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No time to waste: 9 apps to avoid long waits

Jasmine France | Sept. 5, 2013
Hate to wait? Get in line. And then get through that line as quickly as possible thanks to these handy apps.

mobile apps

With everything we have going on in our daily lives, time is as precious as it is fleeting. No one wants to waste any of it waiting on hold, in lines, in traffic, or looking for parking. Whether you just want to speak to a human or you're anxious to get to your next destination, a variety of apps can help. Of course, you can't hope to avoid waiting entirely, but the selection below can help you shave valuable minutes off day-to-day tasks.

The digital age is great and all, but automated customer service is often more time-consuming than it needs to be. Plus, those "talk back" listening bots aren't the most adept at understanding certain words and phrases. And who has time to wait on hold in today's busy world? Luckily, there's GetHuman, a free app for iOS, Android, and Web browsers. The service has contact info for more than 8000 companies, provides phone numbers that allow you to get through the phone maze fast, and offers a single-click button for requesting that the company call you back. It also lists the most responsive email addresses, based on reviews and trends.

Another option with similar features is FastCustomer (Android, iOS, Web). It has fewer companies in its database, but offers the added benefit of automatically walking you through the phone maze while you go about more pressing business.

INRIX Traffic
As green as our intentions may be, driving is frequently an unavoidable necessity. Sometimes, traffic is too, but if you get your routes and timing just right, you can shave valuable time off of a daily commute or road trip. Activating the traffic feature on Google Maps can do the trick, but if you want a tool specifically focused on traffic, INRIX Traffic is a great option. This free app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry pulls in data such as traffic congestion, road construction, accidents, events, police activity, and historical traffic patterns to provide you with the best strategy of attack. You can also save frequently used routes and destinations as well as share your arrival time with contacts.

If we lived in a perfect world, parking would always be free and a space would always be available directly adjacent to our destination. When parking karma isn't on your side, however, the process can be a major time (and money) sink. Free for iOS and Android, ParkMe can help by recommending the best place to park based on your location, what kind of vehicle you're driving, and how long you'd like to stay. The app provides real-time pricing as well as an estimate of how many spaces are open at a given parking structure. It also offers city-focused tips, such as what to expect during special events and when you can get away with parking in certain on-street spaces.


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