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Apps to soothe holiday travel woes

By Natalie Avon, Special to CNN
Flight Status gives you real-time updates about expected departure and arrival times.
Flight Status gives you real-time updates about expected departure and arrival times.
  • Some travel apps make holiday travel more enjoyable -- whether in the air or on the road
  • Apps such as GateGuru and TSAwait provide services you can use in the airport
  • Cheap Gas! and SitOrSquat pinpoint good locations for cheap gas and clean bathrooms

(CNN) -- Whether you're flying or driving to your destination, traveling during the holidays can be tiring, confusing and stressful.

What did you do with your flight confirmation? Where is the nearest public restroom? How long are you going to have to wait in this bumper-to-bumper traffic?

Luckily, travel apps can help answer these questions and relieve some of the holiday travel tension. These five apps for air travelers and five for drivers are on the iTunes App Store popular list in the travel category. All are available for iPhone and some are available on additional plaforms.

Air travel apps

Flight Status

No matter the airline or the destination, Flight Status allows you to get real-time updates on all aspects of your flight. The travel app provides you with information about delays, expected arrival times and baggage claim numbers. If you're not the one flying, this app also helps you pick up relatives from the airport at the right time.


If you've got a long layover, GateGuru can help you navigate the airport. The app provides a comprehensive listing of airport amenities in 86 locations in the United States. Search within your terminal for the closest gift shop or a certain type of food you're craving. GateGuru even provides real-time user ratings and reviews.


Don't fumble with all those pieces of paper -- simply forward all of your travel confirmation e-mails to and the Tripit app will organize your trip for you. It even includes maps, directions and links to hotels and restaurants. In addition to iPhone, the app is available for download on Android and BlackBerry.


Use TSAwait to calculate how much time you'll spend at security. The app pulls statistics from TSA and shows the average and maximum wait time -- though the averages do change depending on holidays, weather and local events. Still, the app should give you a basic idea about the good and bad times to try to go through security.


If you're a frequent flier during the holidays, OnTheFly can help you search for the best airlines, dates and airports. While you can't book a flight through the app, the interface allows for easy navigation to finding the best rate. You can change the search parameters to specify times, cabin class and number of passengers, among other things. This is also great for helping your un-savvy relative find a great deal on airfare. OnTheFly is also available on the Android.

Complete coverage on holiday travel

Road trip tools

Where To?

In a matter of seconds the Where To? app can direct you to any type of place you're looking for -- be it a sushi restaurant or a bank branch. The app uses your location to search for close-by destinations and repeatedly reloads new points of interest while you're moving.

Cheap Gas!

Depending on how many times you need to fill up, Cheap Gas! can save you time and money. The app shows you how to find the cheapest gasoline nearest to your current location, with information provided by You can sort the gas stations by distance or by price and get directions to the one you choose. also has an app for the Android.

AAA Roadside

If you're an AAA member, AAA Roadside lets you contact the company by app and avoid being put on hold. Using your iPhone's GPS feature, AAA will notify a local technician for the quickest response possible. For less urgent car troubles, the app provides information on nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair shops.


On long drives, you'll inevitably need to use a public restroom. SitOrSquat helps you find the closest and cleanest bathrooms complete with reviews, ratings and even pictures of the toilets. It also lets you know if and when a restroom is open, which are handicap accessible and which have changing tables and vending machines. The app is also available on the Blackberry and by SMS -- just text the world sitorsquat to DOTCOM and follow the instructions to find the nearest bathroom.

Holiday travel means holiday traffic, and the app provides you with real-time traffic flow maps. If the traffic is slow, the app will give you information about accidents, construction, events and weather. also provides calculations to inform you of the severity of your traffic situation. Though the service isn't available everywhere, it does deliver information within a 50-mile radius of most big cities, courtesy of The app is also available on the Blackberry, through the mobile site, a toll-free traffic hotline (1-888-MY-TRAFFIC) or by SMS.