Frequent fliers and sporadic sightseers alike know the woes of air travel. Sure, it gets you there fast but at the price of unavoidable aggravation: You have to deal with the airport and all the lovely little annoyances associated with it.
Luckily, our technology age provides plenty of tools to make your trip go more smoothly. So before you take off, load up your phone with apps to help you do everything from getting to the airport on time to staying entertained while you (inevitably) wait for your flight.
Parking and transportation
Obviously, air travel starts with getting to the airport. But even that simple step can be fraught with delays and frustration. The following apps will help you arrive stress-free and on time, whether by train, bus, or automobile.
Google Maps--Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone (free)
Work out your route to the airport with the ubiquitous Google Maps, which uses your device's on-board GPS to guide you to your destination. You can opt for audible navigation if you're driving yourself and need to keep your eyes on the road, and the apps handy traffic stats will warn you of impending bottlenecks so you can devise an alternate route.
Google Maps can also help you plot your trip to the airport on public transportation, with transit directions that show such details as time en route, transfer information, and the cost of the trip
If you drive your car to the airport, you'll need a place to park it. AirportParking is a free iOS app dedicated to helping you find discount parking at any of more than 100 airports in the United States. It also provides maps, shuttle frequency data, and information on the type of parking available (outdoor, covered, or valet) as well as parking lot locations and contact numbers.
Using Android? Try the free Best Parking, which identifies locations and prices for garages and lots in 80 cities and 115 airports across North America--making it a useful app for nonairport parking, too.
Taxi Magic--Android, iOS (free)
Few things are more stressful than calling a cab to take you to the airport only to have it arrive late or not show up at all. Taxi Magic lets you book your ride directly on your device without sitting on hold; track your cab's location; and pay via credit card stored in your account, so you can hop out as soon as you arrive at your drop-off point.
In San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Seattle? Try Lyft, an on-demand ride-sharing service where the drivers receive ratings (and often offer riders thoughtful extras like bottles of water and gum).
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