Vaca - Vacation Saving Made Easy
Vaca is a micro-savings service mobile app that helps make a user's dream vacation come true. It intelligently suggests to users pre-planned trips and their itineraries, simply by understanding their interests and their trip timeframe. Users are encouraged to save up for the big trip by breaking down the cost into a small and manageable amount every day. To save, users can attach a variety of funding sources (bank account, credit card, paypal, etc), schedule payments, and create adhoc payments. While the user is saving for their trip, Vaca suggests other related activities that they can add to their trip. Daily notifications are sent of their savings through SMS and also reminder calls when their trips are a week away. Moreover, during the trip, special offers are sent for food and upgrade packages related to the trip.
Booking and Saving Screens
Vaca behaves as the "budgeting interface" between the user planning a trip and actually booking it. As a hybrid web/mobile app, React was used as the frontend framework that integrated well with devices of all screen sizes. Each screen of the app is considered its own UI component and this setup allows for unit testing of each screen before launch. In addition, a Python backend was written to serve as a web scraper and a Node.js server for database APIs so that real-time travel data could be kept accurate and custom to the user's needs. As one of five full stack developers on this hackathon project, I successfully integrated the web scraper utilizing both the Stripe and Nexmo APIs with reactive components that changed based on user's location preference and trip itinerary. A major achievement I accomplished with this implementation was avoiding having to use a websocket service like Socket.io, which although can be good for real-time tracking apps, did cause the scraped data to display incorrectly on the frontend UI as well as production issues on the AWS server. With this, the user can see their trip information without having to wait for the socket to refresh.
Sample Trip Budgeting - New Orleans
The Vaca mobile app was developed as part of the TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 NYC Hackathon and I worked as a full stack developer with four other industry developers and one designer. As a vacation budgeting app, not only does it "gamify" the money-saving process, but it also keeps user-friendliness in mind by acting as a buddy for the user during the saving and booking process.
- React Hybrid Web/Mobile Development
- Travelocity Python Web Scraper
- Stripe Payments + Nexmo SMS Notification Services
- Real-time Budget Planning