Travel isn’t just a holiday thing. There are a whole lot of people hitting the roads, rails, and skies all year long. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that domestic and international travelers in the U.S. spend $2.6 billion every day for both personal and business purposes. But with so many miles to go, travelers can easily get irritated at airports, rail terminals and car rental stations all across the country.
Fortunately, there are new apps and technologies that can help you travel a little easier.
1. Track your miles
There are apps that take some of the mystery and mayhem out of rewards travel. Both the AwardWallet and UsingMiles smartphone apps help people track their rewards, find out where to spend them, and get notifications when they’re about to expire.
Tracking your travel perks is important to take some of the pain out of booking. According to a Dec. 2016 survey by Capital One, many people feel that booking travel with reward miles isn’t worth the frustration and nearly half (48 percent) of respondents said they experienced difficulty when trying to book travel using miles. Also, 51 percent avoided miles programs altogether. Common frustrations include blackout dates, restrictions regarding what airlines can be used, and miles converting to a lot less than their expected value. According to the survey, travelers were also annoyed by having to deal with expiration dates on miles and rewards. However, Capital One’s Venture avoids all of these common traveler frustrations.
2. Digitize your card
Another challenge facing frequent travelers is the danger of lost, misplaced and stolen credit cards and identification. The same Capital One survey found that 43 percent of millennials thought they lost their credit card at least once during the past year. When travelers are constantly dragging out their wallets at airport kiosks, trying to buy snacks mid-flight, or stopping to buy souvenirs, there’s a greater risk of losing or misplacing a card. And when you’re traveling it’s not always that easy to retrace your steps and run back to your last stop.
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3. Locate your baggage
There’s nothing like stepping off the plane while on your dream vacation only to find out that your luggage was more interested in visiting the wrong airport. According to industry data, lost baggage hit a historic low in 2015. However, airlines still lost 23.1 million bags last year. While most travelers are reunited with their travel bags within 48 hours, it can feel like ages to wait for your favorite sweater when you’re on vacation trying hit the slopes in Europe.
Many airlines now let travelers get real-time updates on the location of their lost bags by pairing with a site called WorldTracer.com. The site tracks lost bags at 2,800 airports worldwide.
4. Find the best deals
Travel prices can change quickly, so trying to find the best deal can feel like a scavenger hunt. Apps like Google Flights and Skyscanner help travelers compare prices and itineraries to suit their needs without the hassle of going through a dozen different websites. These apps can also help out travelers who aren’t sure where they want to go by suggesting deals for destinations they might not have considered. Also, check your card issuer if they partner with other travel-related establishments or services.
Also, check your card issuer if they partner with other travel-related establishments or services. For example, Capital One’s Quicksilver card is great for loyal Uber users – every time you pay for 9 Uber rides with Quicksilver, you get $15 in Uber credits. The savings can add up on these perks from rewards programs.
5. Update your plans
There are plenty apps that cover every aspect of travel — from suggesting itineraries, to helping you find a place to relax between flights, to letting you know about flight delays and traffic problems in real-time. The TripCase app can organize your itinerary and make suggestions about places to stop along your route. It also alerts friends and family about any updates to your trip.
And if you’re willing to shell out a few bucks for a world-class organizer, there’s WorldMate Gold which adds itinerary information directly to your calendars, notifies you if there’s a better hotel deal than the one you’ve already booked, and even lets you know what the weather is going to be like where you’re headed.
Travel can be anything but. With some preparation and help from new technologies, you can make your journey stress-free and more convenient.
Featured photo credit: Stokpic.com via picjumbo.com
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