Travel Apps To Keep You Sane
We are heading into a fast and furious travel season for many business travelers. Having just seen my eldest son off on his journey for a semester abroad, (and planning to visit) – I’ve been elbows deep in travel planning lately. I just thought I’d share some of my newest finds (and old standbys) that make travel a little less exhausting!
The travel industry advises the best airline ticket prices are available approximately 45 days in advance of your trip, so I always suggest finding the best available options online whenever you start pricing out your trips. My go to travel booking sites are Expedia, Travelocity, and recently AirBnB. But if you’d prefer to compare all the travel services at one time, try Kayak.com which actually compares various travel sites side by side to do your best shopping.
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Apps To Use When Traveling By Car
I think GPS has totally changed how I drive! It’s almost scary to me now to drive without it. I’ve thrown away all my paper maps, so if I get lost (or my battery dies) – Lord help me! Although Google Maps’ free option (available for Apple iOS and Android devices) is really easy and provides turn-by-turn navigation, my new favorite go to gps locator now is the Waze app (available for Apple iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 devices). It’s a lot of fun (especially when you’re the passenger because you can interact more freely on the app) but – it is a free option that shares information on traffic jams, accidents and more, all contributed by other users in that community. I’ve heard of the great things offered by iExit app (available for Android, iPhone and Windows phones), to discover great spots at upcoming exits for food, hotel, gas and more in addition to great deals with corresponding coupons, but I typically stick with Yelp!. Speaking of coupons, did you know that both Groupon and Valpak offer mobile apps that allow you to locate deals no matter where you are as long as you have wi-fi connectivity?
Make The Most Of Your Stay
Finally, if you are headed to a new-to-you location, you might want to try the AroundMe app, which will help you find what you need quickly, especially specific companies as well as gas stations, banks, coffee shops/restaurants, hospitals, hotels, movies and supermarkets. It even offers local weather reports!
Travelling With Medical Conditions
Additionally, if you’re traveling with a medical condition, check out The Essential Guide to Travelling with a Medical Condition. This guide provides details on how to travel with disabilities, children and tips on making international travel easier. It’s a great resource!
Air Travel Apps
When your travels take you to a new-to-you airport or one with which you are less familiar, the GateGuru app (available for Android, iPhone and Windows phones) can be helpful. After selecting your airport, you can verify your flight’s status, search for amenities, review airport maps and read tips submitted by fellow airport visitors that are also using the GateGuru app. Further, there are simple options to check-in on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Score!
Keep Details Organized
Regardless of your traveling choice, the details you’ll need to manage for travel can be daunting. There’s a great app to help you pull all your details together, and the TripIt app (available for Android phones & tablets, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone and Windows phones) provides an excellent tool for organizing that information. Email your plans directly into your mobile account so you can access reservations, maps and more on your mobile device, adjusting for time zone changes as needed. Track all your travel-related reward accounts in one place. Stay in travel-sync with your friends by sharing your itinerary with others. It is a truly a great option to know where you should be at what time so you accomplish all that you want and need to do while traveling.
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Since my son will be far, far away for 6 months, I’ve been on hot pursuit to check out apps that would be easy for him to update his exciting journey easily with his phone. (He’s not much of a writer you see…) So, we stumbled on a few that I recommend (so far) – His first pick is one that’s relatively new to the market called journi – allowing the traveler to enter little texts along the way – and others can easily follow along if they accept notifications. There are others that co-inside with picture giants such as Snapbook by Snapfish, and Journey which incorporates a world-wide geolocator, atlas and allows you to update your journey with both photos and videos! Here’s a great article that highlights some of the better journaling apps for you.
Apps To Use While Traveling
I recommend you turn off the social media notifications for several reasons… if you’re with your loved ones, you’ll be less distracted, your battery will last longer and you’re less likely to deplete your data package if you have your phone notifications off!
Take Care Of Your Needs
Consider downloading something like Expensify to help you keep track of travel expenses, and Plates by Splitwise which makes is super easy to share costs on business trips with others. Open Table is another app that will aid in making reservations (especially for groups) – and help you work more efficiently with your time! And, if you’re traveling in a metropolitan area, you MUST download Uber. I was recently in NYC for dinner and a show, it was cold, I was with my in laws (after my mom-in-laws knee surgery) and we asked the maitre’d how to hail a quick cab… he promptly let us know that Uber was the best bet by FAR over hailing a pre-show cab.
Prepare For Weather Conditions
I also love to know about local weather when I’m traveling. There are so many to choose from, and this article describes ten different weather apps in detail.
I also recommend you print important details like your itinerary with flight details, hotel reservations and boarding passes. There have been too many times that I’ve solely relied on data and wifi – and been foiled! The paper still works and as long as you’re organized enough to find it when you need it, the details won’t disappear on you when you’re tired or your battery is dead!
Keep Home Fires Burning
You may consider a brief out-of-office auto-reply to warn people that you may have a delayed response. HOWEVER, if you belong to large chat groups, be wary of setting an out of office notification, as your notification will be sent any time to anyone who emails you. (If you’re regularly emailed a daily digest from your groups and associations, they’ll hear back from you daily too with your auto-reply in the driver’s seat.) My best advice is to simply turn those off temporarily while you’re gone, then add a note to your task list to reignite them when you return!
Share Your Thoughts With Us!
Do you have any travel apps that you just can’t live without? Or is there an app that you wish were available to make your travel experience easier? Let us know in the comments below!