Tag Archives: apps

The 4 Essential Low-Cost Travel Apps


We know, we know: You’re overwhelmed with recommendations for new apps promising to help you save time and money. That’s why we’ve pared this list down to the four best apps for lowering your travel costs. We’ve downloaded them, taken them for a spin and confirmed they’ll each help you save toward your Five Ten Twenty Club goals. Keep in mind, we’ve intentionally omitted airfare app recommendations. (There are so many great options that we think it warrants a separate post in the near future). Check these apps out:

Beat Cheap/Free Long Distance Call App: Sipergy

Sure, we’ve all heard of Skype and newer competitors, such as Viber, but Sipergy does everything they do – but better. Make long distance calls without roaming charges and get ridiculously low rates on international calls. This helpful little app even helps you find free wi-fi hotspots anywhere you are on earth. Another bonus: Free voice and text translation. Take that, Skype.

Best Discount Hotel App: Hotel Tonight

So you know you want a hip hotel in Los Angeles at a deep discount, but what if you don’t know the city well enough to sift through the hundreds of selections that most hotel booking sites present? If it’s a concise, thoughtful selection of sharply discounted hotels you want, look no further than Hotel Tonight. A word to the wise: You can score outrageously great deals largely because the app only accepts bookings for same-day stays. Your correspondent scored a room at the Ian Schrager-designed Paramount Hotel in NYC for a measly $99. I couldn’t even find hostel beds for that low price on other sites.

Best Low-Cost Rental Car App: RelayRides

Isn’t it great when you visit your friends or family back home, and they offer to lend you their car? Well, RelayRides kinda works the same way: The app enables you to find other people’s cars that they’re willing to rent out at really great prices. The premise of the “sharing economy” isn’t new; it’s also the basis for popular sites like AirBnB. One additional advantage of RelayRides: They’re the only car sharing service now available at airports across the country, so you can now get the convenience of traditional airport car rentals — without the hefty price tag.

Best Low-Cost Gas App: Gas Buddy

You’re driving through a new city in search of cheap gas but don’t know where to go –unless you’ve got the Gas Buddy app. This sweet bit of technology pinpoints the cheapest gas options in your vicinity, making anything from road trips to big-city driving less of a wallet drain. Oh, and don’t forget to put your savings toward your Five Ten Twenty Club goals

Do you use other apps to help you stay on budget while traveling?

Share your favorites in our Community Forum!


Consumer Expert Chris Elliott’s Advice on Smart Phone Safety


Losing your smart phone isn’t just a pain in the behind — it can cost you a lot of money, too. Here at the Five Ten Twenty Club, we’re determined to help you better manage all your resources — including important valuables, such as your phone. That’s why we’ve asked recognized consumer expert, Chris Elliott for his advice on securing your phone both before and (gasp!) after it’s lost or stolen.

An Ounce of Prevention 

Sure, replacing a lost or stolen smart phone can cost big bucks. After all, who wants to pay hundreds of dollars for a new device? But not securing your phone while it’s still in your possession can cost you big time, too. Hackers can swipe your credit card or bank account numbers, steal important passwords, and otherwise drain your pockets.

One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is the careful use of apps. As Elliott notes,

” One of the most common way hackers access your cell phone information is by offering you infected apps. The best way around it is to get good security software and only download apps from a trusted source. Also, don’t download something unless you absolutely need it.”

Of course, some apps, such as those that enable smart phone security are a must. And using basic protections, such as good passwords is important, too, says Elliott. To review, here are the essential preventive steps:

  • Password and PIN-protect your phone adequately. Don’t use the same password for everything, because the hacker can then access all your information.
  • Only log-on to trusted wi-fi networks — and don’t forget to log-out once done. Try to use only encrypted pages while in public places.
  • Download smart phone security apps, such as those enabling remote wiping, locking and data back-up. Here are some offered by Verizon.

Once Your Phone is Gone

Once your phone is gone, you’ll want to notify police if you believe it was stolen, and then your wireless carrier. Now’s the time you’ll be glad you downloaded remote wiping, data back-up and location apps. Lock your phone and clear it of important data remotely. Provide the police with any remote location data you’re able to retrieve, and also contact your employer’s IT and security departments if it was a work phone. As Elliott says,

“Remotely wipe the phone once it’s missing, just in case. Most carriers have special pages for customers who lose their phones. For example, here’s AT&T’s.

Of course, once your phone is gone, there are no guarantees you’ll get it back – no matter how well you prepared. So Elliott offers one last piece of advice that makes great financial sense:

“If you’re forgetful, or are concerned about losing your phone, consider insurance.”

That’s the sort of financial foresight that makes us at Five Ten Twenty Club proud.


How do you protect your phone? Have you used any apps to help secure your data and phone, or have you ever had your smart phone stolen?

Share your experiences on our Community Forum!


A veteran journalist and consumer advocate, Chris Elliot is the author of Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals (Wiley). He also writes a column for The Washington Post and blogs about personal finance at Mint.com.