Travel Tips

Best Travel Apps

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I was hoping My TSA app would help with learning about lines like this. But it has a major flaw.
I was hoping My TSA app would help with learning about lines like this. But it has a major flaw.

Travel apps help me navigate in new cities, keep track of all of my flights and check out the wait times in security lines. Oh, and also locate the best food (well, relatively) at the airport.

The apps I use most frequently are:

Waze

If I had a quarter for everyone I’ve told about Waze, I could buy my own plane. Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. All the info is in real time, so if there’s a jam up ahead, the “Waze lady” as we call her, calmly navigates you around it. Even when I’m driving in my own hood, I check with her for the best route to take.

GateGuru

This app has lists of all the amenities available at airports, from what retail outlets are on your terminal to where to eat. Reviews have tipped me off to the best food. It won my heart when it led me to a killer reuben sandwich in O’Hare.

FlightTrack

I have entered every flight I’ve taken since 2010 into this app. There may be better ones, but I like this one for keeping my flight numbers and times in one place. It gives me updates if there is a delay.

FlightBoard turns my iPhone into a live, real-time flight board.
FlightBoard turns my iPhone into a live, real-time flight board.

FlightBoard

I just discovered I had this never-used app and it’s awesome. It turns my phone into a live, real-time flight board. I can look at arrivals and departures for any airport in the world. I particularly like that it has not only the gate I’m leaving from, but the one I’m landing in, which is critical information if you have a tight layover.

My TSA

This was another app I kinda forgot I had. But now that lines at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport are stretching almost as far as Chattanooga, I’ll be checking the My TSA app for wait times. This handy app allows you to check wait times at just about any airport in the country. And it lets me know whether the airport I’m flying out of has TSA Precheck and which airlines it is available for.

Hey, wait a minute. After looking over the app, I see the highest it goes is 31+ for wait times. So that’s pretty useless. Is it 31+ 20? Or is it 31+ 90, which at two hours is an insane amount of time to wait. So scratch this one for any airport where you suspect long lines. If you know of a better one, let me know.

I was thinking about my favorite travel apps after reading through a report from ARC from Applause, which analyzed three million U.S. consumer reviews of the 118 most popular apps.

The report points to six apps that got above average scores.

During a layover, the first thing I do is open the GateGuru app to find out what is available on my terminal.
During a layover, the first thing I do is open the GateGuru app to find out what is available on my terminal.

GasBuddy. Finds the cheapest gas around you.

I should use this one, but generally fill up at Costco. And on the road, we are in my husband’s car and I leave it up to him.

Booking.com. An online accommodation booking website.

I’ve never tried it. I told my husband about Hotel Tonite. He has used it with varying success – one place was a dump and he couldn’t stay there, but generally he has had good luck with it.

Groupon. A deal-of-the-day recommendation service.

I actually never thought of using it when I am out of town. Good idea, though.

Waze by Google.

As reported, saves my sanity by navigating me around traffic.

TripAdvisor. Travel website company providing reviews of travel-related content.

I use TripAdvisor at home when planning a trip all the time, but have never really used the app. I probably should.

Yelp. Publishes crowd-sourced reviews to help people find great local businesses.

I’ve never spent much time on Yelp. But when I was in Houston last year and my daughter was with me in the hotel and had terrible pains in her leg and we didn’t know where to get medical care at 4:30 AM, she immediately turned to Yelp. We found a lovely 24-hour urgent care that way. It would be way more fun looking for the best Thai restaurant, however.

Read the full report for a lot more on the travel apps. Like 13 pages of information.

 

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