Mom, don’t take this the wrong way. I promise I really do love coming home, sleeping in my childhood room, and being bossed around as if I’m not a 28-year-old about to get married. But every single human alive, from kids aged 1 to 92, can agree that the holidays are stressful AF.
There is never enough time to do everything, you have to accept overpriced airfare, and, inevitably, someone is going to drink too much at dinner and start spilling family secrets. The worst part about it? The stress overload hits before you even land in your hometown.
According to a 2014 survey, 68% of people reported long lines and crowds as the most stressful part of the holidays, while 25% said that traveling was the absolute worst. What’s the best way to combine those two evils? Traveling. During. The. Holidays.
To help lessen the chances of a mental breakdown, check out these travel apps that are designed to simplify the travel experience — from booking your flight to picking up a last-minute gift. Download a few, or all, of these travel apps, and you’ll be blissfully floating through life until Jan. 2. (Or whenever your New Year’s hangover wears off.)
And if you’ve got a little extra left from that holiday bonus, we included two wearables that will help you step back from the utter chaos that is an airport in December.
8 Best Travel Apps For The Holidays
1. App In The Air
For when you can’t juggle one more item. If you, like most people, don’t have a personal assistant trailing along on your trip to make sure you get checked in, through security, and to the gate on time — now you do.
App In The Air sends you a text message with any change in gate, take-off time, or arrival time, so you won’t miss your flight no matter how many 7 a.m. mimosas you have. This app even keeps you updated on weather, delays, and estimated security wait times for the airport you’ll be using.
2. Pure Binaural Beats & Binaural Sleep
For when you’re seated next to a belligerent jerk on a 5 a.m. flight. Binaural works best with a badass pair of soundproof headphones (see #8) to block out the chaos of the real world. The app works by delivering frequencies that are scientifically proven to help you focus and relax. There are two versions: Pure Binaural Beats and Binaural Sleep.
If you want to read a magazine in peace on the plane, go for Pure Binaural Beats, which are designed to improve concentration. If you’d prefer to just take a power nap, Binaural Sleep can help you get there. So close your shade-throwing eyes and turn to technology to comfort your irritated soul.
3. Dark Sky Weather
For when you forgot how to dress for the East Coast. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a blissful climate like Southern California, you may have forgotten how truly painful Midwest and East Coast winters can be. Or maybe you’re from Canada, and you’re really going to have a rude awakening when you arrive home to three feet of snow
Related: Essential Apple Watch 2 Apps
Dark Sky Weather focuses in on hyperlocal weather reports to let you know what the current temperature is, what it will be in 10 minutes, and if you need to stop at Target for a pair of snow boots.
For when you’re trying to impress your family with a sweet ride. "Oh, they didn't have anything better than a BMW left. Nothing like my Tesla back at home." No more waiting in lines at the airport rent-a-car. Turo allows you to book a rental car from anywhere with just a few taps of your smartwatch. Disclaimer: If you actually complain about your rental car to family or friends, we are not responsible for how hard they drag you back down to Earth.
5. Hotel Tonight
For when you forgot to book a hotel. Or if you just can’t stand one more night on the 1980s-pull-out-sofa-couch, Hotel Tonight makes it easy to find and book a nearby hotel — all from your Apple Watch.
6. Find Near Me
For when you need more wine, NOW. Whether you forgot a gift for your brother’s girlfriend or you just need a few hours away from your in-laws, Find Near Me will get you there as quickly as possible. We all could use a high-tech escape route, right?
For when you almost missed your flight, sat on the tarmac for two hours, and your cousin forgot to pick you up. Once you clip it onto your belt or bra strap, the Spire helps you gauge your state of mind. If it senses that your breathing patterns have made an abrupt change, it reminds you to take a deep breath and calm down. Easier said than done, right? The Spire also includes meditation exercises to help you shake off a stressful day of travel. Added perk: it counts your steps! See how much work it really takes to put together a Thanksgiving dinner.
Related: Check out WearableZone’s review of the Spire
8. Bose QuietComfort 35
For when no amount of meditation can block out the sounds you heard coming from your parents’ room last night. Okay, this isn’t an app, and they’re a little pricey, but these Bose soundproof headphones will pay for themselves 10 times over. Crying baby on the plane? No more. Loud talker next to you at the gate? Bye bye. Grandpa refuses to turn off Fox News? No problem, Gramps. Think of these headphones as the best Christmas gift you could ever give yourself.
What are your must-have travel apps and wearables for the 2016 holidays? Share them with us in the comments!