Be Armed With The Mose Useful Digital Tools Before Your Next Trip
Travel can be extremely stressful this year. As airlines, airports, and every other aspect of the industry try and recover from two years of stagnancy, growing pains are rife, and we should enter any travel experience preparing for the worst.
In recent weeks, we’ve looked at ways to help the travel day go smoother for you and your family by packing light, using carry-on luggage only, and a host of other tricks to beat the chaos, but there’s one aspect that deserves a piece all on its own – travel apps.
Some should be travel stalwarts, downloaded long before covid was a blip on our radar, but others are going to be especially useful during the current travel climate.
Here’s our list of travel apps you need to help with this year’s chaos.
1. Whichever Airline You’re Flying’s App
It’s so important to have as much data about your flights on hand as possible. Downloading your carrier’s app and creating a membership is the first step in keeping yourself prepared on flight days.
On a perfect day with no problems, you can check in on the app, grab your boarding pass, and select a seat. On a not-so-good day, you can quickly see when your flight is delayed or canceled, immediately see your options, and jump into problem-solving gear before all those that don’t have the app do. Just a few minutes can be the difference between you getting rescheduled n an hour or five hours.
As a double safe, downloading FlightAware gives you all of the flight information you could need, even if Delta or American are slower to announce their problems. By plugging in your flight the day before you leave, you can get regular updates on where your plane is.
Delayed takeoff? Notification. Bang on time and at the gate? Notification.
A much larger benefit is making sure loved ones have it too. If you’re being picked up from the airport, you might not be able to contact them before you board. They’ll be able to see if your flight is on time and avoid lounging around arrivals for two hours.
Delays are going to happen sometimes and with airports this busy, finding an uncomfortable seat for six hours while you eat overpriced airport food is a nightmare for most. Many travelers don’t even realize they have access to lounges with certain credit cards or that many have day passes available.
Loungebuddy lets you know which lounges are available to you, based on which cards you own, which airline you’re flying, and if you can just pay for a pass. Even if you have to pay for entry, the price might not be as much as the combined meals you’ll pay on a long wait. Trust us, it’s much comfier.
If you’re a regular traveler, it might be worth looking at Priority Pass. It gives you access to hundreds of lounges across the world. It does come at a premium, though, so only do it if you’re in airports a lot. Also, check your credit card benefits, as many come with some version of a priority pass membership.
If the worst happens and your flight is canceled, you’re often left in despair. With thousands of others facing the same fate as you, waiting for the airline to find you accommodation could take forever. If you don’t feel like waiting on someone else, and know that you can claim the hotel on your insurance or credit card, grab HotelTonight and find your own cheap digs.
The app shows heavily discounted rates for empty rooms in hotels that night. As they’re empty, the hotel wants to fill them as soon as possible, letting you take advantage of far lower rates. You should still be covered if you work things correctly, but you might not have to stay in a lower-end hotel. It’s also great when you’re feeling like a last-minute trip too
5. Google maps and Google Translate
These should never leave your phone. Language barriers, unfamiliar territory, and general helplessness after a tough day traveling are enough to send anyone over the edge. Google’s travel duo of maps and translate are your light in the darkness.
Maps has a massive amount of information on top of just directions. Restaurants, pharmacies, how busy things are, opening times, traffic updates, and a slew of other features. Translate, meanwhile can translate words in real-time using your phone’s camera. It can also speak for you if your abilities aren’t up to par. Perfect for dealing with airport workers in a different country or negotiating with a taxi driver.
The organization is key when traveling, but so many of us still insist on carrying our little binder of documents everywhere. Of course, there are physical things you need, like passports, but all your reservations, bookings, flight details, and excursions can all be held in one app like TripIt.
You can set TripIt up to sync with your email or just send details to your account as you plan them. In turn, you’ll have an easy-to-read itinerary, links to any passes or booking forms, and you can even share it with the other members of your trip.
There are so many more to find and use, so try a few different apps, and see which compliment your traveling style the best.