Shame the airlines have such nefarious plans to keep you grounded.
Fret not, intrepid traveler: we know 10 apps that’ll get you through the airport as painlessly as possible.
You’ll be able to cut long lines. End your luggage woes. Rebook your (inevitably) delayed/canceled flight in three taps.
Now, before we begin, if you don’t have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry ... well, that’s really your bad, and you should start with that process now to prep for next year.
As far as helpful travel apps and sites within your immediate grasp, here you go ...
For all your critical info: Flyright
Traveling to another country this season? This app provides all the visa, vaccination and passport requirements you’ll need, along with travel warnings and U.S. embassy info. Seriously, start here.
For getting the best of your miles: 30K
A free plugin for Chrome, 30k allows you to see the award miles, status miles and segments you earn when booking flights on Expedia, travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire and other third-party travel sites. You can also see which fares are upgradeable with miles and track your memberships (which you’ll have to enter before you start tracking, obviously).
To help you pack and prep: Wanderprep
Consider Wanderprep a travel version of gear bible The Wirecutter. Here, you’ll find constantly updated lists on the best luggage and travel gear (noise-canceling earbuds, pillows, etc.), as well as picks for travel apps and services (professional city guides, best ride hailing services in other countries, etc.)
To check for delays: MyTSA
Remember how you didn’t get TSA PreCheck? You’ll want to follow this for crowd-sourced TSA security checkpoint wait times, plus get official info on any delays or weather issues.
To forget about your luggage: DUFL Door-to-Door
Forget dragging your bags or hefty equipment through the airport. DUFL, a travel valet, recently unleashed Door-to-Door, a DIY shipping service for luggage and sports gear (like skis). Basically, you’ll fill out online what you want shipped, and the service — with an assist from FedEx — can deliver your luggage when and where you need it.
To wait out delays in style: LoungeBuddy
You’re gonna get stuck at the airport. Fact. LoungeBuddy allows you access to airport lounges around the world sans memberships (you’ll buy about $30-$50 per visit) ... and you can purchase access the day you’re traveling.
To avoid airport food lines: Grab
Order food from a number of airport restaurants on your phone and grab it when it’s ready, avoiding that 30-minute wait for the soggy sandwich (also keeps receipts for easy expense reporting).
When the airport inevitably stresses you out: Oak
Get guided meditation lessons and pranayama yogic breathing exercises in as little as 10 minutes. Simple interface, easy for beginners and free.
To rebook that inevitably missed/delayed flight: Freebird
A mobile app that’ll rebook you on any airline or flight without additional cost if your domestic travels are delayed, canceled or disrupted by means beyond your control (you’ll need to purchase Freebird for your trip — $19 one-way, $34 round trip — up to two days before you leave.)
To figure out what the hell you’ll be doing: Facebook Local
Not always a big Facebook fan, but their just-updated Local app gives you venue and event recommendations in different cities based, in part, off of your friends’ recommendations ... sans your friends’ annoying status updates.
Need more travel tips and apps? Our holiday list from last year is still vital.