Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Tech Tools Take the Tension Out of Travel
Annoyed by the alliteration? Sorry, but I’m trying to create the typical state of irritation many of us experience when traveling.
Before you transfer your mood to me, be my seatmate (I’ll take the aisle) while we explore some iPhone apps and websites designed to lesson anxiety.
iPhone and other Smarties
For fliers, Airfare Pro at $4.99 searches nearly 10,000 airports, hundreds of airlines and over 200 travel sites around the world to find the cheapest flights possible.
TripIt Travel Organizer is a free app that puts your travel plans on your iPhone. To use the app, you email your flight, hotel and rental confirmation to email@example.com. The website will then create itineraries for each trip.
Currency is a free app that provides up-to-date exchange rates for over 100 currencies and countries.
FlightTrack Pro, at $9.99 imports flight data automatically and sends alerts with real-time changes to your flight.
Next Flight provides a list of available nonstop flights from all airlines for the day. Its great if you miss a flight, get bumped or decide to leave early. The $2.99 app tracks scheduled departures from more than 4,200 airports and 1,100 airlines.
Urbanspoon is a free restaurant finder that uses GPS to locate a restaurant near you. You can filter by neighborhood, cuisine, or price. Ratings and reviews are available, too.
Yelp is a free app that helps you find nearby bars, restaurants, and other businesses. You can read reviews from Yelp’s community of locals.
Kayak.com is considered the best resource for finding the cheapest air, hotel, cruise and car-rental prices. Sites such as Travelocity.com and Hotwire.com search only their own databases, but Kayak.com includes more than 400 airline websites, online travel agencies and other travel sites, including some international ones, in its search for the best fares and fees.
Yapta.com tracks your itinerary and alerts you when the price drops. Better than that, Yapta.com tracks flights after the tickets have been purchased. If a price drops enough to cover any re-ticketing or cancellation fees, Yapta.com sends out an alert.
TaxiWiz.com figures out the price of a cab ride in cities throughout the U.S. For example, if I declined your plea to pick you up at O’Hare, the 10.9 mile cab ride to my house would cost about $24.46 or $28 with a 15% tip, plus a $1.00 surcharge for trips from O'Hare Airport.
Transitchicago.com provides a cheaper alternative to my place. $2.25 for a 44 minute door-to-door trip via the CTA's Blue Line.
What’s that I hear? You’ve canceled plans to visit because I’m too lazy to pick you up at the airport? Oh well. Remember, though, this post is about reducing tension related to traveling. And since I’m its author, my serenity trumps yours.