It’s Christmas week, that time of year when families pack up and make their way to Grandma’s house by train, plane, car – and any way they can. And along with the gifts and fruit cakes, don’t forget to load up your backpack with battery chargers, cables, and a few amazing apps to keep your travels even more enjoyable. So whether you’re driving or flying to your destination, we have got a few essential app recommendations to keep you connected and calm this holiday.
The Tip Check Tip Calculator
Guess what, if you are going to travel to a hotel, eat in a restaurant, park your car at the Valet, or just have someone lug all your shopping into the car – you better know how to tip. Tipping during the Holidays can be especially confusing – how much is too much and how much is too little? The Tip Check Tip Calculator guides you through mirky tipping waters at home and abroad.
TripIt is a free app that pulls all your travel info into one place. Email the confirmations from airlines, car rentals and hotels to firstname.lastname@example.org and it pulls together all your pertinent info and confirmation numbers to one easy-to-read location. TripIt also alerts you if your flight is delayed, often before it’s shown on the airport’s own screens.
Now that passengers are allowed to use handheld devices during takeoff and landing on planes, the Instapaper app is even more useful. Instapaper lets you save articles from the web for reading later, even when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. That means you can read in the airport, on the plane, in the car, and just about anywhere. My favorite feature is the ability to change the font size depending on the device I’m reading it on. Instapaper is available for iOS and Android for $3.99.
We can’t help you if your in-laws don’t understand you, but if you’re traveling to a location where you don’t speak the same language, the Google Translate app is a trip-saver.
It’s a free app for iOS and Android that lets you can type in a word or phrase you’re trying to say – for instance, where is the bathroom? – and it instantly translate into one of 70 languages. I love the fact that you can use your voice for input and that the app will read back out loud the translation for you.
Christmas and Holiday Light Displays
One of the many traditions during the Holiday season is not only traveling to visit friends and family, but also checking out the neighborhood’s decked out houses with their twinkly lights. Sometimes there are so many, that you can never remember from year to year where that one special house is with “all the lights.” The Christmas and Holiday Light Displays App helps you locate all those pretty lit homes easily. And if you happen to come across one not in the app – you can add it for others to find. Now that is the Christmas spirit!
Waze Social GPS Maps & Traffic
I swear by Waze. This app has gotten me past traffic accidents, provided me with great shortcuts when there are traffic jams during rush hour, and it has even made me laugh with some of their community members’ comments. Let’s just say that Google Maps and Apple Maps have nothing on this App! It is easy to use and really knows where it is going. Stuck in a holiday traffic nightmare? Turn on Waze and watch it do its magic.