7 Free Holiday Travel Apps You Need This Year

Patricia Magaña, November 26, 2013
Fares from Washington DC:

    It's the most wonderful time of the year—unless you're stranded at the airport or stuck in record traffic. Download these must-have apps to make your holiday trip a success!

    My TSA

    Can you pack a pocketknife, disposable lighter, or blueberry pie in your carry-on? Which airports use TSA PreCheck? What is TSA PreCheck? Download the Transportation Security Administration's award-winning My TSA app and you'll never wonder about the vagaries of the 3-1-1 rule again.

    Additionally, the app provides general information found on the TSA's website, including your airport's on-time performance, its weather, and whether it is experiencing any general delays.

    Available for free on Android and Apple.

    Pack the Bag

    From packing to other to-do tasks, there's so much to get done before a trip that lists are a must. Don't forget the chargers (for your Kindle, phone, iPod, etc.) and memory cards. Remember to redirect the mail. Notify your neighbor of your absence. Set the cat-food dispenser. The lists go on and on! The Pack the Bag app helps keep track of it all so you don't lose your sanity.

    You can create an itinerary and receive reminders, establish list categories based on the type of trip (camping, flight, etc.) or by the type of tasks to perform prior to departure, and select from the suggested listed items or add your own. View in a list the items yet to be packed or tasks yet to be performed, and then check them off as you go. This handy app is much cleaner than a chicken-scratch note.

    Available for free on Apple; upgrade to the ad-free version for $1.99.


    Perfect for day-of-travel information, the FlightStats app keeps an up-to-the-minute watch on your flight with a map-based plane tracker; provides terminal, gate, and baggage-claim data; and keeps a vigilant watch on weather patterns for potential flight delays. You can also find information about airport services and amenities.

    Available for free on Android and Apple.


    Stop poring through your inbox for confirmation emails and instead concisely view your trip’s entire itinerary in a single, polished place: the TripCase app.

    Either forward email confirmations to TripCase and they'll sync the travel data to your profile, or manually enter trip details yourself. Particularly helpful for flights, the app provides information about your aircraft (plus its available seats), gate and baggage-claim details, and even directions to the airport. From car rentals to tours to accommodations, your itinerary is cleanly presented in a shareable timeline.

    Should you miss a flight, the app has readily available alternate-flight information from both the original airline and its competitors.

    Available for free on Android and Apple.


    Communication from your airline is often so poor that you wish you could break it off. Luckily, GateGuru makes it easier to go back and forth so that you can maintain a civil relationship with the airline.

    Add your flight data to the GateGuru app and it will automatically update you with any last-minute flight changes (gates and schedules). Other features include easy-to-scan terminal and gate maps and a comprehensive airport-amenities option. From ATMs to free Wi-Fi, your preferred amenity can be quickly located with the easy-to-navigate listings.

    Available for free on Android, Apple, and Windows.


    Hitting the road this Thanksgiving holiday? According to AAA's traffic forecast, so will 43.4 million other Americans. You obviously won't be alone out on the roadways, so make the best of it and use your fellow road warriors' knowledge to your advantage. Download Waze to easily locate police traps, traffic bottlenecks, and even cheap gas.

    Available for free on Android and Apple.


    Know exactly what's around the bend on your long holiday drive with the RoadNinja app. Low on gas? The app not only notifies you of an upcoming exit's fueling station but also of its prices. Need a bite to eat? RoadNinja tells you where the fast-food and sit-down restaurants are located (and offers reviews, too). Better yet, use it to locate nearby hotels and even book your stay through the RoadNinja app.

    Available for free on Android and Apple.

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    This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Seven Free Holiday Travel Apps You Need This Year.

    Follow Patricia Magaña on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.