Since we live in a world of technology, I thought I’d share with you some of the travel apps I have used and also some apps I’ve read about but have not yet had the opportunity to use. I love apps as they work in real time and keep you in the know. Having the right travel apps available can make the whole trip experience go so much smoother which means less stress.
I’ll start by recommending that you have available your airline’s app if you are flying. I couldn’t live without this! If you have a login with the airline, that is great but even if you don’t, it can be a huge help. At the very least, you will need to know your flight # and maybe a bit more info (depending on the airline), but it can alert you of delays, gate changes, etc. so that you aren’t constantly losing your seat in the waiting area because you went to check the departure board. Here are some more apps you might find useful. Keep in mind that many of them are only useful in the US, but some will help no matter where you are.
My TSA App This is the official app from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can see status reports at airports around the country, including delays, traveler volume, and PreCheck lane statuses, along with a travel checklist and a database of most TSA rules. The app also includes a good list of items that are approved and unapproved to take through security that can be used when packing, although the list could be more comprehensive.
This app can be used as a guide to lounges at more than 80 airports around the world. You can search by airport and then by terminal to see what each lounge offers (food, drinks, internet, business services, TVs, and more) and where they are located at each terminal. Each lounge is sorted into four different rankings — basic, solid, fresh, and luxury — depending on the amenities and the user reviews. You can get day passes through the app, sometimes (but not often) at a discounted rate. You can pay by credit card or Apple Pay. Not all airports are included in this app.
FLIO calls itself the “Global Airport App,” because it offers information on more than 900 airports, including dining options, parking prices, flight schedules, hotel options, attractions nearby, and more. You can make the most of a long layover or flight delay with FLIO.
Use this one if you are driving or renting a car. It helps you find gas by location and price. If you can save a couple of bucks, GasBuddy will let you know. It’s not available everywhere but from what I could find, you can use it in the US and Canada.
International travelers know that free currency converter apps are not that reliable. While XE Currency is nothing special, it works on most platforms, updates regularly, and will give you currency conversions when your phone is offline.
SeatGuru might be the best app for people that are particular about their seats on a plane. It allows you to see the inside of an airplane and shows you exactly where a seat is so you can choose one that lets you get close, or far away, to the bathroom, galley or emergency exit rows.
CBP Mobile Passport
Officially authorized by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for U.S. and Canadian travelers to use at three cruise ports and 26 airports (and counting), Mobile Passport can help expedite your entry into the U.S. by storing passport and declaration information on your phone. The app is free to use and does not require pre-approval (nor does it replace a passport), but it does allow you to forget about filling out that customs declaration paper form before heading to the customs line after your flight lands. Mobile Passport is also fairly easy to use — the app will grab and store your info through your smartphone’s camera and will allow you to use that camera to take a selfie to store on your profile. You can fill out the trip info once you land. Once you submit the info to CBP, you’ll get a QR code that can be scanned by a CBP officer at customs. I don’t use this one as I have Global Entry.
Uber & Lyft
These ride on demand apps can eliminate the need to carry local currency, speak the same language as your driver and know the local customs for tipping. The app charges your credit card the right amount so you don’t have to worry about anything, including getting ripped off by the taxi driver! I believe Uber is the only one you can use outside the US.
The IExit app tells you exactly what is near every highway exit, from gas stations to restaurants to ATMs. If there's a restaurant chain or other service you love, you can mark it as a favorite and IExit will tell you if it's coming up anytime soon on your route. As far as I know, it is for US travel only.
Tell Roadtrippers your starting location and destination, dates of travel, and what kinds of things you're interested in seeing along the way, and this app will plot your journey for you. It can find offbeat attractions, restaurants, museums, amusement parks, campsites, and more. When you find something you like, just add it to your trip, and Roadtrippers will redraw your route with that site included.
TV Food Maps
I love this one because we watch travel TV all the time!! This interactive app and website will find restaurants and eateries that have appeared on various television food shows, such as Bizarre Foods, Top Chef, $40 a Day, Restaurant Impossible and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. You plug in your starting point and destination, and then indicate how far off course you're willing to go. How cool is that!!
Are you ready to make your travel life easier? Then give some of these apps a try. If they work for you, you’ve found a treasure. If not, just delete them! Don’t you love technology!