Travel Tips

10 Best Travel Apps

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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. Here are the best travel apps I use most frequently.

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.

She has led us astray a few times for no apparent reason, so she’s lost a little credibility. But she’s still the best in town. Any town.

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. One note: it’s not always the most up to date app.

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

Tripit

Once I discovered this app, it jumped to the top of my list as my all-time favorite travel app. It keeps track of all of my bookings, from flights to hotels to cars to Airbnbs. And it couldn’t be easier. When I get a confirmation email, I just forward it to Tripit and it goes on my app,

With the pro version, totally worth the $49 a year, I can keep track of all of my airline and hotel points. Tripit will remind me if they are about to expire.

One of my favorite features is Tripit sends me a text when I have a layover telling me where my next gate is and exactly how much time I have to get there. It feels like someone is looking out for me in the lonely world of airline travel when you’re flying solo.

My TSA

This was another app I kinda forgot I had. But now that lines at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport sometimes 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

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

This crowd-sourced app finds the cheapest gas around you. At home we generally gas up at Costco, which always has the cheapest gas in Atlanta. But on the road it’s get to find the best deals.

Booking.com

This online accommodation booking website is helpful for locating deals. My husband has also used HotelTonite with varying success – one place was a dump and he couldn’t stay there, but generally he has had good luck with it.

We scored big with it in San Francisco recently when the place we planned to stay fell through. Chris went on Hotel Tonite and found a great downtown hotel for around $100 a night. The location was wonderful, we got upgraded to a suite and even got an amenity bag with a bottle of wine at check in.

Groupon

I get the deals at home, but actually had not thought of using it when I am out of town. It’s a great way to score some deals while traveling.

TripAdvisor

This travel website with reviews is my go-to for travel planning. Sure there are some fake reviews and a bunch of whiners, but if you spend a bit of time on it you can weed out the chronic complainers.

I also use it after I’ve booked a place to get tips on restaurants or things to do. For example, on our trip to Hawaii we had booked a remote property overlooking a cliff. A person who stayed there wrote that once we got to the house we wouldn’t want to leave. He recommended stocking up on some food prior to driving in, and mentioned going to Costco. Turns our Costco is adjacent to the airport on Maui, so as soon as we got off the plane we headed there for some provisions.

Once we got to our place we were glad we did. It was spectacular and we loved settling it without the need to leave anytime soon.

Yelp

This app, which publishes crowd-sourced reviews to help people find great local businesses, is huge with millennials. I’m not sure they enter any restaurant or service establishment without checking it.

For example, I was in Houston a few years ago and my daughter was with me in the hotel and had terrible pains in her leg. We didn’t know where to get medical care at 4:30 AM, so 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. 

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