What did we ever do to mange travel before our mobile devices? I guess we relied on our walkmans, stacks of papers and maps, and sleeping pills to get us through the chaos of travel today. Thanks to some innovative thinkers behind some of the best travel apps, our travel experiences are organized and simplified all in our little handheld devices.
Here are the 7 (okay 8) travel apps I can’t live without.
I’ve never been able to sleep on planes. Never. not even those long-haul transcontinental lights. Last year, I was embarking on my longest flight yet, 15 hours nonstop, and knew I needed to find a way to get some sleep, without my usual cocktail of wine and sleeping pills. That’s when I discovered Airsleep, a scientifically-developed app that uses brainwave technology to put you to sleep. I downloaded the app, selected the beach sounds, and, no kidding, I slept for 10 straight hours.
This app keeps all your travel plans in a single location on your phone, giving you an easy at-a-glance view of your upcoming travel. Just forward any travel confirmations – including hotels, car rentals, flights and dining reservations – to the app, and it will automatically categorize and input the data into the app in a single day timeline view.
I once had a panic attack on a plane. It came out of nowhere. I was returning from a particularly stressful week and I think my mind just decided to give me one more whammy. But it’s an incident I’ll never forget. I have never had another one, but I’m not taking any chances. I use Simply Being, a guided meditation app, to tune out the sounds and people around me, especially during the stressful boarding period. The app really sends you into a state of deep relaxation.
There are dozens of hotel apps out there but this is the best for those last minute trip changes and flight delays. I’ve found myself needing to make last minute reservations for family emergencies and for spur-of-the-moment getaways, and Hotel Tonight always comes through with great rates. The app accesses the unsold room inventory of hotels continuously in most cities, that means you get a suite deal.
Forget that battery-draining maps app! Citymapper is one of the newest map-based transportation apps that partners with other maps as well as Foursquare, Yelp, Uber and Hailo, Car2Go and Autolib. Unlike most other transportation apps, Citymapper is the best at mapping out public transportation, and includes subway and train times. The app can even alert you when your stop is coming up.
I’m a serial packer and tend to pack the same things over and over again. But it never fails, my robotic packing skills fail to remind me to take tennis shoes for working out or an umbrella for rainy weather. PackPoint is an app that creates a packing list for you based on where you’re traveling to and the length of time you’ll be gone. It even checks the weather at your destination to remind you to take a light jacket or that umbrella. Tell the app any special activities you have planned – from hiking to sunbathing – and it will suggest items to pack.
How often have you found yourself in the immigration line digging through your purse or briefcase for your passport? Global Entry has certainly made the lives of those of us who travel internationally easier. Now, the Mobile Passport app adds yet another layer of convenience. Just input your passport information into the app and breeze through the Mobile Passport Control line. At this time, 23 airports and 1 cruise port accept the app.
This one is just for fun and give you humorous (and profane if you chose those settings) updates on the weather at your destination.