With all of the traveling that Erin and I have been doing lately, we’ve definitely got our routines down – we can pack in our sleep and going through the security line is an exercise in muscle memory that makes makes me feel like George Clooney in “Up in the Air.” So today I thought I would feature the set of iPhone apps that have been lifesavers in keeping us organized while on the go. After countless trips and kicking the tires on several apps, these three now play a starring role in our travel memoirs: TripIt, FlightTrack Pro, & GateGuru.
The TripIt app works in conjunction with the TripIt website and is able to be used by anyone (iPhone or not). It’s essentially a place to centralize all your travel plans – rental cars, hotels, flights, etc. After you sign up for an account, you authorize your e-mail address, which ties e-mails sent from you to TripIt to your TripIt account. So when we book a flight or hotel or rental car, we just forward the confirmation e-mails over to TripIt, and in a few seconds we get notified that they’ve processed the info and it’s listed right there in our account.
Everything gets ported over and organized into separate “trips” – confirmation numbers, seat assignments, reservation locators, phone numbers, addresses – everything. So right now we’re in Italy, and our TripIt account has grouped all of our flight and hotel information for our time in Italy into the same trip, so that when we stepped off of the plane in Pisa, we could instantly find our car and hotel information for this particular trip. When you’ve got a bunch of trips going on, one after the other, organization of all your info is KEY to staying on top of things, and this is a super helpful tool that keeps us sane and organized!
Once you’ve signed up for your TripIt account, be sure to add us as a friend, so we can compete for who’s the most traveled. We’re “theyoungrens” on TripIt.
After trying a TON of flight tracking Apps, this is by far my favorite. There’s a “normal” version ($4.99) and a “pro” version ($9.99). Don’t waste your time with the standard version – what you want is the pro version. With the Pro version, you’re able to automatically sync all the data in your TripIt account with FlightTrackPro, so you’ll always have all your most current flight info inside of FlightTrack.
The app also has “push” alerts, so as soon as something changes with any of your flights, you get instantly notified (gate changes, delays, etc). Almost every time that I’ve been using this app and there’s been some sort of flight change, FlightTrack has notified me BEFORE the airline/airport actually notified me, which is incredible. The actual flight tracking features in this app are great – whenever I’ve got a friend or family in the air, I always put their info into FlightTrack and with the push alerts it makes picking someone up at the airport super easy since it lets you know when the plane is expected to arrive, if it’s delayed or early, and as soon as the plane has landed.
I know that $10 might seem like a lot to folks for an app, but let me tell you – after the first time that this app saves you from an overnight in an airport, you’ll be sold. On a recent trip that Erin and I were on, I turned on my phone as soon as we landed and FlightTrack sent me a push notification that my next flight was delayed by two hours which was going to cause me to miss my following connection. So instead of going to the gate to find out what was up, I just went straight to the customer service desk to talk to them. This got Erin and me the last two seats on a flight that was taking off in the next fifteen minutes! To me, that one experience made the app COMPLETELY worth the $10 price tag!
One other thing to note is that the Pro version also works on both your iPhone and iPad (but you only have to pay for it once). The iPad version is basically ridiculous with how awesome it is!
I was hanging out with a buddy the other day who also travels quite a bit, and we were laughing at ourselves because we were able to talk about our “favorite” places to eat, relax, or play at different airports around the world. GateGuru is essentially your “well traveled” friend that you take along with you that is able to give you all sorts of recommendations while you’re waiting for your next flight. It’s kind of like a Yelp for airports, if that makes sense.
Using the iPhone’s GPS, GateGuru shows you all of the closest restaurants to your current position, or you can search by your gate to get a run down of where the closest sports bar is to gate D13 in ATL (my suggestion: Chili’s) or where to get some good Texas BBQ while stopping in DFW for a short layover in terminal C (my suggestion: Dickey’s in the C terminal). In addition to food spots, GateGuru also gives you tips on finding the closest ATM, free WiFi, shops and shoeshines (what, you don’t get your shoes shined in the airport?).