If you keep an eye on the news headlines, or if you travel yourself, you know that travel around the holidays is typically a nightmare scenario. For one, the weather in many parts of the United States is miserable around the holidays. It could be blizzard conditions in the Rockies or Alaska during Thanksgiving. In northern parts of the United States, the weather may be too poor to even fly safely. That leaves you stranded in the airport, at the mercy of the weather. Even if the weather cooperates beautifully, that leaves you contending with millions of other travelers.
When the holiday rush descends on the airport, it’s hard for even the most organized facilities to deal with. You’re one in a sea of millions, and the airlines sometimes struggle to get you where you need to go. People still continue to travel on the holidays, though. Almost no one wants to spend the holidays apart from their loved ones. So people continue to travel, even if getting to your grandmother’s house is a miserable experience.
Of course, you can’t control the weather when it comes to coordinating your holiday travel. But luckily, a lot of other factors are in your control. If you plan for your journey before it even starts, you can make life easier for yourself.
There are a lot of great apps that will make your traveling experience much simpler. These apps provide information, opinions and reviews, cheap flight bundling options, and more!
With many travel booking sites, you are provided with the option to bundle various elements together to save money. Bundling these elements together can be quite beneficial and make things simpler to book and manage. There are a few things to consider, though.
Using the same airline helps you earn frequent flier miles. And similarly, you earn points or free nights when you consistently stay at the same hotel chain. If this is important to you, be sure to read the fine print. Some bundled deals might not allow you to earn frequent flier or hotel points.
On the other hand, some bundles make you select from a smaller set of choices. For example, you might only be able to choose from two departure times. Try pricing out your options separately. That way, you know if you’re receiving a really good deal.
Downloading apps from your airline is a great idea. For instance, the American Airlines app is very convenient. Using this app, you can check-in for your flight, check flight status, find if your aircraft has landed, and more!
You can also access a mobile boarding pass from the airline app. Mobile boarding passes can be used just like a printed pass. They’ll get you through the security lines, and allow you to board flights. The mobile boarding pass features a barcode. To use a mobile boarding pass, you’ll hold your phone over their scanner. That way, it can read the barcode.
The app may show you the amenities provided on a flight. These days, you’re lucky to get a small bag of peanuts and a questionably flavored cup of coffee. Some airlines, though, use their app to provide inflight entertainment and airplane WiFi. There may be fees associated with this, depending on what you want to do. Some airline apps may let you share your flight information, too. This is a helpful feature if someone is picking you up at your destination.
Remember how you used to show up at an airport gate close to our flight time, and hop on the plane? Now, you stand in one line and are shuffled off to the next. The MyTSA app helps with those long lines!
Before you even head to the airport, check the app. It tells you how busy the security checkpoints are, and whether you should leave earlier. It also coordinates with TSA Pre-check lanes. These lanes are accessible if you’ve gone through the pre-check process.
To go through this process, it costs $85 dollars to be pre-screened by the government. Your $85 membership fee lasts for five years. There is a list of benefits, starting with the shorter TSA pre-check lines! You get to keep your shoes, belt, and jacket on. You also don’t have to remove your liquids and electronics from your bags.
The initial pre-check process takes some time. It includes a background check and getting fingerprinted at an enrollment center. Once you’re approved, provide your TSA ‘Known Traveler Number’ when you book future flights.
Have you ever enjoyed an airline lounge? You can relax, power up your devices, and drink alcoholic beverages. Sometimes, you can even take a shower! This isn’t reserved for people with special airline memberships. This isn’t true. LoungeBuddy allows you to pay for a one-time airline lounge visit.
TripAdvisor bills itself as the world’s largest travel site. They can access inventory information for flights, hotels, and more. The real differentiators are reviews and community influence.
The currency of TripAdvisor is opinions. TripAdvisor claims over 630 million reviews. It is a great example of using peer feedback and the creation of a community-based mindset. In fact, TripAdvisor claims to have a community of 455 million different users each month.
TripAdvisor provides reviews from your peers. If a hotel is laced with bedbugs, or a certain diner is known for causing food poisoning, they aren’t shy about letting you know! If there’s a particularly irate traveler that has their facts wrong, organizations can publicly respond to these negative reviews.
TripAdvisor also has the ability to streamline your vacation planning significantly. They do this by allowing you to bundle aspects of a trip together into one category. This gives you a lot of savings that you can put back in your wallet. If you’re interested in thoroughly investigating your destination, do it here! If you’re not committed to anything yet, search by theme. For instance, you can search for romantic destinations.
The main cons of TripAdvisor are the same cons associated with any social media site. Some reviews are written in a disjointed and confusing fashion. Since it’s a very open forum, there’s a chance for real transparency. But there’s also the opportunity for a restaurant’s employees to write false glowing reviews, too. If you’re looking for a broad overview of a destination, with great opportunities to save with bundling, this is a great option.
Expedia draws its name from two concepts, exploration and speed. Expedia embodies these concepts by providing access to fares and inventory via technology. Expedia also owns and operates travel-based inventory sites such as hotwire.com (car rentals and more), hotels.com (as the name sounds), and they even own homeaway.com (which is the parent company of VRBO.)
Traveling during the holidays may be the most painful part of the season for you. Being cramped in an airplane with a complimentary pack of biscotti is no one’s idea of holiday cheer. With these technology tips and apps, hopefully, you’ll be able to relax and have a great time!