Few things are more aggravating than hustling out to the bus stop only to see your chariot pulling away, and then being stuck outside in the freezing cold or sweltering heat. Use iNextBus for iOS or Android, and you can wait in the nearest climate-controlled café—or better yet, perfectly time your next trip so that you won't waste a minute. This free app uses information provided by NextBus.com, which pulls location information from GPS devices located on buses that serve most major cities in the United States (and even some in Canada). Useful features include approximate wait times for the next buses or trains on your route, and the ability to track vehicles on a map.
Frequent fliers are all too familiar with the time-consuming nature of TSA checks. Regrettably, there's no escape from long security lines—but you can make the experience a little less painful with My TSA. If nothing else, at least you'll know what you're in for: This free app for iOS and Android provides real-time operating status updates for U.S. airports, including approximate wait times at security checkpoints. Additionally, it offers information about permitted carry-on items and tips for packing and dressing in ways that will help you get through quickly. Now, if only we had a way to guarantee that all the people ahead of you also had this information in advance. We can dream.
Disneyland Lines and Disney World Lines
The Happiest Place on Earth has the potential to become the most annoying place on earth after you've been stuck for hours in lines surrounded by cranky children. The upshot is that the popularity of Disneyland and Walt Disney World has led to a smorgasbord of tips, tricks, and tools for making your visit to the parks go as smoothly as possible. One particularly useful app is Lines, which is free for iOS and Android (there's also a mobile-optimized site for other devices). Lines provides the currently posted wait time at every attraction and how long you'll really wait in line based on crowdsourced feedback. It also lists wait times for shows and character greetings, as well as the current Fastpass return time and a forecast of when Fastpasses will be gone for the day. Other features include a customizable step-by-step touring plan and menus for in-park restaurants. Although the apps are free, the wait-times feature requires a subscription, but the prices are reasonable (Disneyland starts at $1 for one week or $7 per year, and Disney World is $12 for a year), and the time it can save you is well worth the cost.
TouchLife Drink Ordering
Nothing kills a buzz (literally) more than waiting an hour for your next drink. The folks at Touch Taste Technologies are attempting to solve this problem with TouchLife Drink Ordering, a free app for the iPhone that lets you place your drink order directly from your device. The order then transmits to the bar and your server brings it to you, cutting out the bothersome middle step of waving him or her down for your next cocktail. The app also saves your drink order history, making imbibing even easier. Currently, only Chicagoans can enjoy this tool at participating venues. And remember: Always drink responsibly!
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