Summer is the busiest travel season, so it’s the best time to be equipped with tips to minimize hassles and maximize the experience. But these days sorting through the maze of travel technology can be nearly as time consuming as circumnavigating the globe.
An Internet Week New York panel of travel industry insiders gave their top picks for websites and mobile apps that assist with flights, lodgings and language translation, and we’ve come across other sources since then. The list below takes business and leisure travelers every step of the way, from planning to booking and beyond.
1. “Paws and Relax” Video Channel: British Airways just launched a new channel featuring dogs and cats to help passengers unwind onboard. It’s available on YouTube for non-BA customers. (Photo above courtesy of Nick Morrish/British Airways)
2. LoungeBuddy: is a free app that helps travelers find airport lounges all over the world that are available for onetime fees. It provides photos, a list of amenities and user reviews.
3. Routehappy: Travelers rate their in-flight experiences based on the seats, wi-fi and onboard entertainment. The site compiles happiness scores so one can see if upgrades are worthwhile.
4. SeatGuru: is a website owned by TripAdvisor offering aircraft seating maps, passenger reviews and advice based on a color-coded system with details about specific seats and legroom.
5. Skyscanner: this free app searches for the best airline deals worldwide. Travelers can compare prices of flights and then buy tickets directly from the airlines. (Logo courtesy of Skyscanner)
6. GetGoing flight finder: is a travel site where one can can search flights by airport, or geography, either by city, country, or region, and discover low fares to nearby destinations.
7. Hipmunk: is a free app that compares hotel and flight deals from leading travel sites. Tonight Deals, its last minute booking feature, highlights substantial savings off the hotel rack rate.
8. Hotel Tonight: is a free app with 24/7 customer support where travelers can find and book same-day deals on top-rated hotels, based on user reviews and photos.
Language Translation and Courses
9. iTranslate: is a free app using voice-activated technology that translates over 80 languages and features a dictionary.
10. Duolingo: is a free app and website that offers language courses in brief segments using gamification for easier learning.
11. Lingua.ly: is a free online program that uses news, sports and entertainment articles as the basis for translating words and improving one’s foreign language vocabulary.
Travel Rewards Information
12. The Points Guy: This site specializes in maximizing frequent flier miles and hotel rewards. Brian Kelly, The Points Guy, travels with his jetsetting Blue French bulldog, aptly named Miles. But the dog may want to skip the “Paws and Relax” videos since they also feature felines.