8 apps to help you take the stress out of holiday travel

Traveling during the holidays—or any time, really—is stressful enough. Here are some apps that can help.

travel apps primary
Credit: ThinkStock

Traveling during the holidays is an absolute pain in the derrière, but you can make it a little easier on yourself, and your travel companions, but equipping yourself with the proper arsenal of apps. Since I often travel for both work and play, I put together a helpful list of the Android apps I’ve use to make my travel days less stressful. 


If you’re traveling by car, Google Maps is simply not enough—even if it does integrate some of Waze’s functionality. The benefit of having Waze (Free) installed is that you get access to all the real-time, socially-curated data that other users are posting without waiting for Google to aggregate it to Maps. So, if an accident happens on the road out of town, Waze will immediately notify you of other routes available to avoid the mess up ahead.

travelapps waze

Waze is an extremely helpful app for road trips.

Waze also lets you more easily add stops along your route or send your ETA to a family member, and once you’ve navigated 100 miles with it, you can check on gas prices along your route. The app also offers helpful icons for fast-food locations and rest stops along your route, so you know what’s in the vicinity without having to tap around on the map. 

And for fun, you can download new voice packs for the GPS.


Whether you’re a frequent flyer or you’ve a massive itinerary to manage on a family road trip, TripIt (Free) is absolutely worth the download. The app hooks into your email, reads through your itinerary, and then displays all the relevant information on flights, hotels, car rentals, and social events in an organized fashion. It even syncs your plans with Google Calendar or Outlook, and if you have friends or family traveling along you can easily share that data with them.

travelapps tripit

TripIt organizes all your travel information into one easy-to-glance-at column.

If you’re a frequent traveller, you might also find the $49 a year Pro subscription worth the price, as it offers information like alternate flights when something goes wrong, as well as refund alerts.

Inbox by Gmail 

travelapps inbox

If you don’t want a seperate app to organize your travel plans, Inbox by Gmail does it for you.

If you weren’t already aware, Inbox by Gmail (Free) offers Trip Bundles, a feature introduced over the summer that literally bundles together every detail about an upcoming trip. It works a little like TripIt, though it’s integrated within the app, and the most recent update includes the ability to add others to the trip itinerary. 


I tend to start my packing list weeks before I even pull the suitcase out of storage. I need to know what kind of clothing to pack, whether it matches along with the shoes I’m bringing, and if I’ll need to pack more than one heavy jacket. All of this will eventually determine which size suitcase I bring with me on a trip. Yes, I am that meticulous about packing.

travelapps packpoint

Can’t figure out what to pack for a trip? PackPoint can help you get started.

This is why I’m particularly keen on PackPoint (Free). It asks you about your trip and the activities you plan to pack for, and whether you’ll be able to do laundry. PackPoint then offers a comprehensive packing list of what you need to bring along, as well as what the weather forecast will be like when you travel. It’s really quite helpful. If you need additional functionality, including TripIt integration, you can pay $2.99 to unlock those features.


travelapps touristeye

TouristEye can help you make itineraries for far away places. 

When I’m visiting family or friends around the country or overseas, I like to figure out what there is to do in the area. TouristEye (Free), developed by the travel experts at Lonely Planet, helps you plan an itinerary for the day. It’s helped me find things like obscure museums to visit in Minnesota and the best hiking locales in Mendocino County. You can also save your itinerary for offline viewing, or use the Nearby function to find fun, touristy things using your current location. 


FourSquare (Free) used to be the social app for “checking in” and bragging to your friends about all the cool restaurants you were eating at. But the company moved all that stuff to Swarm, turning Foursquare into a crowdsourced "find places to go" app.

travelapps foursquare

FourSquare used to be a bustling social network, but now it’s particularly useful for finding new places to drink and dine.

I like to use FourSquare to find places to eat or a yoga studio where I can practice when I’m on the road. I found that it works a bit better than Yelp because I don’t have to wade through poorly written reviews and rants to figure out whether a place is worth patronizing, and FourSquare typically has more users overseas. It's also got a nice design and great search, filter, and location-aware features.


travelapps seatguru

SeatGuru can help you find an affordable flight and get a good seat.

SeatGuru (Free) is my favorite app for finding the cheapest flights. Since we don’t travel on a set schedule throughout the year, we’ll plan our trip based on when the flights are cheapest on SeatGuru. The app is also useful for figuring out where to sit on a plane and whether you can upgrade and checking on the status of a flight while you’re en route. 

travelapps gateguru

Easily navigate airports with GateGuru.

SeatGuru also has a companion app called GateGuru (Free), which is particularly helpful if you’re spending some time in an airport on a layover and want to know how to get to your terminal, where to eat, or how long you should expect to be waiting in the security line. 

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