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With millions of apps available to download for smartphones, it’s difficult to decide which ones will add value or merely clutter your phone. To help alleviate this dilemma, we’ve identified several apps that make traveling more efficient and enjoyable. No, this isn't a list of every app, but they're ones that we think make sense whenever you're traveling.
SeatGuru is a website and mobile app owned by TripAdvisor. It helps travelers make informed decisions when selecting seats on planes. Simply input airline, flight number, and departure date to display seat maps of aircraft scheduled to operate. When shopping for flights, use this tool to determine which one is flying an aircraft with better seat options.
Arm yourself with information and don’t gamble on comfort when choosing an aircraft seat. Avoid seats that can’t recline due to exit rows. Find out the width of the seat. See which row is missing a window. Want to book two seats that convert into a double bed on a Singapore Airlines? Use SeatGuru to make sure that route flies an A380 with those seats. Then call reservations and request the specific seat numbers.
FlightAware is a global aviation software and data services company that provides detailed flight information for both private and commercial flights. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that provides pilot-caliber information to everyday travelers. Want to know why a plane isn’t at the gate yet?
This travel app allows you to search all the previous flight routes of that inbound aircraft. Then track its GPS location in real-time. Another great feature on their website is the FlightAware Misery Map which displays the live delays and cancellation percentages at major airports in the continental United States. Use this map to make decisions about which airports to avoid when rebooking due to weather-related delays.
Don’t waste time worrying about complex access rules or where to find hidden airport lounges. Instead, create a LoungeBuddy profile by inputting your elite statuses, lounge memberships, and travel rewards credit cards. Once completed, LoungeBuddy displays which lounges you can access in an airport. There’s even a box to check if you are a US military member because USOs are also included. For quick references, you can search the app by individual airports and terminals. However, the best method is to create specific itineraries including airlines and classes of service. Then a list of accessible lounges at each airport along your journey is populated.
Clicking on a lounge displays details such as location, operating hours, and amenities. No more memorizing rules and exceptions regarding your lounge access via fare class, credit cards, memberships, or elite status. Simply worry about choosing which lounge is most suitable for your needs. You also have the option to rate lounges and write reviews. Some of the rating criteria include comfort, quality, cleanliness, service, or if the lounge is worth a detour.
Naturally, we need to include AwardWallet in this list because it’s the best way to manage your upcoming trips and keep track of loyalty program balances. Use AwardWallet to easily monitor every single reward point or frequent flyer mile you accrue in a neat portfolio. With secure access to these accounts, AwardWallet creates convenient itineraries that list all your flight, hotel, and rental car reservations in one place.
This also applies to loyalty programs beyond travel rewards like airline miles or hotel points—like shopping and dining programs. Currently, over 650 loyalty programs are supported and available via desktop or mobile app so that you don’t have to waste precious time manually checking point balances. You can elect to receive weekly, monthly, etc. digest e-mails which report how your balances recently fluctuated during that time period. You even receive alerts when rewards are about to expire. This travel app is a definite must for any serious (or seriously busy) frequent traveler.
WhatsApp is a globally popular app because it allows you to avoid traditional phone call or text messaging charges and communicate for free with anyone who uses the app. It includes features like group chats, video calls, status updates, and media sharing. It also displays if a message is sent, delivered, or read.
WhatsApp especially makes life easy for international travelers to stay connected with people back home or with new contacts in a foreign country. Now more and more companies are communicating with consumers via WhatsApp like hotel butlers connecting with their guests, for example.
Google Voice is a communication app, but slightly different from WhatsApp. It allows you to create a US phone number with any area code of your choosing. You can receive phone calls or text messages on that number via the app or website. This also includes voicemail and call forwarding features.
Additionally, all phone calls made to US or Canadian numbers are completely free from anywhere in the world. This is especially helpful when communicating with airlines or banks while traveling abroad. It also means that if your phone is lost or stolen, you can still make phone calls and send texts from any other device using a web browser or the app.
We could easily add another 5, 10, or 50 apps to the list, but these are the ones that we think are critical. What would you add to the list?
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