Whether you’re traveling for work or heading to a dream vacation, the journey can sometimes be a hassle. From flight delays and crowded security checkpoints, to sunburns and foreign currency exchanges, there’s a lot to manage.
Make the trip easier for you, your family and companions with these 10 great travel apps.
Gone are the days where you could show up to the airport 20 minutes before your flight. Most travelers expect an hour of hold-up due to security checkpoints. Thankfully, My TSA app can help you navigate the delays. With this app you’ll be able to check wait times at any airport in real time. You can also access wait time history for any checkpoint. Check to see what the standard wait time is at any checkpoint, on any day, at any time. This can help you plan ahead and get to the airport with enough time to get through security and make your flight. You can also access the comprehensive list of items that are allowed by security. And get tips on how to more easily prepare for and get through checkpoints.
Traveling often requires booking flights, rental cars and hotel rooms. Orchestrating all of it, the dates, times, terminals, seat numbers and everything else organized can be tough. Throw in a flight delay and your vacation or work trip might become a bust. TripIt is arguably the most popular travel organizing app. All you have to do is forward your confirmation emails to TripIt’s planner email account. TripIt will then create a master itinerary for your trip. You can even use the app when you’re off-line. So if you’re traveling through a dead spot in the airport, you still know which terminal to get to or where to pick up your rental car. TripIt will even give you a year-end review with a neat map that shows all of the trips you took.
Staying on your medication schedule when traveling is tough. Throw in a time zone difference and it might seem impossible. And it’s not always yourself that you’re worrying about. Many people are caregivers for their aging parents and have to remind them daily when to take their medicine. MediSafe is a great solution for this problem. This app will push alerts on your phone to remind you when to take your medicine. MediSafe can even get your phone to use fun voices like Darth Vader or Austin Powers to remind you. You can also keep family members’ medication schedules in the app. This way, you can call your 93-year-old mother who lives in San Diego to remind her take her heart medication with breakfast while you enjoy your Primi course in Italy.
Like most travel apps, Smart Traveler allows you to create personal itineraries, notes and other organizational documents for traveling. Unlike most apps, this one comes directly from the US Department of State. In the event there are any travel alerts or warnings, you will be given an immediate update on your smart phone. You can also see U.S.relations fact sheets for every country. You’ll also be given the location of every U.S. Embassy. This is a must-have for any modern-day traveler who will be venturing outside the United States.
Most travelers are familiar with the Kindle and Nook e-reader tablets. The Kindle and Nook apps are slightly less known. If you have an android or iOS operating device you can download the reader apps. From there, you can buy, borrow, lend and preview books just as you would on your Kindle or Nook tablet. Now you don’t have to lug bulky, hardcover bestsellers through the airport in your carry-on. Instead, you can have all your favorite reads on your tablet or smartphone. The only downside is reading on the tablet screen has a bit more glare than the Kindle Paperwhite or Nook GlowLight screens. If this is a problem, you can buy a glare reducing screen cover for under $10.
Time zone differences and frequent flier miles may not be the only thing you need to calculate when traveling to another country. Currency exchange rates can be tricky to figure out, especially when considering currency values are always slightly fluctuating. XE Currency helps fix that problem. This app offers on-the-go currency conversions. Type in a currency and its quantity and see what its value is in other countries’ currency. You can even view currencies in a geographical map. This is helpful if you’ll be moving in and out of several countries over the course of only a few days. Another handy feature is that this app can be used off-line. It saves the most previous exchange rates. So you can still finagle with currencies even if you’re in a dead zone.
And while we’re on the topic of translating and converting currencies, what about translating languages? Even something as simple as asking for scrambled eggs in a Spanish-speaking country can go catastrophically wrong if you’re not familiar with the language. Google Translate helps remedy that problem. This app offers text translation in 103 languages. You can also use it off-line, although you won’t have access to all 103 languages. You’ll only have access to 59 languages offline – still not bad. What is most impressive about this app, though, is that you can take a picture of a sign and it will translate the text on the sign into almost any language. This can be handy when traveling, especially in airports, subways, and train stations. Or, when you are simply trying to read a menu or find a public restroom.
Hailing a cab in an unfamiliar city can be scary and sometimes seem impossible – especially if there’s a language barrier. Uber makes it easy. Just download the app and you’ll be able to get a professional, freelance driver to pick you up and drive you to your destination. The driver will already know your location based on your smart phone’s GPS. You can also make payment with credit card, Apple Pay, PayPal and in select cities, cash. You’ll also see the driver’s picture and vehicle information. This way you don’t have to worry about getting in the wrong car. When the ride is over you can rate the driver and provide feedback to Uber. This encourages driver performance and professionalism. Likewise, the driver can rate you. Bad passengers may find it difficult to get rides in the future.
If you’re traveling on vacation, you’re going to need Wi-Fi. Otherwise, you’ll get clobbered with data charges. Wi-Fi Finder is a simple to use app that shows you Wi-Fi hotspots in your area. It can even access passwords in some cases.
Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App
It happens all the time. Someone from the Midwest or Northeast travels to the Caribbean on vacation for the first time. They spritz a little SPF 15 on their shoulders their first day out. Then they spend the rest of the vacation in their hotel room covered in aloe vera. The Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App can provide personalized information on how much the sun protection you need. Based on your skin type, location, time of day and SPF level you have on, this app calculates how much exposure to the sun you can get before you burn. The app automatically updates the results based on your location which is determined by your phone’s GPS. You can also see a UV forecast for your location, and UV level history. This also comes with features such as sunset and sunrise time, sun position and weather forecast.
Traveling might be a bit of a hassle. That’s not to say it isn’t fun, but there’s a lot to manage on every trip. Thankfully, there are apps for almost every travel headache. By using just a few of the apps in this article, you may be able to cut down some of the stress and better enjoy your journey.
The Hartford does not endorse or have any association with the products and/or services referenced.
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