The holiday travel season is upon us and while your destination might involve family, food, and fun, getting there can be an exercise in frustration, futility, and frowning.
It doesn’t have to be awful. Well, that awful anyway. Here are four indispensable apps for making holiday travel less painful.
PackPoint: Leave nothing behind
If you hate packing, give PackPoint a try.
You tell the app how many days you’ll be gone, which types of activities you’ll be doing, how many fancy dinners you’ll be going to, and any other pertinent information, and it’ll automatically generate a handy packing list for you. It even checks the weather at your destination to ensure you bring the right outerwear.
The free version has plenty going for it, while the $3 premium version adds TripIt integration, synchronization with Evernote, the ability to create custom activities, and a handful of other goodies.
Grab: Mobile food ordering at the airport
Imagine the convenience and simplicity of a mobile takeout order except you’re at the airport and instead of driving to pick up your food, you simply amble a few gates down to grab it.
It’s possible with Grab, a free app that not only shows you what’s available nearby while you’re waiting for your flight, but lets you pay for it ahead of time so you can head right to the pickup counter.
The app works with most major airports in the U.S. and several international ones as well, and even integrates with Concur to sync your receipts for any meals you need to expense to your company. It also gives you turn-by-turn directions to your selected restaurant so you don’t get lost. What a time to be alive!
Dayuse: Hotels without the overnight
Your flight has been delayed for just long enough that the idea of hanging out at the airport the whole time is making your left eye twitch, but the thought of ponying up for a hotel room you’re barely going to use is making your right eye twitch.
Enter Dayuse, an ingenious service that lets you book reputable hotel rooms in non-overnight blocks at lower rates than you’d pay for a full overnight stay.
Just tell it where you’re located and pick the day you need—options initially default to today and tomorrow, so it’s positioned at travelers in a jam—and it’ll show you what’s available for which times.
Ninety-five bucks for a room at the Boston Park Plaza between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. instead of the full rate of $188? Yes, please.
Timeshifter: Au revoir, jet lag
Traveling from one coast to another or overseas can wreak havoc on your sleep. Get ahead of jet lag with the Timeshifter app.
You tell the app where and when you’re going to travel, and it’ll set up a science-based plan for you that aims to keep your circadian rhythm clipping along smoothly.
You’ll be advised when to avoid caffeine, when to get some sunlight exposure, when to (and when not to) sleep—both in the days leading up to your trip and after you’ve arrived.
The app is free to use for your first round-trip jaunt. After that, you can buy trips à la carte starting at $10 or get unlimited access for $25 a year.