We all learn that to do anything reaaalllllly well, requires focus. So here are travel tools and apps that do one thing really well, what that is, and why we love them.
1. GetPassbook: Get your PDF boarding pass in Apple Wallet
You know those small crowds of people piling up just in front of the security gates. They’re most likely trying to find their boarding pass. GetPassbook is a tool that allows you to quickly scan or upload a regular boarding pass so it’s compatible with Apple Wallet and GPay.
Add the pass to your mobile wallet of choice and bam, it’s offline and accessible, so you’re no longer part of that huddle. Any travel tool that allows you to get through airports faster is a beautiful thing.
(Disclaimer: GetPassbook is made by us. If we didn’t think it was brilliantly awesome, we wouldn’t have made it in the first place. It also somehow ends up in every list.)
2. SeatGuru: Find the best seat on a plane
Ever choose a “window” seat on a plane, only to find out you got the one seat that looks straight into the plane wall? This single purpose travel tool will help you out.
Not all airline sites make it completely clear what exactly seat 42M looks like. That’s where SeatGuru comes in handy. A regular economy with extra leg space? A secluded seat far away from the toilets? Just use your flight number to pull up a seat map and you can find out before you check-in.
3. Uber: Get a cab without paying at the end
Everyone pretty much knows what Uber is. If you need to get out of an airport and not sure how cabs work in the city you’ve landed in, or what payment they take. Ja, just Uber it. No calling, standing in long taxi queues, or haggling prices with the hustlers shouting at you as you land.
But the thing this travel tool does really well is in the payment part of the journey. There is none. Just exit and say something nice for a good rating.
4. Google maps: See how long it takes to get to the airport
Whether you want a train, bus, cab, lime, or even a long walk, Google Maps is still the fastest way to find out the best ish route to (or from) the airport. With this amazing travel tool, you can even adjust for timing, and get an idea what traffic will look like at say 7am Monday morning, or during Friday afternoon rush hour.
5. FlightStats: What’s going on with my flight?
Want information on gates, delays, boarding status, and likelihood of the flight being delayed, even by how much, you can head to FlightStats and find out.
That is unless you prefer to get chronic neck pain from staring up at the departures board instead of using this super simple travel tool. We won’t judge.
You can also type the flight number into Google search, LH332 or whatever, and then Google will show you the key info.
6. Booking.com: See which hotels are value for money
Whether you actually use booking.com to book a hotel or not, they have an impressive array of ratings, reviews, and images so you can easily assess value for money, and book with confidence. The best travel tools are ones that provide transparency and trust while you’re making important travel purchase decisions. Of course, its usefulness entails that you actually read the reviews.
Tip: filter by most recent reviews and read more than one.
7. Citymapper: When is the bus really coming?
Not sure how they do this, but as if by magic, they have this one down. This super useful travel tools allows you to easily see real-time updates and status of your public transportation options and figure out how to get to that airport as fast as possible.
So far only possible in a limited number (41) of cities.
8. Dark Sky: Get alerted when it will rain in 10 mins
There are weather apps, and then there is Dark Sky. It’s a paid one, and not really a travel tool per se, but after saving you from looking like a guttersnipe on your way to a business meeting or a schmancy event, you’ll agree that your life is better with it.
Also you can see UV ratings per hour and a host of other weather related data. Definitely not for you if you like finding out what the weather is by opening your window and looking up at the sky.
9. Splitwise: Make your friends pay their way.. Easily
Are you the one picking up the tab to “Split later”, then this is the app for you. No grudges or hard feelings, the app tells your friends to cough up, and also reminds them.
This travel tools allows you to stay friends with your travel buddies, you get to keep feeling heroic when picking up the tab without any real financial worries. And the waiter doesn’t have to spend 10 mins doing maths. It’s a triple win!
10. AHOY: Book a flight up to 1 hour before takeoff
We’ve all been there. Missed a flight, flight is delayed or cancelled and we have HAVE to be somewhere. That’s where this travel tool comes in handy. Most airlines and OTAs stop selling tickets around 2-3 hours before departure… in some cases a lot longer.
So if you need to grab a last minute flight, and get to your destination (as close as possible to) on time, this is the travel tool for you. Made by the makers of GetPassbook.
Bonus single purpose travel tool:
TimeShifter: Helps you not have jet lag
Made by astronauts, elite athletes, and super humans, this app will tell you when and how to break your habits so you never have jet lag again.
By using circadian neuroscience, and a personalised combination of sleep, light, caffeine, and melatonin, this travel tool claims to make jet lag history.