A smiling woman uses her phone at an airport.

Make the best of a long layover with travel-related apps. (Getty Images)

Got time to kill between your flights? You’ll want to make sure your phone is loaded with these essential apps, which help you navigate the airport, skip long lines and more.

[See: 9 Tips for Navigating an Outrageously Long Flight Delay.]

LoungeBuddy (Free; iOS and Android). Need a shower? Want to relax with a drink? Airport lounges offer Wi-Fi, charging outlets, food and drink and even places to freshen up or nap. With LoungeBuddy, you can find the airport lounge that meets your needs, and book it on your phone. The app features reviews and photos, and can search by specific amenities at more than 230 airports throughout the world. The app also lets you enter your credit cards or loyalty status to find out if your memberships include free access to any lounges.

DayUse (Free; iOS and Android). For a little more privacy than a lounge provides, DayUse lets you snag a hotel room for a couple of hours at up to 75 percent off the standard overnight rate. With 4,000 hotels in 20 countries, you can spend your layover napping, lounging at a pool or catching up on work in your own hotel room. Bookings are flexible, and you can cancel at the last minute.

GateGuru (Free; iOS and Android). Your typical airport experience can be planned through the TripAdvisor-owned GateGuru, one of the most comprehensive airport guide apps. Terminal maps, amenities listings and user reviews detail the various dining, shopping and service options throughout the airport. In addition to more than 200 airport guides, the app provides flight status updates with push notifications, so you’ll get real-time updates on delays and gate changes.

[See: 7 Secret Tricks to Scoring a Cheap Business-Class Seat.]

Grab (Free; iOS and Android). Don’t waste time waiting for food. Grab lets you browse menus around the airport, order directly from the app, then just walk up and grab your food. When you place an order, the app will tell you how until the food’s ready, and airport maps help direct you. Traveling for work? Grab syncs with Concur to make expense reports easy. The app is currently in more than 40 U.S. airports.

AirHelp (Free; iOS and Android). Finally, a silver lining in a flight delay. The AirHelp app gets you paid for overbooked, canceled or delayed flights. The app outlines your passenger rights and then lets you enter your specific flight info to see if you’re eligible for a payout. If not, there’s no fee to use it; if you do get money back, AirHelp takes a cut. The app can work retroactively up to three years as well, so if you were bumped from a flight in the past, download it and you may still get compensated.

MiFlight (Free; iOS). If you have connections that require another pass through security, this app will tell you how long the waits are at various TSA checkpoints. The info is crowdsourced from other travelers and currently covers 150 airports – with more on the way.

Mobile Passport (Free; iOS and Android). Whether you’re on a tight connection or have a long wait after an international flight, nobody likes spending time in customs lines. For those travelers without Global Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection offers a free way to speed through customs with the Mobile Passport app. Currently available at 23 U.S. airports, the app replaces customs entry forms, allowing you to fill out your info and submit to CBP. Special Mobile Passport lanes let you breeze through by just showing your app and scanning a barcode. Even if you do have Global Entry, the Mobile Passport lines are sometimes shorter, so it’s a good idea to get this app as well.

[Read: How to Save Money on Your Next Flight With an Airfare Predictor.]

Netflix (Free; iOS and Android). An airport layover is the perfect time to catch up on your binge-watching. Netflix allows users to download videos for offline viewing — so you won’t have to worry about streaming over spotty airport WiFi.

Tags: travel, technology


Jess Moss has covered travel for the better part of a decade. She has worked as an editor at Fodor's Travel, AOL Travel and MapQuest, and has done email and content marketing for Marriott Rewards. Her work has also appeared in major publications including Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and (of course) U.S. News. Jess writes about a range of topics, primarily focusing on practical tips and ideas for everyday travelers (read: folks who have limited vacation time or money). She's also an avid photographer; you can find her on Instagram @jmoss5.

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