Little known fact: Dante’s 10th Circle of Hell was supposed to be “Holiday Travel,” but he didn’t get to finish writing it because his flight home to Florence was delayed six times and then rerouted through Rome, and after finally boarding, he was stuck in a middle seat with a broken outlet.
Yep, traveling home for the winter break is an unmitigated nightmare. (Don’t even think of telling us “Happy holidays!” until we’ve arrived safely at our family home and changed into our jammies.) Thankfully, technologists worldwide have been working their butts off to create applications that can help alleviate some of our traveler’s woes.
Here are six travel apps that you should most definitely download this holiday season. They’ll assist you with everything from booking to packing, maximizing your travel time, and making sure you get paid when the airlines screw you over.
Finding the right flights at both the best times and cheapest prices is often a fruitless endeavor. Inevitably we start compromising because we can’t just constantly price check. But with Hopper, you just search for your ideal trip, and the app alerts you when it’s the cheapest time to book — it even sends you instant notifications when prices drop so you won’t forget!
FOR TRIP ORGANIZING
Cool, so your flight is all booked at the best price and the right times. Now go ahead and forward those air travel emails — along with your hotel bookings, car rentals, restaurant reservations, and other pre-paid plans — to Tripit. The app magically takes all this info and turns it into a fancy li’l itinerary that you can access anytime, even if you’re offline.
Great, so you’re now 50% organized. The other half? Packing. Calculating what we need for a vacation’s worth of unpredictable weather and varying plans is a fashion math problem that we dread solving, but now PackPoint does the work for us. Just tell the app about your plans and it autogenerates a packing list based on the weather, your activities, and the length of your stay.
FOR THE AIRPORT
You’re booked! You’re packed! And now you’re at the airport! And oh, look, so is everyone else in the entire world. Give yourself a little respite from the crowds with LoungeBuddy, an app that finds your airport’s lounges — and lets you buy your way in, even if you’re not a member. (If you were planning on having a drink at the airport, the lounge fee basically pays for itself.)
FOR THE FLIGHT
Now that you’re nice and relaxed in your lounge, you might lose track of time. Luckily, App in the Air has you covered: It creates timelines for your check-in (including security), boarding, take-off, and landing, using crowd-sourced, real-time data. This ensures you allot enough time for each stage of travel. Bonus: It also has tips for finding chargers, free wi-fi, and the best food.
FOR GETTING YOUR DAMN MONEY
Hopefully all goes according to plan and you make it to your destination without incident. But if your flight winds up delayed — or worse, canceled — there is an app to make sure you receive your fair recompense. Sign up for Service and they’ll look at your email metadata (not the emails themselves) to find flight info — both past and present. If they find a flight that was delayed or canceled, they’ll negotiate with the airline to get you some of your money back.