Yet again the Berlin winter refuses to budge, and you’re longing for a getaway adventure. These hometown start-ups will help you make your escape! We put them to the test.
Let’s face it, booking travel can be a hassle, and so price comparison sites can be a great help in seeing all the available routes and costs at a glance. But usually you only get one mode of transport. Founded in Berlin by Harvard grad Naren Shaam following a pre-requisite backpacking trip around Europe, the website and app GoEuro lets you compare travel options by train, bus or plane to anywhere in the continent. Results can be filtered according to the cheapest, fastest and smartest “optimal combination of price, journey duration and time of departure” options. A neat tie-in with Airbnb also searches for accommodation in your destination of choice for the same dates.
After downloading the app, I found a steal of a deal for flights to Rome through Ryanair, and clicked “book now”. The app re-directed me to Expedia to make the booking, which cost €1 more than through the Ryanair site directly. But I can see how it’d be a handy tool for short trips between cities, backpackers planning their route (where sometimes, an overnight coach ride is cheaper than a flight and hotel), or to explore cities where the discount airlines don’t fly. Rating: ✈✈✈
If you’re likely to need a car on your adventures, Kreuzberg’s Free2Move app (formerly Carjump, before the majority of shares were sold to the French carmaker PSA Group last year) shows the availability of the main car-sharing providers, such as DriveNow and Car2Go and electric scooter company eMio, in your area. The idea is that with a single login, you’ll be able to simultaneously register for multiple providers (the usual fee and terms per provider apply), find nearby vehicles, compare prices and book in just one go. Once you fill out the registration details, you’ll need to scan your driver’s license to verify your identity (though some providers, such as DriveNow, ask for an additional separate verification) and then select the companies that you want to use or are already registered with. As well as showing the closest Mini Cooper in Berlin, it also works in other European cities. Definitely more convenient than scrolling through multiple apps to get home from Mitte on a rainy day, and perfect to get me around Rome, if I’m feeling brave! Rating: ✈✈✈✈
Once you’ve found the perfect flight, the next obvious step is accommodation. So you go online and book a hotel… but what if you’re getting ripped off? Kreuzberg-based DreamCheaper aims to make your hotel reservation cheaper after you book. Provided your reservation has free cancellation, if you forward it on the DreamCheaper team, their clever algorithm monitors hundreds of websites and rebooks (with your permission) every time the price drops. They currently achieve savings on every two out of three bookings, with an average discount of €75 or 15 percent per booking. If a saving is made, they take a 20 percent cut on the proviso that if they don’t save you anything, they don’t get anything either. So the onus and incentive on them to find you that bargain. Although it feels slightly shady, hotel booking sites are generally opaque anyway, and the chance to make some extra savings with limited effort sounds worth a try. What have you got to lose? Rating: ✈✈✈✈