Besides the apps the airlines put out to aid you with your flights (schedules, eta, etd, etc.), there are some apps you might consider using (based on availabilty to your location).
HopStop: Recently acquired recently by Apple so only available in the Apple Store. Helps you get from point A to point B using the local public transit.
Citymapper: Similar to HopStop but only available for London and NYC.
MetrO: Covers 400 destinations around the world in a more basic way.
Walkit: Covers UK for walking.
Uber: At the click of a button you can have a car come for you. Works in various world cities and is cashless – charges your card directly.
Pingspot: You can pin your favorite shops and restaurants. You can also leave a photo.
Flying: Keep track of your flights. Interact with friends throughout your journey.
iStone: Translation app designed for travelers without linguistic skills for the country you are in. 12 languages.
Packing Pro: Customize your own list so you don’t forget what you need.
Postagram: Make a personalized postcard from a photo. Works with your phone, Facebook or Instagram photos.
Photosynth: Another photo app but this one lets you take 3D and 360-degree photos.
Splid: Photo and audio app. Splid allows you to take pictures but not edit them so people can’t accuse you of “Photoshopping” something.
Minube: E-Library with thousands of user-generated mini-guides. Covers 24,000 destinations in 200 countries (and counting.)
These are just a few of the many travel apps out there.
~ Jody Victor
On their travel site, Jody found that CNN lists 20 of the biggest travel mistakes and asks you to list yours in the comments section. Here is their list:
- Not buying something you like as soon as you see it
- Not checking your phone plan before traveling abroad
- Trusting “near city center” descriptions
- Taking the “super” shuttle
- Not tightening shampoo caps all the way
- Thinking you know the perfect time to book a ticket
- Trying too hard to chisel out a bargain
- Not changing money at the airport
- Underestimated the hell that is Heathrow
- Buying cheap flip-flops
- Fearing street food
- Buying a drum on the first day of a three-month trek across Asia
- Over-reliance on guidebooks
- Not buying the full insurance policy
- Obsessive photography
- Not checking visa requirements before departure
- Attempting Berlin in a weekend
- Using a credit card to get cash
- Not printing out reservation details
Of course this is just the main points – for more information and elaboration on these points, check out their webpage. Don’t forget to look at the comments section – there are some more good tips from readers.
~ Jody Victor
Jody‘s crew, out and about, has some first-hand tips for flying.
- If you wear heavy jewelry, put it in the bin at the security check point.
- Try to have the items you need to put in the bins ready at the top of your bag.
- Make sure you have more than 7 minutes between landing time and the connecting flight’s boarding time.
- Never refuse the snack. If you aren’t hungry, put them in your bag. You might need them if the connecting flight is too turbulent and they don’t come around.
- Don’t expect taxi fares from the airport to be based on mileage. You may have to pay a flat rate. (cha-ching!)
- Try not to get the seat next to lavatory. People don’t always close the door when they are done.
- Use as small a bag as you can. Some of the airlines have a metal corral that you can try to fit your bag in to check for size, but they seem to be shrinking.
Jody wanted to find out more about when is the best time to purchase airline tickets and when is the best time to fly. He turned to farecompare.com to find some answers:
The Cheapest Day to Fly is Wednesday
Wednesday is one of the three cheapest days, followed by Tuesday and Saturday. The most expensive days to travel are Friday and Sunday. The cheapest time is usually the first flight out in the morning. Next best times during/after lunch and dinner time.
Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets is Tuesday 3pm EST
One study shows the best time to buy airline tickets and shop for flights (domestically) is Tuesday at 3pm EST. Most of these discounted airfare are pulled on Thursdays, so you’re probably paying too much if you wait until the weekend.
Shop One Passenger First and Save on Trips for Two or More
Airline reservations systems must sell everyone in your party the same, higher price even if there are cheaper priced seats available for any in your group. This is why you should be shopping for one passenger first for airline tickets to save on trips with two or more passengers. You can then try to shop for more than one and compare the price. The only drawback is you’ll have to make two transactions to buy 2 tickets. One trick could be to use 2 separate browsers and get them to the final purchase page and click one right after the other so if you picked your seats, you have a better chance to get them.
Understand How Airlines Price Tickets
Have you ever talked to a seatmate about how much you paid for your ticket? It most likely wasn’t the same amount. This is not unusual. You can check prices in the morning and then a few hours later find different prices. You can find out more about the airlines price their tickets here.
Don’t Forget to Check Low Cost Airlines
Some low cost airlines like Southwest don’t allow tickets to be quoted on popular comparison ticket websites. Remember to check them separately to see if they have lower prices. Low cost airlines don’t always have the cheapest ticket prices nor the best schedules so remember to check both.
Flexibility Helps Scoring Cheaper Tickets
When you can, be flexible in departure/arrival days/times.
Avoid Days When Airlines Have Peak Travel Surcharges
When seats are seats are in short supply, airlines may charge more for their seats. Normally they would do this by raising ticket prices, but in tough economic times they have resorted to very targeted departure day increases they call “peak travel surcharges”.
Don’t Shop Too Early or Too Late
Airlines don’t start releasing cheaper seats until 3-4 months before departure for domestic travel and conversely 4-5 months before international travel. Look at this When-to-Buy SM airline ticket guide, for more information.
Use Technology to Notify You When Prices Drop and Track Price Trends
You can sign up for real-time email airline ticket price drop alerts at farecompare.com that will notify you every time an airline drops prices on your favorite routes.
Save on Last Minute Emergency Flights
At the worst of emotional times you can be hit with very high prices for last minute emergency flights. Airlines may assume that procrastinating travelers have their company foot the bill. You can:
- Call for Bereavement Rates – most airlines don’t have these anymore, but the ones that do may only discount $50 or 10%
- Use Miles or Points
- Last Minute Specials – some airlines have cheaper last minute deals for off peak travel
- Shop Air+Hotel Packages – many packaging sites negotiate rates that are much less expensive than if you buy just the airfare
Jody hopes you have learned as much as he did!
Jody found the following places had travel tips for the holiday this year:
The Red Cross has travel tips for Thanksgiving.
Their site has tips for traveling by car, air, train, or public transportation.
The Travel Channel also has some tips for travel on their site.
Family Education has some Thanksgiving travel tips as well.
Jody found that even AARP had some travel tips for this Thanksgiving. According to this site, you can even apply for TSA pre-check expedited screening!
Even truck drivers offer safety tips for Thanksgiving travel from the American Trucking Associations.
Jody suggest that however or wherever you travel this Thanksgiving, do it safely!