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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

These Are The Travel Apps You Need (Part 1)

Can't wait to get on your trip, but starting to feel unorganized, unprepared and generally stressed about it? I got you. It isn't unusual for me to have dreams about having to rush to the airport and not have my bag packed (or packed with a bunch of randomly useless things, like mismatched shoes and no underwear), whether I'm traveling or not. Travel apps can help. Get all your ish together and feel like you're ready for anything. 

necessary travel apps

These are the travel apps you need on your smartphone to calm your nerves, so you only have to worry about packing, because you've already planned. Right? Right?!


TripIt
I am a planner. Shocking, right? I like to make lists and schedules and know what I'm doing when. It helps keep me from worrying I'm going to miss something I really want to do and gives me structure when I'm somewhere new. Eric doesn't love the planning phase, but that's okay, because I take his list of things he wants to do, mash it with mine and figure out how to do it in the time we have. TripIt makes it all a little bit easier, because when you get an email confirmation, you can forward it directly to them and they'll stick it in your itinerary where it belongs. 

Now you have a list of important stuff, like confirmation numbers, addresses and phone numbers, all in one place. Add in other things as you plan, make notes directly on it and then share it with all your travelers and other people you want to have your details (like your mom!) and you're good to go. You can use it on your phone and on the internet, that's a screenshot up there, so you have it everywhere you need. They'll even add maps and weather if you like. This is my number one app that I use for Every. Single. Trip. And it's free. Get TripIt now.

Your airline app

Oh my goodness. Am I the only one who can't stand carrying extra crap I don't need. I keep my phone in my pocket, because I use it often while I'm at the airport (and on the plane), so why do I need extra things that my phone can do? Anytime I travel, I download my airline's app, that way I can skip checking in at the counter or the kiosk and do it right from my palm. It also allows you to go straight to TSA, because you've got your boarding pass on your phone. Only one of you needs to have the app, because security and airline crew are happy to use one phone for all boarding passes. There's no paper to juggle or lose, which I'm a fan of. Buuuuut, if you find it not working (like the Delta app that has a ton of problems or your wifi is all wonky), you can still go print out a boarding pass too. NBD.


Gate Guru

I can't be the only one who likes to know what's waiting for them at the airport, am I? I mean, I know what's at PDX and LAS, because I'm at both of them a lot, but other airports can be a mystery. While I love to wander and browse, I also like to know specifics, especially if I only have a short layover that allows me to grab food and then get to my gate. Gate Guru is a free app that maps out each airport and allows you to find what's in the whole building, or just what's close to where you are. Don't settle for crappy fast food if you can eat somewhere more local in the same time.


Airbnb

You know how much I love vacation rentals. I don't hate hotels, as some are really cool, but I like to stay somewhere unique. More boutique than cookie cutter. I love Airbnb because there are so many different things to chose from, and I always feel at home, in someone else's home. I get WiFi, and place to just kick back and relax while I'm sending emails, uploading photos or doing laundry. And I actually want to spend time there, especially in the morning when I can make my own breakfast to save money and time out. I like a lazy morning eating a bagel in my pajamas. Airbnb lets you check up on your rental and connect easier with your host if you need to. 


Whym

Okay, as much as I plan, I like to have time where I don't have anything planned. I can relax, just wander or do something the spur of the moment. Sometimes something exciting comes up and if you're booked solid, you're going to miss out. I haven't used Whym yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Get deep discounts on last-minute tours, activities and more. It gets you a fantastic deal and it allows the ticket vendor to make money and get butts in seats as well. I've been known to use Groupon while I'm on vacation and I feel like this can be just as useful. Try Whym, because it's free! 

My TSA

Is the security line 45 minutes long? Can I bring my knitting needles on the plane? Should I just leave my watch in my bag until I'm on the other side? MyTSA not only lets you know expected wait times for security, but also answers those other questions and more for you. If you start to freak out over having to pass through TSA, then you need this app. It'll give you peace of mind and let you know what to expect.

This is just the first six of my list of must-have apps. These will get you started on making your trips as awesome as possible without making you feel like you don't know what you're doing. While everyone else is running around, stressing out, you can be calm, cool and collected. 

What are your favorite apps for traveling?

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