6 holiday travel apps that can save you some hassles
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CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23 : A girl sits on her toy as travelers walk though the TSA security line at O'Hare International Airport on December 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. O'hare International Airport is one of the busiest hubs in the nation during the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years. Photo credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images Israel

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23 : A girl sits on her toy as travelers walk though the TSA security line at O'Hare International Airport on December 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. O'hare International Airport is one of the busiest hubs in the nation during the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years. Photo credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images Israel

Happy holidays from Geektime

The holiday travel season isn’t over just yet, with Christmas and New Year’s coming up fast. Waze 2015 data, which they provided to Geektime, show that last minute shoppers, whether for meals or presents, are going to be out in force today and tomorrow, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Image Credit: Waze

Image Credit: Waze

So here are six more holiday travel app recommendations from us here at Geektime. For our earlier five list for the season, click here.

1. Delta & Pana

What do airline customers want most from their mobile apps? Sequence surveyed over 1,000 users for the holiday season, and found that “49% wish they could use a mobile app to track both their flights and their luggage,” that, “44% want an app that would automatically notify connecting flights about flight delays,” and that, “37% would like an app that will alert friends and family of flight status and arrival time.”

Baggage tracking has the most ground to cover, still, before it becomes as standard as other airline apps. As of this year, Delta fliers can avail themselves of a tracking app that uses RFID chips to make baggage handling faster and more accurate. (Delta is the first major carrier to provide travelers with this option.) But “smart luggage” setups can still be expensive and, if the batteries or Wi-Fi go out, unreliable on international flights.

Your best bet is still to keep your most important items close at hand, in the cabin itself.

Pana used to only be a paid service, but recently dropped the fees for a 3.0 update released this week. (Users who want extra features have to pay $49 a month.) The itinerary planner app, which has automatic check-in for airlines, links to your email and compiles a convenient, all-in-one place listing your various trips’ legs, specific bookings, contact information, etc.

You can also “collaborate on the trip with family, friends and coworkers,” according to Tech Crunch, and it will send you live updates about events that could change your plans, such as delays.

2. Favado

Favado is part of Savings.com, and intends to take advantage of the growing digital coupon market. People are less willing to take the time and effort to clip out physical coupons from a booklet, especially when so many such deals require mix-and-matching locations and a stream of unwanted junk mail.

Favado originally appealed to “extreme savers,” the kind of shopper looking for 50% off or more on a product, but in light of these new trends has broadened its base with tens of thousands of local, regional, and national chains for grocers and drugstores. Even casual users shopping for their families can save up to several hundred dollars a month, according to Forbes.

Image Credit: Favado

Image Credit: Favado

A lot of the analytics work that goes into the app, surprisingly, comes from crowdsourcing among deals bloggers.

3. Hopper

We’ve covered Hopper at Geektime before, so we are reiterating our earlier review of the app. Hopper has raised $61.7 million going into 2017, and has big plans for expansion. Its free app uses data raked over a period of several years, covering trillions of air fare prices and aggregating them to try and predict trends, such as the impact of Brexit on airfare to and around Europe.

People looking to travel on December 26 or January 2 should be on the lookout for deals, as those dates are in fact the most expensive ones to fly since they’re right after the holiday itself.

Hopper on iOS and Android. Image Credit: Hooper / ASTRSK PR

Hopper on iOS and Android. Image Credit: Hooper / ASTRSK PR

And since our interview with him, Co-Founder and CEO Frederic Lalonde has hinted that the company is keeping its options open when it comes to the equally lucrative hotel bookings sector.

4. Hotwire

Hotwire, owned by Expedia, updated its mobile app for both iOS and Android over the summer to change the screen layout and add new features, such as bookings after midnight and one-way car rentals. Especially welcome is the option of selecting the number of beds per room and sizes of them, which wasn’t previously an option on mobile. Like other similar services, Expedia is finding that more and more users want a mobile option in place of desktop, and that bookings are being made closer to the travel date – 48 hours apart – than before.

Image Credit: Hotwire

Image Credit: Hotwire

Like Priceline, which we’ll discuss below in a moment, the so-called sharing economy has helped it with its business, as Hotwire President Henrik Kjellberg has expressed, by creating a situation where excess supply generated by Airbnb and the like drive down prices as hotels work to fill rooms.

5. Priceline

Last week, Priceline launched Road Deals, a new iPhone app to cut some of the hassle out of road trip planning. The app helps users select stopover points, like restaurants and hotels, when you have to stop along the way between your departure and destination. Hotels can be booked using the app, which will search for available rooms as you drive, and users will be able to apply Priceline discounts to the bookings. Priceline says it was promoted to add these features after finding that 43% of their mobile app customers were making hotel bookings en route.

Image Credit: Priceline

Image Credit: Priceline

The app is built with the leisure and business traveler in mind, and would be especially useful for people whose plans have changed, and they’re either further along or well behind their original itinerary and need to stop for a night, or spontaneous weekend travelers.

6. Honorable mentions

In addition to those we’ve listed before – such as Moovit, Apple Wallet, and NOAA Weather International – there are several New York City-specific ones that have been brought to our attention: Nowait, for checking wait times at places and adding yourself to the waitlist; the peer-review Get Been iOS app that offers restaurant and hotel recommendations based on family or friends’ experiences with app-to-app compatibility; and TodayTix.

That last one has been been billed as the “Uber of Broadway tickets” on account of it competing with legacy online services who charge higher commissions and are more time-consuming to use. The trade-off is a little less certainty about just where you’ll be seated – something that’s not a turn off for me, at least.

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