The Best Travel Apps
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Whether I'm hitting the road or boarding a plane, I like to be well prepared when I travel with my family. These days, that means using apps to help with the pre-travel planning and while we're in transit. Here are some of my favorites.
When I'm planning a trip that involves any type of tickets or reservations, I like to keep them organized with TripIt. The app scans your inbox for travel confirmations or you can enter the information manually. Either way, I have all of my information in one place. TripIt is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 via tripit.com.
Before we leave on a major trip, I create a packing list to ensure we don't leave anything behind. For that, I like Pack & Go Deluxe ($2.99 on iTunes). In addition to creating your own list, it has suggested packing lists for the whole family for different types of trips. For Android, try Packing List (free on Google Play); it lets you sort your list by which piece of luggage it goes in or where you keep your items, like the bathroom or office.
To keep little ones busy while you're packing, check out My Little Suitcase (free on iTunes). It lets them pack a virtual suitcase for different types of trips, like camping and going to the beach. I also encourage the kids to use Roadside America ($2.99 on iTunes for one U.S. region, in-app purchase of $5.99 for all of U.S./Canada) to find entertaining roadside attractions to stop at along our route.
In the air
For air travel, My TSA (free on iTunes) and GateGuru (free on iTunes and Google Play) are a must. My TSA has operating status for U.S. airports provided by the FAA and security checkpoint wait times reported by fellow travelers. For the latter, you can see a history of reports to get a general sense of how long the wait times are. GateGuru provides information on restaurants, shops and services at 120 airports in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. You'll also find reviews and photos taken by other travelers.
On the road
On long road trips, I find myself referring to iExit ($0.99 on iTunes and free on Google Play) to find resources near upcoming exits, like food, drug stores and hotels. Gas Buddy (free for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 on gasbuddy.com) is the best for finding good gas prices along the way. And to keep the kids entertained in the car, I like Roadtrip Bingo HD ($0.99 on iTunes for iPad). It lets two kids play together. If you have another iOS device, try Roadtrip Bingo ($0.99 on iTunes), and for Android devices, check out Bingo Road Trip (free on Google Play).