Getting ready for winter travel adventures? Whether you’re going to be relaxing on a tropical island (lucky duck), skiing in Canada, or visiting Grandma in the midwest — if you’re going to be flying you’ll need all the help you can get. But don’t despair, help is here in the form of five free downloadable apps.
Here are 5 fabulous travel apps to download before you hit the airport this winter:
Get through customs faster
Mobile Passport, which is officially authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Airports Council International, lets you speed through customs at 24 airports—it’s been a lifesaver for Melissa, who has used it to speed through customs as quickly as the folks with Global Entry at both Newark (EWR) and JFK. Instead of filling out customs forms with paper and pen, you fill them out in the app and then get to zip through shorter lines designated for Mobile Passport users. It takes a few minutes to set up, so make sure to spend a little time at home activating it before you start traveling. Families can all be on the same account, but you’ll need to take a selfie of each family member individually, and scan each person’s passport.
Get paid for flight delays and cancellations
Service is an app that gets you money back when your flight is delayed or canceled. When you sign up, Service scans your email inbox for flight delays and cancellations in the past year and files for compensation on your behalf in the form of vouchers, miles or cold hard cash!
Find the best deals on airfare
Hopper analyzes billions of flights to help you find the best deals and the best times to fly and buy. The app notifies you when you should book and you can purchase your flight immediately through the app. If you haven’t bought your ticket home yet, start looking at flights with Hopper to save money (and time!) (We’re also big fans of Hipmunk to find flights based on an “agony” factor of travel time and cost.)
Find out how long security lines are
MiFlight gives you an estimate on how long the TSA line is. While you should still arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes to 2 hours early during the holiday season, this app can point you towards the fastest gates and lines, so you don’t have to spend an extra minute waiting with your kids. (If you can though, try and sign up for TSA PreCheck — an adult can bring their kids under 12, free!)