Traveling in the Digital Age
In this day and age, with all the social media, electronic gadgets and the presence of the Internet everywhere, it is easier than ever to find deals on airfare, book a hotel and reserve a rental car. But what do you do when you are in-transit and want to make your journey faster or more convenient? This is when you whip out your smart phone and employ trusty travel apps you have downloaded.
If you have avoided adding any apps just because there are so many that just trying to pick one or two is making your head spin, then possibly these five suggestions will break you out of your digital paralysis and get your feet wet in the wonderful world of apps, especially if you can use them to make your travel life less complicated.
Going through a new airport and need to know where to find everything? GateGuru shows you where you can grab a magazine, find a nutritious (or not so nutritious) meal, pick up a giant bottle of water to keep hydrated or even where to go to get that last-minute souvenir for someone special. GateGuru is your free guide to all the dining, shopping and service an airport has to offer.
Go paperless and eliminate all those confirmation papers you normally take with you by uploading all your trip details – airfare, hotel, dining reservations, tour info and anything else you could need on vacation – to TripIt. This free app lets you email confirmations to them and it will automatically update your trip itinerary, saving you time and energy. TripIt will also give you information related to your trip, like weather and maps.
B4YouBoard is a free app that enables you to eat at the airport no matter how tight your connection is. Use the app to order from available menus and have your meal delivered to your gate to either eat while you wait for boarding or once you get on the plane. This makes it so convenient and easy to eat well on the go. So far, it is only available for three airports (Chicago O'Hare, JFK, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Sacramento International), but more will be added in the future.
Be totally prepared you for those unexpected flight snafus if you get bumped or your flight is canceled. NextFlightis a great free resource for the business traveler who just needs to get on the next flight out, those that do not like to spend hours at the airport or those that have an emergency and need to get somewhere as soon as possible. The app searches over 1,200 airlines at more than 4,000 airports to get you the most updated data.
Got airport anxiety? MyTSA is for those that want all the security info in the palm of their hand. Know what approximate security wait times are before you even get to the airport, as well as any general delays and a TSA packing guide, including lists of prohibited items.
Whatever your travel style, there is an app to help it go more smoothly. Even just getting through airports can be challenging, especially with summer vacation coming. Why not make the most of your time and look like a pro as you navigate through security, crowds, gate changes and anything else that gets thrown at you.
About the Author
Shereen Rayle is author of the blog Shereen Travels Cheap and two budget travel books, including Secrets to Summer Savings. For years she has been planning her own vacations using the Internet to extend her limited budget as far as possible and shares the tips and tricks she has learned, along with useful sites like FareCompare.com, to help others get the most out of their travel dollars. And to further inspire budget travelers everywhere, she finds terrific travel bargains and posts them each day on her Facebook page.