Most of us book flights, research trips, and pay for hotels using Chrome on desktop or mobile devices. Chrome is the most popular web browser on the planet. Chances are that over 50% of you reading this are using Google’s browser.
A key factor in Chrome’s popularity is the optional extensions (a type of add-on or plugin) that give you features not included in the base application. Many extensions are serious productivity tools, some are for pure entertainment, and some can save you lots of money.
Let’s take a look at some Chrome extensions that can help you become a travel hacker. Most of these extensions also work with Microsoft Edge, Brave, and Opera browsers.
Chrome Extensions For Travel Hacking in no particular order:
With travel restrictions, mandatory travel insurance, and changes in visa policies, travel into 2022 will be more difficult to plan. The pandemic has forced everyone considering travel to examine the details of entry requirements for their desired destinations. Switching back and forth between travel booking websites and official country websites can be exhausting and well, just plain annoying.
Peanut is a browser extension that gives you access to all the information you need in your browser. On Google Flights, Booking, and Expedia, you’ll find a handy box that shows you exactly what you need to know in terms of visas, insurance, and current border restrictions.
The Peanut Chrome extension (also works on Brave and Microsoft Edge) is free and works flawlessly. Use this extension as your first travel hack this year.
An alternative to Peanut for business travelers is Shep.
For quick location changes, however, it’s a great extension and it does offer a high level of protection from hackers and snoopers.
Without some kind of privacy, I wouldn’t recommend doing any sensitive work (credit card payments, email logins, etc) while on the road. In order to use the Chrome extension, you need a NordVPN subscription (and you also get the full software). I think it’s a must-have for travelers.
Roomsteals searches hotel search engines for wholesale hotel rates. Get cheaper hotel rates than booking portals like Hotels.com and Booking.com offer to consumers by using the RoomSteals extension for Google Chrome.
As you browse travel websites, RoomSteals presents better rates in your browser. Almost every large hotel has discounted rooms available to wholesale customers. Regular customers aren’t aware of these special offers, but this browser extension reveals them all to you.
It’s important to note that while using this tool will search for cheaper rates than you can find by searching yourself, you’ll still want to weigh the pros and cons of each booking. For access to the deals, Roomsteals charges $95 a year. Booking this way generally means you cannot use hotel loyalty programs.
Deals can help you save a great deal of money when you follow these rule:
- You can find huge savings on expensive hotels
- You book hotels on a regular basis throughout the year
- It is worth foregoing the hotel loyalty rewards for the difference in price
Honey automatically finds discounts on any website that offers coupons and discount codes for products and services. For example, let’s say you’ve found a hotel you like on Booking.com (or any other booking website or service).
When you arrive on the payment page, Honey will check to see if it has discounts for the site based on your selection. It’s a great money saver that really needs no work on your part. I’ve saved quite a bit of money with the extension.
Alternatives to Honey for finding discounts on travel booking and travel gear are Lustre and Cently (see below)
Cently works like this: have you ever booked a hotel or flight and then wondered if there was a discount coupon code or lower price available somewhere else? Or maybe you’re shopping for vacation packages and want to search around for discounts mentioned on blogs but you don’t have the time.
Cently is a browser extension that finds you discounts by searching and applying coupons to your flight and hotel booking engine. If you have the extension activated, Cently will automatically prompt you about your coupon code when booking. It’s a great travel hacking tool that can save you a lot of money and it works on many sites, not just in the travel space.
Gopher is a tool that helps you save money and get cashback from hotel bookings.
Travelers can easily find out if a hotel offers ‘direct rates’ by installing this browser extension. Install Gopher on your browser and use it with your favorite hotel booking website to book your next hotel. Gopher will display a friendly little graphic if a hotel discount is available.
It will take a few seconds to see results, but from experience, I can tell you that it’s worth it. When you can save tens or hundreds of dollars in 10 to 20 seconds, what’re a few seconds?
Although the results are not always impressive, check the extension whenever you decide on a hotel to see if you can find it cheaper than displayed on the booking website.
