Travel Gear

Apps that make holiday travel easier



Whether it’s the stress of family, traffic or flights, there are apps that can help you solve problems and find peace. That being said, it’s good to remember that apps, and access to all the information they provide, have only been around for a few years. The key to a better travel experience this holiday is to remain flexible and remember that things don’t always go as planned—sometimes all you can do is wait it out. But it never hurts to be proactive, which is where these apps come in.

Let’s start with one that can help before you even leave the house. Given the potential stress of holiday travel, don’t let confusion about your trip make things worse. You can put all your documentation in one place with TripIt (free). Just forward your confirmation emails and it creates a comprehensive itinerary with offline access to your information. [image]

Whether you’re headed to the airport or driving to your destination, a good weather app can help you decide if you should leave extra time for your journey. Try Yahoo Weather (free). It’s clean, simple to navigate, and has cool little windmills to suggest wind speed. If you want more details, use Dark Sky for iOS ($3.99) or AccuWeather Platinum for Android ($2.99). Both offer up-to-the-minute forecasts and pinpoint predictions.

The day before Thanksgiving isn’t just a busy day to fly, it’s also one of the busiest driving days of the year. Waze (free) can help you navigate with real-time traffic and route updates augmented by users.

Need information, but can’t get a signal? Use WiFi Finder (free) to locate Wi-Fi hotspots in your area. Flight cancelled? Stuck in a snowstorm? Haven’t slept in two days due to Uncle Fred’s snoring? HotelTonight (free) specializes in last-minute hotel bookings.

If your flight is cancelled, delayed, you’re bumped or there’s a problem with your luggage, know what you’re due and what assistance the airline must provide. There used to be a Flyers Rights app for iOS, but it seems to be gone. As an alternative, go to the DOT Fly Rights page, copy it and create a PDF file, and load it onto your phone. You now have your own personal Flyers Rights app, albeit one that’s a bit rudimentary. [image]

With GateGuru (free), you can track flights and gates, but you also have access to all kinds of information related to your itinerary, from where to check in, to weather at the airport, to amenities near your gate and in far-flung concourses—very helpful if you’re delayed and want to find good food or a massage bar (someone has to work the knot out of your right shoulder from Uncle Fred’s overzealous hug). For even more detail about flight status, try FlightTrack 5 ($4.99). If you want to know more about the airport itself, download iFly Airport Guide (free).

Check out more information the best apps to get you through holiday travel season

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