Just Go Smart

The best apps for stress-free travel


Whether you're off on a business trip or heading to a sunny beach for a relaxing vacation, you'll want to minimize the stress and struggle of getting to your destination as much as you possibly can. Airports, taxi ranks and train stations are not places that are typically associated with calmness and serenity, but there are apps that can lend a hand and help you complete your journey in a peaceful state of mind.

 

1. TripIt

TripIt works as if by magic — send all of your booking confirmation emails to the TripIt email address, and the app is clever enough to automatically put together an itinerary and travel plan. There's a manual aspect too, so you can add routes, pictures and destinations yourself to augment the work done by TripIt. Sign up for a Pro membership ($49 per year) and you can get instant alerts about flight delays, cancellations and gate changes. Apps are available for Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone.

2. WorldMate

WorldMate works in a similar way to TripIt, offering you an automatic itinerary builder that can pull in various details from the booking confirmation emails that hit your inbox. It can handle flights, hotels and car bookings, enabling you to stay on top of where you need to be and when. A WorldMate Gold subscription ($99.95 per year) gives you push notifications of flight delays and removes the adverts, but there are plenty of features to explore in the free version too. The app is available for Android, BlackBerry and iOS.

3. Hotel Tonight

Being stuck in a strange city with nowhere to stay isn't the most pleasant of experiences, but Hotel Tonight can save you — not only does it offer quick, witty summaries of all the hotels in your current area, it can also bag you a discounted rate at many of them. Hotel Tonight is a simple app, and there are many others along the same lines, but the straightforward, intuitive interface and the quality of the hotel descriptions make it stand out from the crowd. You can get Hotel Tonight for Android and iOS.

4. FlightStats

Airports are chaotic places at the best of times, but there's no better free app for keeping on top of flight information than FlightStats. It provides live, real-time updates on flight positions, delays, departures and arrivals, and you can track any flight as it makes its way across the globe. If you're hurrying to catch a plane, FlightStats lets you know if it's on schedule and which gate you need to be at. The app is available on Android and iOS.

5. Hipmunk

One of the bright new stars of the travel app scene, Hipmunk lets you search for hotels and flights at the best prices. So far so unoriginal, you might think, but like many leading apps Hipmunk takes a common idea and packages it in an interface that's refreshingly easy to move around. Everything you could want, including prices, locations and reviews, is all in one place and just a finger tap away. Hipmunk is available on the Web and as an Android or iOS app.