy and sharing, but it’s also one of the most stressful times of the year. We turn into frantic shoppers and run around all day, every day, taking care of all the preparations. Despite this being one of the longest vacation times of the year, it is also a main source of frustration. Good news – that nifty little computer you carry in your pocket could make everything so much better!
Our devices can really make the holidays jollier. In this post, our main goal is to help you figure out how you can harness the power of Android and make Santa seem like a snail. We have curated a comprehensive list of apps, services, products and other tools to give you the boost you need, so let’s get started.
Finding the best deals
Groupon is one of the most popular Android apps for finding good deals on the daily. With support for over 500 cities, it is almost guaranteed many of you will be covered. And these deals range from tech to food, clothes, entertainment and more. They do have themed collections for holidays and special occasions, so you can be sure you will find a Christmas gift or two.
DailySteals is actually a very popular website for finding deals, but they have joined the mobile realms and now cater to everyone on-the-go. These are mostly tech-related offers, and as the name entails, they usually last only one day. Maybe you could just download the app and check for cool deals once a day – you might find something you like!
Woot.com is another very popular website that switches its deals around once a day. It’s always a hit or miss with these sites, so you best be prepared for when those cool offers do show up. You can download the app and keep track of everything that goes up on the site.
If you are a fan of finding deals online, you have probably heard of Slickdeals. This site is huge, and for very good reasons. I really can’t think of another site where you can find as many deals as in here. This is because Slickdeals happens to be a community-driven site. Its users share, rate and find deals any time of the day, every day of the year.
Amazon has always been a good source for low prices, something their app clearly showcases. Not only because it allows users to find a sea of products available for purchasing, but Amazon also has its Gold Box Deals, which you can easily navigate through, using the app.
To make matters even more interesting, the Amazon Shopping application makes it easy for you to see what online prices for other products are. Just grab any product at a store, scan it (or the bar code) and see how much it would cost to get it straight from Amazon. It’s also very helpful if you go to stores that happen to price match Amazon (like Best Buy).
Talking about Best Buy, you can also grab the popular retailer’s app and keep track of all the tech you need. They also happen to have their daily deals, and you can even see if products you need are available at your local stores. I use this app at least once a week and it always works like a charm!
Are you a frequent Walmart buyer? You can find these stores pretty much anywhere in the country (and many parts of the world). They tend to have some of the best prices around, which makes it a good download already, but the reason why I really like this app is the Savings Catcher feature.
Savings Catcher allows the customer to scan his/her receipt after a purchase. The service will then search for local competitors’ prices and price match them by giving you the difference in the form of a gift card. This is pretty awesome, if you ask me, and it takes little to no work from your part.
During the holidays, time is not only money, it is also precious moments you could spend enjoying with your loved ones. Forget about the cash and searching through all your pockets for cards. Your phone is always conveniently available, so take advantage of it by using mobile payments.
Of course, our favorite contact-less payment service is Android Pay. Pretty much any NFC-clad smartphone can use it, and merchants continue signing up to support the service. It will save you time and awe plenty of people. It’s actually still one of the best conversation starters, in my experience.
Finding your way home for the holidays (or visiting somewhere new)
December is one of the busiest times for airports and other transportation services. Not all of us can jump in a car and drive days to go visit family across the country, so you will definitely need some help getting home for the holidays.
Want to make sure you don’t forget anything before jumping on that plane? I love using Google Keep for keeping track of all my to-dos. It’s Google’s official app, so it works great with all Android devices, and it happens to be super simple. Just create a list of all the things you need to take and check them off as you pack them. Then make another list of errands you have to take care of before leaving!
Many of you are probably going to places you are not familiar with. Some say the best tool is the one you always have with you, and for Android users the pre-installed location & navigation app is Google Maps. By the way, this is also arguably the best option around, so it’s a win-win situation. I mean, people from other platforms go out of their way to download Google Maps!
Yes, I just went there… a mapping app that is not from Google! But why would an Android-focused website recommend that? Because we know other manufacturers and developers can do great products, as well.
I happen to like HERE Maps for a couple of reasons. The first is that they offer offline maps for over 100 cities. Google has a way o save mapping information too, but it’s not nearly as convenient and straight forward. I also love that HERE Maps knows the speed limits for all streets. I’ve never actually encountered a situation in which the app doesn’t know how fast I should be going.
Tired of all them Google apps yet? We are not, and it’s because the Search Giant truly has some of the best services around!
We know some of you will be traveling to foreign countries this holiday season, which can be a challenge if you don’t know the local language. Google Translate is totally awesome. Aside from supporting over 90 languages, it can serve all your needs. Easily type into a word box or speak to the phone and have it translate your words.
Not cool enough? How about live text translation by using the camera? Yes, that is possible too. Just point your camera at any writing and see it convert to your language of choice.
Kayak is one of the most popular apps for finding flights, booking hotels and renting vehicles. The application has a 4.5-star rating in the Google Play Store, and for good reason. Kayak makes it easy to find all your accommodations while traveling. The app is simple and very clean, and it will do the job with no issues. If you are not staying with the parents this holiday, you could always go with this one!
Surely, hotels are not for everyone. Maybe you want something a bit more homey and less crowded for your holiday stay, and Airbnb is great at finding just that. Airbnb is a platform people can use to rent their homes to interested members. It’s safe, comfortable, easy and sometimes even more affordable than traditional hotels.
You probably won’t have a car during your travels either (unless you rent one), so Uber will definitely be a great tool to keep around. Yes, we know there are plenty of other awesome ride-sharing apps out there, but Uber happens to be the one most available; not only in the USA, but also in may other countries. This is the main reason why we decided to pick this one for the list.
Uber is a service in which people can call upon a private driver to take them anywhere. It’s cheaper than a cab and service tends to be awesome. I use it all the time for my weekend adventures!
Did you end up taking your car (or renting one)? You will need to gas up at some point, and we all know how pricey that can get! Using GasBuddy you can find the cheapest gas prices within your vicinity. It’s crazy how quickly those cents of difference can add up! The app sure needs some work when compared to the sweet 2015 designs we see nowadays, but it works.
This one is going to sound a little obvious to many of you, but many others have no idea how helpful Google Search and Google Now can really be. Google Search’s knowledge graph is immense, so you could ask a bunch of information about key locations and buildings. In addition, Google can compute tips, work as a calculator, make money conversions, translate between languages and more. Google Now will even give you information on your flights, which it pulls from Gmail. It’s a total life-saver; the only downside is that it does need an internet connection.
Need help finding the best gifts for your friends and family? If the apps listed earlier in this article are not good enough for you, we have a plethora of comprehensive best gifts lists for every type of person. Here are some of the most popular ones!
So there you have it. These are all the tools you can have in your smartphone to become the holiday hero your family needs you to be. We hope they make your days at least a bit easier, and please do hit the comments to share your own tips for saving the day with Android during the season! Are there any apps, services or products you would recommend your fellow Android smartphone bearers?