There I was, searching for a photo editing App in the Apple App store. I opened that App on my iPhone and the first thing that popped up sent me right down a travel App rabbit hole! Have you ever been there before? Not necessarily in the Travel section of the App store, but confronted with some curated selection?
I say curated because I’m pretty sure that there was a little AI (Artificial Intelligence) botting going on in Algorithmland (who boy) in my iPhone. Why else would it present travel related Apps for me – ME – upon opening?
And the thing is, once I saw them I had to check them out. And once I did – I had to put these Apps out here for the world to see. In case your iPhone didn’t send you these same golden nuggets – or you have an Android device. But the biggest thing I learned – the most important thing I want to share with you – comes at the end.
You want to keep reading for this – it’s the coolest.
Four More Travel Apps
First – FYI – I’ve downloaded these Apps and already tested two. I’ll let you know which ones down below. The other three I’ve downloaded but have NOT tested yet. I’ll explain in a minute.
Here they are:
App In The Air – Similar to Tripit, this App goes into your email account and looks for emails with flight information. It then compiles it and lets you sort between your flights and other peoples flights. For example, I have emails with flight information for a few relatives that are visiting in the next couple of months. Those flights were added to my queue, and I easily sorted to “People.” You have three options to sort: My, Delete, People. (I deleted the old flight information it found.) I don’t think this App will take the place of Tripit for me. Tripit has so much more to offer under the hood on the Pro version ($49/annual subscription.) Here’s what you can find on the Pro version.
Hitlist – Downloaded this one right away! Bucket list – meet Reality! Hitlist is an App that lets you capture all of the wonderful places in the whole wide world that you dream of visiting. AKA – your bucket list. Ok – so what? If you’re like me, you’ve got lists and lists of those cities, and countries plastered all over your Language Arts PeeChee folder in cursive, block letters…(Never heard of a PeeChee folder? Can’t help you.) But here’s the kicker with this App. You make a list, pick your home airport, and Hitlist watches for airfares to those places. According to the App, it will tell you when there are good or great fares for the destinations on your list. Then you’ll be one step closer to making those dreams a reality because it will be tangible. You know my advice – pull the trigger! Take the trip! (check your bag! I know…blah blah blah. It’s for your own good, People!)
Tile – I have one of these! Well, to be clear, my hubby has one of these, and he’s the Car Key loser in our family. But since I’m the traveling bag checker, I’m going to download this App (have not done this yet), take his physical Tile (they cost $23 for one pack and $49 for a four pack) and put it in my suitcase. In case it doesn’t come riding off the baggage carousel when I arrive at my destination. With the Tile App, you can ping your bag to locate it. However – there are geographic limitations, so check out their website here. What caught my eye was the Community Find feature on the App. It’s why I will be trying this out on my upcoming trip to New York. While your ability to locate lost luggage is limited to how close you are to ‘the item,’ with the Community Find feature, any Tile user close enough to your item (suitcase) will automatically transmit the info, and you’ll see the location on a map on the App. In other words, a network of other people using the Tile App will automatically connect you. Maybe you’ll even find your luggage before the airline can alert you!
ParkWhiz – If you’re taking a road trip into some major cities in the US, and you plan on parking your vehicle, get this App. It helps you find and pre-pay for parking before you even get to the city. I can tell you from experience – if San Francisco is one of your destinations, or maybe even Seattle, this is an app that you will need. Or you could end up circling and circling. It’s free – your time is not.
It’s a Siri(ous) Trick
The real trick – which I learned when I innocently opened the App store on my phone – is only available for iPhones. I don’t know if there’s a similar function for Android phones, so if you have that type of Smartphone, you can stop reading now. Or keep reading and then go find out if it’s out there for Androids – and come back and tell us!
I know. Everyone’s not a Siri user or lover but keep an open mind. Maybe, just maybe, you didn’t have a good enough reason to use it before now.
If you have the iOS 12 or later versions, you have something called Siri Shortcuts on your phone. Here’s the link to the how-to information on Apples’ support site. I wish they did a better job of pushing this information out to users proactively. Or maybe I wish I did a better job of receiving their notifications? Do they exist? Hello?
Be that as it may (favorite old school phrase), you can set up shortcut commands to use these apps, and others, via Siri. I followed all the instructions and now have a command in Siri that goes like this:
“Yes?” (HE answers in the Australian accent he’s set up with on my iPhone)
“Give me flight status.”
And Voila’ – he reads me the information on my flight and when it’s scheduled to leave. I have a shortcut command to tell me hotel information, baggage carousel (I absolutely HATE standing around trying to figure out which baggage carousel to stand by!), connecting flight, and gate information. All the features that come with Tripit Pro version.
How’d I do this? The Apple support site gives you the steps, but here they are for you to follow (save time):
- Open up Settings
- Go to Siri & Search
- Go to All Shortcuts
- Choose an App and select the + sign
- Press the red dot at the bottom of the screen and record a short phrase (short – or you’ll forget!)
- Hit Done and it’s added to the My Shortcuts list
Don’t worry – if you forget what you recorded, you can go into the My Shortcut lists and see what phrase to use with Siri.
Hack With an App
Finally, whether you use the iOS or Android operating system on your smartphone, head over to the place you find new Apps. Now search for ‘Travel Apps’ there and scroll through what comes up. Many of the Apps have been mentioned on this blog here and here. But it’s a constantly changing landscape. Apps are created and Apps are retired/abandoned. So keep watching on your own App store and you might find the one cool App that will transform your travel into the Easy Travel experience we (I) crave.
Ok – game on. I am using my Siri shortcuts on my next trip out. I’m all in for step saving hacks, and not having to fumble through multiple screen pressing and swiping (while walking through a crowded airport?) sounds like a slice of heaven to me.
I added one for Weather reports too. Umbrella out or in the Tote?