Readlang Web Reader
A great little extension that I’ve been using for years. It deserves to be more popular than it is. Readlang lets you translate sections of websites on the fly. So if you’ve landed on a page with some foreign language text you can click to translate words directly in the browser.
Especially good for people learning languages. Words that you translate are added to a flashcard system for later language practice.
Hotel Wifi Test
Hotel WiFi Test is a great tool for the modern traveler who can’t be without decent WiFi. A must-have for digital nomads that book hotels.
It works like this: As you browse your favorite hotel booking site (I like hotels.com but booking.com and expedia.com are also good), the WiFi Test extension reports the WiFi speed and reliability. If fast internet is important, you’ll be able to filter out the slow dogs here.
Helps prevent that sinking feeling when you get when you realize your hotel’s internet speed is so bad it would be better for your productivity if there was none at all.
Pruvo is a service that removes the buyer remorse or FOMO that you sometimes get when you book a hotel. Did I book too early? Will there be a better deal with a discount later? Should I wait and keep checking prices?
Well, I’m happy that I don’t have to do that anymore. Add Pruvo to Chrome and you’ll be asked to provide an email address in a browser window that pops up. That’s all the configuration you need to do to get going with this money-saving tool.
When you book a hotel, you can do one of two things:
- Send the confirmation email to a Pruvo email address
- Click the Chrome extension and automatically send the details to Pruvo.
The second option is the clear winner here.
Pruvo reckons 40% of hotel prices drop after reservations are made. So you don’t want to miss out on any potential savings. Pruvo finds a lower-priced deal so you can cancel the original and take the new price on a different site. And it’s free. Enough said.
Flight Fare Compare
Flight Fare Compare is a tool for comparing Google Flights to several other large flight search engines. When you’ve found a fare you like in Google Flights, click the Chrome extension button to compare the fare with prices from Skyscanner, Momondo, and Kayak.
When I’m doing flight research, I often use all 4 of these websites so this tool is a timesaver as I don’t need to open new windows and perform the search across all of them.
Pocket isn’t just for travel but it can be a very powerful resource collection tool for your travel plans.
Found some interesting articles about a city you plan to visit? Don’t have time (or don’t want) to read them right now? Add them to Pocket to read later on your computer, tablet, or phone. I use Pocket for saving visa information pages, subway maps, and important information about destinations.
If you’re like me and you check multiple websites and portals with different currency and country settings in order to find deals, you’ll enjoy this next extension. Session Buddy lets you open new sessions (for different users/personas/logins) in Chrome tabs without affecting the current tabs. If you’ve already logged into a Hotels.com session with your main Gmail account, you can easily open a new session to Hotels.co.uk and login via a different email address.
My experience has been that prices for hotels on Expedia, Booking, and Hotels.com can vary quite a bit depending on the currency and country settings. Give Session Buddy a go for some serious Hotel Travel hacking and travel planning.
Evernote Web Clipper
Evernote is an excellent note-taking and organization tool. I’ve been using it for almost 10 years and although the competition bites at its heels regularly, nothing has surpassed Evernote’s capacity to collect and organize information. I use it as a sort of brain dump. My travel plans go into an Evernote Journal and each idea is a new note. Along with the notes, I add photos, web clippings, and anything else that might be relevant.
Use Evernote’s Web Clipper to clip items of interest in your browser to notes in your app. Organize them later around your travel plans.
Automatic Time Zone Converter
This neat extension plugin doesn’t directly help you find flights, store itineraries or compares deals. But it offers a fast way to convert time zones directly in the browser. Saves a ton of time and potential headaches.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can browser extensions save you money on travel gear?
Yes, browser extensions like Honey and Lustre are great for finding discounts and coupons for travel gear.
Can travel-related browser extensions be dangerous or bad for privacy?
With all extensions or plugins for web browsers, it’s worth considering what you’re getting for free. Most developers of free extensions make money by using your data, which you agree to when you install the extension. And poorly maintained products can be a security risk. Read the developer websites of every tool before you dive in.
Are browser extensions for travel hacking legal?
Extensions that are approved for use by the main browsers are generally compliant with laws around flight booking and travel.