Apps, websites that can help holiday travelers
Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel periods of the year, is a little more than a week away and Christmas not far beyond. Although getting together with family and friends is one of the best parts of the holiday season, getting to wherever you’re going often is not.
Airports are jammed, flights are late, traffic is bumper to bumper and New England winter weather doesn’t always cooperate.
There are travel apps and websites that can help. And although technology can’t get you to where you’re going on time, it can keep you up to date on delays and changes, find you stuff to do when your layovers run long and help you find alternative routes when the freeways are backed up — all of which helps cut down on the stress and strain.
Here’s some of the best:
■TSA has created a free mobile app, “My TSA,” available for iOS and Android. The app includes tips on what’s allowed in your luggage, how early to arrive during holiday travel, how to prepare for various airport security lanes.
■Need to rent a car when you arrive at your destination? Check AutoSlash.com. The site has an unusual method of finding you the best rates. After you’ve booked your car through one of the site’s partners, Autoslash searches the Web for discounts and applies them to your bottom line — and continues to monitor rates and coupons until your pickup date, applying any discounts it finds along the way.
If you’re a Costco member, you might want to check costcotravel.com/Rental-Cars. The site’s “Low Price Finder” function lets you enter your criteria, then shops all coupons, codes and discounts for the lowest prices — and expert travelers say that Costco’s prices are some of the best.
■Hate getting off the highway and then traveling miles out of your way to find a public restroom, gas or food? The iExit app tells you the services available at different U.S. highway exits, so you can decide whether to get off at the next exit or wait for a better option.
■Did you know that there’s a yoga room where you can work out those in-flight kinks at the San Francisco International Airport; a Green Roof area with plants, benches and a picnic table at Burlington (Vermont), International Airport or a children’s museum and playground called “Kids on the Fly” at Chicago’s O’Hare? If you had the GateGuru app, you would.
■Waze, a traffic and navigation app for iOS and Android, posts real-time traffic info from drivers in your area. The app alerts you to any accidents, road hazards, road or bridge closures or traffic jams ahead, posts area gas prices so you can find the cheapest fuel and lets you coordinate arrival and departures times when you’re traveling with friends.