App of the Week: Three Great Apps to Ease Your Travel During the Holidays
Whether you are going over the river and through the woods or cross country this year for the holidays, most of us will have to climb into a car or onto a plane at some point to spend time with relatives and friends for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Fortunately, technology has go your back. Since so many of us carry around smartphones with us, it makes sense that some great phone apps have emerged to make your travel easier.
In this case, my focus is not on purchasing tickets, hotel rooms or the like. There are plenty of great options for that. For the purposes of this story, I'm focusing on travel across town, on the road and in the air.
INRIX is by far the most comprehensive traffic app available for the smart phone. Waze is also very good, but its information is crowd sourced and its maps are a little difficult to use. INRIX is like having Houston Transtar on your phone making it substantially easier to get around in traffic and plan for it as well.
In my review back in June, I said, "Choose a time you plan on leaving -- you can also input your home and work locations to be saved by the app -- and it will estimate traffic based on historical averages. Obviously, it can't predict the future, but it sure does help when you are going to a part of town that is unfamiliar." Without a doubt.
RoadAhead is an app that literally maps out the road ahead of you detailing what restaurants, hotels, gas stations, etc. are available at upcoming exits. If you are taking a road trip to grandma's house this year, this is a great app to have out on the interstate. It's particularly beneficial if you have kids and need frequent stops. It won't help you on side streets or smaller highways, but any major freeway is well covered.
FlightTrack is simply the best way to locate and track flights available. As I wrote in a review last year: "The mapping technology alone is worth the cost. I've found it to be amazingly accurate even to the point where I can guess which plane is most likely the flight I'm tracking while it is landing. The details -- how fast the plane is traveling, how far it has gone and how far it has left (time and distance), the plane's altitude -- are not only interesting but really helpful. In short, it is a must-have if you travel a lot or help others get to and from the airport." If you like FlightTrack, consider trying out it's cousin, FlightBoard, also from Mobiata, which is like a virtual airport arrival and departure board.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.