4 Crucial Apps To Make Holiday Travel Fun And Stress-Free

gate guru travel app

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If you’re reading this, then we’re going to assume you’re already hip to apps like TripIt and those from the airline with which you’re travelling, so let’s go beyond the basics to the secondary apps that’ll help you survive not only holiday flying, but possibly even a long weekend with family.Your flight is booked, so no travel deal search engines are needed.

These four apps will be there for you once you’ve already hit the road:

1. GateGuru

If you’re an infrequent flyer or just transiting through an unfamiliar airport this season, GateGuru will not only tell you where the Starbucks kiosks, ATMs and club locations are, but it also factors in user reviews. Is that Applebee’s near Gate 23 worth it on a two-hour layover? Maybe not, if there’s a Brewery Pub down the terminal…GateGuru knows.

Where you’ll use it: In the train/car/bus to the airport; standing beneath the Departures board and wondering what gate the airline lounge is nearest to; in an aeroplane after landing at your layover airport with lunch on your mind.

Cost on iTunes: Free

2. Airport Scanner

Never have we ever spent more time gaming on our iPhone than when we’ve got a holiday day off. Ideally you’ll want to get addicted to an iPhone game for a few days, not a few weeks, and Airport Scanner is perfect, not to mention topical.

We already extolled its virtues back in September, but it remains our top choice for passing time, no matter the situation.

Where you’ll use it: At an airport gate, waiting for your flight; In the kitchen, waiting for bread dough to rise/cookies to bake/dinner to be ready; In a long taxi/train/car ride from the airport to home; or, our personal favourite, at a required visit to a relative’s house, when everyone else is playing with children/pets.

Cost on iTunes: $0.99

airport scanner app itunes

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3. Hotel Tonight

This app has saved our arse so much in b2012. It specialize in super-last-minute, night-of hotel stays, and releases that day’s slashed rates at noon. From there, you can browse about three hotels per city (and they’re in so many US cities, the UK and Europe now), view details (like how much the WiFi costs) and book in under two minutes. We’ve used it for airport hotels to design hotels during the peak days of Art Basel Miami, and it has only continued to impress.

Bonus! If you sign up using the invite link, you start out with $25 (or £15 or €20) (and yeah, we get it too).

When you’ll use it: After missing the last flight out; the moment you can’t stand sleeping in your childhood bedroom any longer; if a friend or family member unexpectedly drops in and can’t/don’t want to house then for the night; if you spontaneously hopped a flight or road tripped away.

Cost on iTunes: Free

my tsa app

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4. myTSA

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration has its own app. Yes, you should download it if you’ve ever had any questions about what can/cannot be taken onboard or checked in your luggage. They tackle the tough issues, like flying with a cake or cable cutters. It’s more than just a FAQ and we’d say it fills in the gaps of GateGuru.

When you’ll use it: your aunt is asking if she can pack the leftover pie for you to take; you received a jar of anything liquid-y/gel-y/powder-y for Christmas; you’re running late to the airport and want an approximation of checkpoint wait times; a storm is threatening and you want to watch for airport delays; any family members insist on getting to the airport 4+ hours early and you want to set them straight.

Cost on iTunes: Free

All four apps are available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.