There was a time when traffic was going to be what traffic was going to be. When we knew our flight was cancelled when we rolled up to the gate to find a flight attendant shaking her head and directing us to the nearest Cinnabon. But times have changed, and technology is here to make travel a breeze.
On the Road
Google Maps has proven to be an invaluable resource for lost drivers and hardcore planners alike. You already know it provides near foolproof directions (driving, cycling, or walking!), but it has lots of additional features just waiting to be adopted into your summer travel plans:
- Beat the traffic. When you enter your start and endpoints, you can also enter your leave time and Google will tell you how traffic will look at that point. Or enter the time you want to arrive, and Google will tell you when to leave.
- Avoid speed traps. After entering the destination, blue megaphone icons appear on the map indicating speed traps. (PSA: Don’t speed, but if you’re a mile or two over, just slow down a bit when you come to these spots.)
- Set and get notifications. One new feature is perfect for travelers meeting others at a destination, a café, for example. Users can set the location notification so they can see in real time when their friends have arrived at the designated spot. By clicking “Share trip progress,” they can also let friends (or mom and dad) know where they are.
- Keep your hands on the wheel. With all the touchscreens, it’s tempting to scroll and press Google Maps while driving, but both Apple and Android allow you to talk to Google (“Hey Siri” or “Hey Google”) hands-free. You can ask about restaurants or gas stations nearby, what road to take to avoid a toll, or for step-by-step directions.
In the Air
Never miss a flight again—or get to the airport for a cancelled flight—and find some great deals with these amazing travel apps.
- Bargain hunt for tickets. You can log into Google Flights and choose a destination and set your travel times to “Any dates” and set an alert. When the flight price drops significantly, you’ll get an email instructing you how to buy your cheap tickets.
- Track planes in-flight. Use the FlightAware app to track any plane (commercial, charter, and even private) with only about a 30 second delay from live coverage. You can even set the GPS to see what plane is flying over you right now.
There’s plenty of time to unplug from technology and enjoy the great outdoors, a beautiful museum, or a bustling city abroad—but BEFORE you go, let these tools be your guide. You’ll get where you’re going faster, with fewer headaches, and with a few spare bucks in your pocket to spend on refrigerator magnets from all over the Google map!